The Illusion of Pretty Distractions
I'm really blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world (Perth, Western Australia).
We have gorgeous beaches, lots of lovely places to explore and it’s a clean, safe part of the world.
This photo (above) of one of our amazing beaches was taken just down the road from a house that Hubby and I were trying to build...
Isn’t it lovely? The water looks so inviting and I could just sit and reflect on the clean, white sand for hours (wearing an SPF 50+ of course, ‘coz the Aussie sun isn’t so fond of my pale skin!)
And why were we trying to build there, of all places?
Because it was going to solve all our problems, or rather…
Because we were unhappy.
Unhappy with our current house. Its terrible layout. The design choices. The backyard. The neighbours. The location. The kitchen. The bathrooms. The bedrooms. The nearby roads. Everything about it irked me.
At least, that’s what we told ourselves that we were unhappy with.
So it seemed like the best thing to do was to seek other options. Renovating wasn’t feasible. Moving was. So where to?
The beach. Somewhere peaceful where our unhappiness could be quelled and quietened. Somewhere completely different… a fresh change of pace that would change our circumstances.
….but it didn't work out.
The sale of our current home fell through, so we weren’t able to get finance to build this new house. And we made the decision to stay put where we are for the foreseeable future.
Sounds like we’re gonna be destined to be unhappy for a loooooong time, right?
Well, what I haven’t mentioned is that during the 8 months that our house was on the market and we were trying to build… we both came to Christ.
We started the journey of selling as completely separate from God. In fact, Hubby was an atheist and I was just generally miserable. Heck, we both were.
And somewhere in between the misery and the decision to stay put, our lives changed forever when God pulled us out of our mental circumstance and saved us.
And now we know that what we were really so miserable about wasn’t really the house. it wasn’t the layout, or the neighbours, or the roads, or the strange shape of the backyard.
It was our life.
Our sense of emptiness. The purposeless, meaningless ways in which we were going about our existence. The traps that we had set for ourselves. Our faulty behavioural patterns that we’d become set in. The dysfunction that we’d gotten used to. The lies we told ourselves so often, that we started to see them as our truth.
No house was ever going to fix that. What when we’d moved, and we were in some idyllic beachside location… and we were still miserable? Would we be any less miserable if we were to ruminate by the ocean? Would our internal turmoil be any less turbulent if we felt in a building with a different layout?
In hindsight… of course not.
But we see now that that’s what we were subconsciously trying to achieve.
A leader at our church recently gave a powerful message on the ‘pretty distractions’ that some of us can fall prey to when we’re experiencing a season of unhappiness or challenge, and we both realised that this plan to move was exactly that - a pretty distraction.
A distraction from our misery.
A chance to focus, together, on something other than all the problems we had created within each other and within our lives.
A temporary distraction from the personal chaos that we had thrust ourselves into through our problematic behaviours.
And to a small degree… it kind of worked initially. Whilst things felt like they were falling apart, having a project gave us something to blame; a mirage of hope.
"When we move, then things will be different! Life will be better! Our marriage will be better! It will all be okay!"
But it was an illusion; a mirage.
If only we'd known that we needed to stop running, confront the issues in our lives and stop distracting ourselves with expensive pseudo-solutions!
I'm thankful for God for showing us the error of our ways... and with his help, we're no longer running. We're healing, strengthening and growing, together.
And God has brought us so much more unity than a pretty house by the beach ever could.
A Prayer for Contentment:
“God, I’m so grateful for all that you’ve blessed me in. Please impart your Holy wisdom upon me and grant me the clarity to see the opportunity in every area of lack in my life.
I want to walk with understanding, humility and ingenuity Lord. Allow me to always be looking for the silver lining, allow me to never use my own feelings of inadequacy or lack to justify picking problems… Lord, please shape me into the sort of person that You want me to be; so blessed by your abundance that I find complete contentment in any season because I know that I have all that I need within YOU. Thank you God.
In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.”