A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.
Late last year, our next door neighbours sent a text message to both myself and my husband. It went something along the lines of: “If ever you are looking to sell your house, we would be interested in buying it.”
Immediately, my reply was: “Thanks for your interest but we have plans to renovate this old lady and restore her to her former glory.”
But as soon as my message was sent, I knew in my heart that my husband no longer shared my vision for the property and so would be open to the possibility of selling it.
When we bought our old character-filled home (complete with a coal shed and pigeon coop!) a few years ago we knew that it was a renovation project that we would have to tackle over time. However, while it is undoubtedly in a prime location and still central to our everyday school and work commute, our needs as a family have changed since then.
Unforeseen demands on our time and finances have also meant that very little progress has been made on our once elaborate plans to restore the property. Yet, I continued to hold on tightly to the dream that one day … soon … the beautiful picture I had in my mind would be fully realised.
However, it had become about more than just restoring an old house. It was about taking good care of what God had given us, of leaving a place (or a person for that matter) in a better state or position than when we had found it, of taking something that had seen better days and restoring it to its former beauty.
This, I believe, is a biblical principle. We as believers are called to steward, to transform and to restore. To steward the earth, our finances, our time, our possessions and our skills. To transform our thinking, our cities and our nations (through the Word of God). And to restore people, places and things (through the power of God) — Not only in the spiritual but also in the physical. After all, isn’t that what our Heavenly Father does for us?
Even when I eventually came around to “seeing” the tangible benefits of selling our home, that is after crunching the numbers and acknowledging the fact that our current home was no longer suited to our needs as a growing family, I could not let go of my vision for the property. And the fact that my dreams would not be realised (or so I thought) caused me some distress. I knew then that I was holding on too tightly and that, hard as it might be, I would have to let go.
The turning point came one day when the owners-to-be were visiting us. They started to share excitedly, passionately even, about their plans for the house and the property as a whole. Difficult as it was to hear someone else talk about my home in that way, something changed in me that day.
You see, up to that point, I had assumed that given how old and “un-modern” the property is, the new owners would want to tear it apart, if not down completely. But, and herein lies the lesson that I learned that day, and indeed throughout this entire process – the dreams that I have (for anything really) do not depend solely on me and what’s more, the fact that I may not see the dream fully realised in no way diminishes the part I play in making the dream a reality.
In this particular situation, knowing that someone else will be running with my dream for our home and the property (in their own unique way, of course) makes the goodbye easier not harder. I have now come to terms with the fact that I have played my role, done what I could with the resources at my disposal and most importantly, continued to fan into flame (read: pray) a dream that will not die but will be realised by another. Really, I could not ask for more concerning this dream or any other dream that I may have.
Except perhaps to learn to hold onto my dreams a little less tightly (yet no less passionately), knowing that God is the giver of dreams and it is He who holds everything together.
So that if the time comes to hand over the baton, so to say, I will be able to do so gladly, knowing that I have been a faithful and passionate steward of the dream that I have been given.