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My Fixer-Upper Soul

My Fixer-Upper Soul

I haven’t exactly been my best self lately. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could qualify for some kind of mental health diagnosis. Intermittent Explosive disorder, panic disorder, exploding head syndrome … I’m sure there’s something in there somewhere. I feel a bit like Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. Everyone scatters and hides (or wants to) whenever she makes her entrance. Pretty sure that’s my family recently when they hear me walk in the door.

  Credit: Rex Shutterstock

Credit: Rex Shutterstock

We are seven weeks into the loft renovation. There are six of us living in close quarters, all of us with so much on our plate. We started this with a lame promise to Alyssa and Matt that they would only be out of their house for a couple of weeks… three weeks tops. And we invited our friend Anna to come live in the newly renovated loft as a cheaper rent alternative when she moved to Celina for her new job. Not sure if she was quite prepared for the cramped quarters of our guest bedroom as this project drags on indefinitely.

Darron and I are acting as the general contractors for the renovation, which means we hire the subs, do the scheduling, and physically do a lot of the finish-out ourselves.  It also means the past seven weeks we’ve been at the mercy of plumbers, electricians, framers and a host of others who are extremely busy with other projects and have no reason to make us a priority. For a while there, every time we set foot on the job site, someone had a problem to discuss. Which nearly always equates to more money. Truthfully, most days I just feel invaded.

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I will outsource my worry to the God who never sleeps, whose shoulders are so much broader than mine and so much more capable of carrying the stress.


I hate that my family has to tiptoe around me these days, gauging my moods like a pilot gauges the weather. I hate the worry & stress & negativity. Darron and I pass these back and forth like relay runners handing off the baton. As much as I dislike being the one carrying the baton, I almost hesitate to hand it off because it means someone else picks it up and I have to become the sane, calm one. Sometimes it’s just easier to be the crazy one.

I read in my Bible about the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace. Peace? When the budget is spiraling out of control? Patience, kindness, goodness. When no one is doing what they said they would do? Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These welcome companions used to dwell in my house regularly. Lately they’ve become rare visitors who drop in for a moment or two and then scatter.

 Photo by  Jodie Morgan  on  Unsplash

We’ve done enough of these construction projects to know what to expect. We know the stages: (1) The Dream stage – We feel creative and motivated and can’t wait to start. (2) The Project Begins – This is the period of excitement as we see our vision transform from drawings on paper into something tangible. (3) The Overwhelmed stage – “What the heck were we thinking?”  This is when reality sets in. Fatigue and irritability and stress take over. And then finally… many dollars and hours later, (4) Satisfaction.

To keep my sanity through all of this, I need to come back around full circle. I need to remind myself why we chose to do this in the first place. We started because we saw an opportunity to expand the living space for Matt, Alyssa, Cyrus and grandkids not yet born. Because we wanted to add value to our investment and beauty to our neighborhood. Because we wanted to bless Anna with a fun, affordable loft to live in while she adapts to a new job in a new town. Because we dream of expanding our community and making new memories in this space we share. Because it’s in our blood and we can’t not create.

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So today I choose joy. I choose gratitude. I will outsource my worry to the God who never sleeps, whose shoulders are so much broader than mine and so much more capable of carrying the stress. I choose to have a day free of meltdowns and negativity. Is that even possible? Not in my power, it’s not. Only in the power of Christ in me. I think it’s called surrender.

Help me, Lord ☺.

♥Jana








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