Updated: Nov 13, 2019
I sat there on a couch in a house that's no longer mine. Well, technically I still own it, but I no longer live there. It now belongs to the endless stream of strangers that walk into our lives and leave just as quick as they came.
My nose still faintly detected the smell of our old cat, London, on the fabric of the couch. I leaned my head back and soaked in the natural light bursting through the blinds. I gave myself the space to let my emotions seep through, and got sad as I grieved what no longer felt like mine.
Several weeks prior to moving I started being discipled by a friend. We talked about how I was doing too much, again, and how I felt distant and disconnected from God.
"So what are you gonna do about it?" he asked.
I left with my first challenge - to figure out what I was going to let go of, to put the things that were consuming my time on the table for God to tell me what I needed to release. Honesty was key though. I couldn't be fake and act like I would give up things I would not actually release if asked to. I had to be honest in admitting what I was and wasn't willing to let go of.
I went home and made a list, and there were a few things that I honestly told God I didn't want to release. One of which was Airbnb, because...well, money, and an unexpected love of opening up and welcoming people into my home.
A few days later I had the opportunity to seek prayer at church and brought up this issue. Many words were prayed, but the only words I remember were, "Help Kelli to put it ALL on the table." I simmered on those words while I walked back to my seat, and as I sat there for several minutes with my head down.
I was okay releasing certain things, but others, not so much. I really didn't want to say it, but I accepted the challenge and eventually told Him it was ALL on the table.
Two days later, my husband walked into our house talking about how he found our next home and he wanted to put an offer on it. I tried not to panic in front of friends while I finished preparing dinner. I immediately regretted sending him to that mid-flip open house to network with other real estate professionals. He wasn't supposed to walk away from that event wanting to buy the dang house.
Not long after, we did express an intent to put in an offer, but in the end, we walked away from the deal. This did however, start the search for our forever home.
Why is a couple with no kids looking for a forever home anyway? ...I assume that's what you're asking yourself right now. If so, you're not the only one.
It was clear this was weird, evident by the fact that people thought we were expecting. We were expecting something, but not a baby. It was one of my relatives potentially coming to stay with us for an indefinite amount of time.
At any rate, we found ourselves in a discussion about what was non-negotiable and what could be sacrificed as we continued to search for our forever home. And then I felt a prompting to suggest temporarily moving into the home we were renovating and planned to rent out when complete. The words fell out of my mouth with zero emotion attached to it.
I really didn't want to move, but it worked. It solved our issues. We could run our house as a full-time Airbnb, delay spending hundreds of thousands of dollars buying and rehabbing another house, have our own space again and privacy to deal with what comes along with having a relative live with us. The best part though was that our dining room table could finally come out of storage and we could enjoy dinner around a table again! It's the little things y'all.
It wasn't until the next discipleship session that I realized I accidentally put my house on the table. My friend pointed out what an interesting coincidence it was that we were deciding to move after I made the decision to be willing to give up anything I was asked to. I thought it would be a time-consuming obligation, not a tangible thing I own.
Before all this, I felt so attached to my house, the thought of moving and leaving it behind made me very emotional. On several occasions, I told my husband I would be glad to stay in that house forever. Now, that home I loved so much has been reduced to brick walls that provide shelter for travelers. Since moving, I occasionally have thoughts about selling it and ending our Airbnb host journey. After returning home from India, I'm sensing it's possible that it might need to happen in order to narrow my focus.
I'm somewhat resistant to it. I'd like for it to take up much less of my time, but I don't know if I want to let it go completely. My husband asked if my resistance stems from the fact that running an Airbnb business has become part of my identity.
I defensively laughed out loud and tried to put my hand over his mouth as soon as he said it. Don't you hate when people call out those things in you, you either weren't aware of or don't want to acknowledge because now you're forced to confront it or do something about it?
Yeah, me too, at least initially. The discomfort eventually subsides though and I'm grateful my eyes are opened and I'm made aware. I'm now seriously considering closing out my almost two-year journey as an Airbnb host so that I can run after the things I've let distractions keep me from. I'm learning not to get attached to things. And I'm reminded that my identity is not in what I do or accomplish, but in Who I am and Whose I am.
"You know something doesn't own you when you can release it." - Brian Tome
What do you need to let go of, my friend?