Make It Look Good

In the summer of 2011, we were getting ready to make a move for Mike’s new job which required us to sell our little Lethbridge home. Thanks to my avid HGTV watching, I was well aware of the positive impact staging could have on the sale of your home. I eagerly headed out to a few of my favorite home décor stores ready to spend in attempt to improve the eye appeal of our home.

Let give you some background on our home’s usual appearance. I have a sign hanging in my bathroom that says

, “My house was clean last week. Sorry you missed it.”

I wish even that were true, but in reality, there are probably a handful of weeks in the year it is. I’m embarrassed to say that regular Saturday morning cleaning was one of those good habits we both grew up on but unfortunately didn’t carry into married life. Our cleaning habits were more established in the way of, clean if people who don’t normally come over are coming over, or clean when the clutter reaches the point of interfering with our sanity.

While I’d like to think that we aren’t necessarily dirty people, my friend once “complimented” me by saying “Your house isn’t that messy, it just looks… lived in.” We’re not grossly dirty but we are pile people. Clutter builds up. Dishes get left, perhaps more than occasionally. To top that off, that summer we were in the midst of finishing a long drawn out basement renovation. The finishing work had yet to be done and there were many evidences of some learning curves that we’d hoped could be strategically hidden in order not to become “stumbling blocks” to potential buyers.

That was the reality of the house we were trying to market.

It’s amazing how quickly you can change an appearance. After some focused time of decluttering, finishing work, cleaning, redecorating and staging, it was show home-like. You would never even know the two of us had lived there. Our friend that had even helped Mike finish the basement said, “I can’t even see the imperfections and I even know what I’m looking for!” We were told the house would probably take up to 3 months to sell. It sold in 4 days for 98% of the list price. I’m thinking of becoming a stager…

I find it ironic that the principle behind staging is really to hide all imperfections and make the home look unrealistically appealing so that everyone who comes through wants it. It’s really just a nicer name for fabrication. Façade. Fake.

I was struck by the reality that I can fall into the same trap. You won’t find it anywhere on Facebook or Instagram, but last week, I had a day. It was noon and I was still in my pajamas. My daughter thought boycotting the morning nap was a good idea. I was overtired and feeling quite cranky. The dishes from the night before were still there because I was tired and had opted to just go to bed. Instead of having lunch ready when Mike came home, I was standing in the front entrance in all my unshowered glory crying because the dog had just knocked over and broken my case.

Why is that? Probably because people only display their highlight reel.

We are well versed at keeping the not so pretty behind closed doors. We are trained at concealing the thoughts, attitudes, motives, feelings towards people and insecurities about ourselves that reveal we just don’t have it all together.

There’s just one problem. It’s not real life.

No matter how well we can fool people, the façade comes to an end because there is One who knows us better than we know ourselves. No matter how well we can put it together for the people in our lives, He sees through me. He knows my heart, my thoughts and my attitudes. Nothing, at all, is hidden from His sight. He knows the real condition of my house, and better yet the condition of my heart. His name is Jesus. I can’t paint my life to look a certain way for Him, He sees it all and for reasons I cannot explain, He loves me just the same.

During our time in Lethbridge, God blessed me tremendously with relationships that I will call see-through. We stumbled through stormy seasons together which brought the blessing of transparency and depth. This resulted in authentic relationships. 

I would challenge you today, to be transparent before God. Take off the mask. It’s totally safe, I promise. He sees what we can’t. He knows what has made us hurt, what makes us react and what makes us do what we do. Ask him to show you the condition of your heart. He will show you what’s there and bonus, He can also show you what to do about it!

If you have the wonderful privilege of those in your life you can be transparent with, consider yourself blessed. If you don’t, ask God to bring someone into your life that you can be real with. There is great freedom in being transparent with a trusted friend. I wonder how our world would change if our approach was, what you see is what you get.

If you’re in my neighborhood, stop on by. With an almost one year old, a dog that sheds like it’s going out of style, and my unbroken habits, chances are my life will look the same way it looks on the average day, like a work in progress.

Hebrews 4:12-13

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”