It started out as an exciting project, but turned into one that is not only giving me gray hair, but making me want to pull out those gray hairs. One by one.
It’s a project called home renovation. If you’ve ever been through it, you probably feel my pain.
It seemed like a simple goal to renovate two bathrooms in dire need of updating after seventeen years of use, but has morphed our entire house into a disaster zone. At this point, both bathrooms, five closets, an office, a play room and a laundry room have all somehow been affected by this project because of wiring, ducts, and plumbing jobs. Since we had no closets, our entire family’s wardrobe was on racks from Walmart in the playroom. I could write my name in sheetrock dust on all the furniture, despite how many bottles of Pledge I go through. And there’s a big ugly green dumpster in my driveway.
We’ve had designers give poor advice, and sub contractors break lamps, cause delays, no -show, quit, and even steal from us. After waiting six weeks for the tile installer to show up, he said he was too busy, recommended someone else, but then they quit. We had to pick out tile three separate times due to supply problems, then when it finally arrived and got half installed, it was all wrong – and we have to start over. To top it all off, the old air conditioning unit kicked the bucket.
And did I mention our family of five is all using one shower in a very tiny spare bathroom? Have mercy. But it was a spilled bottle of shampoo that pushed me over the edge.
I had splurged and bought a new type of shampoo that had a price tag I don’t normally want to pay for, but I needed a good moisturizing shampoo for the summer months. The following day I found it on the floor of our community bathroom, with half the contents spilled out into a huge gooey puddle. I cleaned it up and felt a little aggravated. The following day, I found it there again, in another gooey puddle. Two thirds of my coveted shampoo had become floor polish. How hard is it for someone to pick up a bottle when it obviously falls off the tub wall onto the floor? I cracked.
Tears flowed and frustration spilled out as easily as that shampoo had from the bottle. Bless my husband’s heart, he happened to walk into the community bathroom right about that time. This project had gotten beyond aggravating, and reached the insanity point. Let me say it just wasn’t a great start to a new day. For either of us.
I got over my little pity party and went on with my day. But I was whining about this seemingly endless and frustrating situation to a friend, when they gently said to remember James 1:2. I will confess, I wasn’t in the mood to look up a bible verse. Yet I did.
Under the section title of Faith and Endurance, James 1:2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
Joy? Not feeling it. But reading this verse prompted me to think back for a moment. Think back to how fortunate we are to have lived in our home for seventeen years, and raised all of our kids here. Think back to all the memories this house holds. Think back to all the years I’ve wanted to remodel these bathrooms as they had become run down and damaged from use. Think back to how long it took us to get to a place where we could even consider this project, and how much God had blessed us. Think about the lessons we are learning as a family about tolerance, closeness and perseverance.
After all thinking back, I found myself feeling guilty. God had blessed us with this house, home, family, and the funds to tackle this project, and I was crying over a bottle of spilled shampoo like a two year old. Well, it wasn’t just the shampoo, but that had become the final kicker.
Through this short little scripture, God helped me see that it was time for an attitude adjustment. I had allowed the frustrations of the projects and the condition of my home to steal my joy and take my eyes off of the things that really matter. I had forgotten to be thankful and joy filled by all the things that filled up this home, other than dust and chaos. Like family. Love. Happiness. Health. Marriage. Provisions. Blessings. Jesus.
Most of the time we reach the breaking point for much more serious reasons than a frustrating home project. We may be facing serious hardships or adversities which seem to have no end in sight, and drain our hearts and minds of joy or hope. What a great reminder we find in James 1:2 to take our thoughts captive to the good things in life, instead of just the bad, and to purposely, intentionally choose joy instead of tears, anger, or hopelessness – even in the midst of chaos and trouble. And even when a child who will remain nameless spills your expensive shampoo all over the floor, twice.
Instead of writing my name in the sheetrock dust this week, I think I’ll etch in another word instead. Joy.
Is it possible you need to refocus on blessings this week, instead of the things stealing your joy?