I will never forget buying our first house, 1300 square feet of precious…with the exception of needing a new kitchen and the hard wood floors needing to be redone…and the bathrooms redone…plus new doors and the front porch redone.
It seemed to be a small project but being 26 and “green behind the ears,” as my dad would say, it was no small undertaking and not exactly inexpensive. We ended up using a contractor recommended by a friend. We signed a contract and the “overhaul” began. At the time, I was living two hours away. I would talk to the contractor by phone and he would always tell me how well things were progressing. For some reason I thought I didn’t need to come and see the progress for myself. I just took his word for it.
I will never forget driving to Columbia two days before the movers were coming with all of our furniture. My mother was with me. We opened the front door and I was stunned….literally….in shock. The floors hadn’t been touched. No lights in the kitchen. No countertops. No appliances. The bathrooms had been gutted but no toilets! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I remember I couldn’t drive to a phone fast enough to make that phone call to the contractor. No surprise. He didn’t answer! Needless to say, my next phone call was to call the movers to put a big “STOP” on the move. My mother and I had no choice but to just go sit in the driveway and wait for the contractor to show up. We got there around 8 a.m. and the wait began. He never showed up that day!
There was no such thing as cell phones in that day so I had to keep leaving to go call his office…with no answer. You can just imagine the longer I waited, the angrier I grew. Fast forward….when I finally talked to him, he was very matter-of-fact…very ho-hum…and full of monotone excuses. Fast forward again…it was a teeth-pulling, hair-pulling experience but four months later, it was finished. A total of five months later than originally planned…with relatively no apologies….and hundreds of excuses most of which didn’t seem to be valid.
Looking back now, three houses and a renovation later, I see all of our mistakes. We didn’t bid the project. We didn’t check him out before signing a contract. We only went on one recommendation. We didn’t check up on him and his work on a regular basis. We didn’t set penalties in the contract for a late finishing date.
So many, many things we learned the hard way. The two main reasons why? We were in a hurry, impatient. We were ignorant from a lack of experience. I don’t remember seeking wise counsel at all! Also, when we bought the house, we disregarded the fact that it was on a very busy street with a double yellow line. The one thing we said when we sold that house was that we would NEVER buy a house on a street with a DOUBLE YELLOW LINE.
This story, and experience, taught me many valuable lessons…many.
1. Impatience can lead you to hasty and poor decisions.
2. Competition, or bidding, can bring you the best. It reveals who is willing, ready, and fit for the job.
3. Seeking someone trusted who has been through the process can warn, teach and guide you to wiser decisions.
4. Shopping around is not a bad thing. It is a great thing.
5. Have a watchful eye. Your project is most valued by you so your eyes should always be watchful.
God’s Word instructs us to develop the fruits of the spirit, two of which are patience and self-control. I can look back now and see that, at 26, a lack of patience and self-control were the root causes of my poor decisions, ongoing frustration and headaches with the purchase of our first home. I was in such a hurry to “have it now” that I pressured myself into not doing my homework…not stepping back and taking a deep breath…and filtering things through God’s hands. Instead, I just charged forward with a “get it done” mentality. This mentality has been an asset and strength of mine. It has helped me accomplish many things, but it has been a weakness as well.
Most recently on the Back 9, this painful learning experience on the Front 9 has now given me what I call “evaluated experience” which has served me really well, especially as I have been led to write books and travel and speak. My personality, my make-up, is to……do it all…do it great…do it now! God has taught me through falling, making mistakes, to “fail forward”. To recognize my strengths but realize how quickly they can turn into weaknesses if I am not seeking a Holy God and His guidance in all the great desires HE has placed in my heart.
I have learned to “be still and know that He is God!” It is God who gives us dreams, opportunities, our talents and gifts…but “running ahead” of God keeps us from His protection and His perfect “yes’s”.
Point of post…learn from my mistakes and now, my evaluated experience. “Waiting on God’s best Yes” helps you accomplish many great things.
1. You can see Him more clearly and His hand…bringing moments of awe. Psalm 65:5, “By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;”
2. It develops His fruits in you/me. Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
3. You really do experience less frustration. Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
4. You have the best wisdom and total peace…even when dealing with other people who may not be seeking God. Psalm 1:1-2, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
5. It breeds God-fidence. I have learned self-confidence is a cultural term that leads to utter devastation. What we all should be after is God-fidence. It is there that you find your best “yes!” Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” ~Sam Levenson