What ‘Fixer Upper’ Can Teach Us About God’s Will
Being at this stage in life, with so much of our future ahead of us, means we all wander into thought-provoking conversations about where we are headed and what’s in store for us. Is there such a thing as having a destiny? Are our lives shaped by a divine will — some hidden plan that unfolds step-by-step?
This topic came up with my roommate recently as we were bingeing episodes of every creative’s favorite show: Fixer Upper. Addressing this topic while watching this show led me to a helpful discovery.
In our ongoing conversations about God’s will and plan for our lives, I shared with my roommate that in the past I have thought of God’s will as an Easter-egg hunt. It’s as though He has hidden His plan for our life somewhere, usually the last place we think to look. We search and search and search with no end, only to get frustrated and disheartened. We often see those around us finding their treasures one-by-one, but we’re left searching — which leads us to doubt God and we accuse Him of forgetting about us or holding out on us. Many of us beg for a hint, or get discouraged, or quit altogether. Sometimes, if we are lucky enough for plans to fall together, it seems like pure luck and a miracle we just happened to stumble upon because it could have just as easily remained hidden.
This is where watching an episode of Fixer Upper helped me out. If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching the inspiring home improvement show, let me give you the gist. Hopeful homeowners seek out the fun and friendly — not to mention incredibly talented — Chip and Joanna Gaines to find and renovate the home of their dreams. After seeking the couple out and placing hope and trust in the knowledgeable couple, the Gaineses present the homebuyers with three potential properties.
This begins the collaborative process between the buyers and the designers. The homebuyers get to choose the best option based on their preferences, budget, and vision for their dream home. With the chosen home in mind, Joanna draws up plans for renovations, taking into consideration what she knows about the family — both desires and preferences the family has verbalized, and also nuanced needs she has merely observed from their interactions and time together.
The couple then gets to collaborate with Joanna and her design, affirming the new layout of the kitchen, for example, and how it will be perfect for their dining habits and desires. The homebuyers might also share how they’d prefer no garage, however, to allow for a larger yard to entertain guests. Or they’d rather have tile over hardwood floors in the kitchen because of the aesthetic and clean-up ease. Joanna welcomes and accommodates the collaborative and cooperative nature of involving and including the homebuyers in the entire process of creating their dream home.
Inevitably, roadblocks and speed bumps arise on almost every project, causing the homebuyers to be faced with difficult decisions and compromises to keep the project moving forward, on-budget logistically or with safety or timing concerns in mind. These unexpected hiccups can be frustrating, disappointing, and trying. As in anything, though, this is inevitable — nothing ever goes according to plan. And when the homebuyers can manage expectations, maintain flexibility, and remain hopeful among skirted plans, the issues can be resolved fruitfully. Most times, the finished product turns out even better than the homeowners originally dreamed.
How exciting would it be to consider God’s will for our life as if we are the stars of the show Fixer Upper? Instead of haphazardly and frantically searching and grasping for what we imagine God’s will to be, what if we think of ourselves as pursuing a talented and professional designer to collaborate with and co-create the life of our dreams?
This shift in perspective helps me see that thinking of God as the Easter bunny is problematic. God would never intentionally withhold our treasure and make it purposefully difficult to find — God loves us as cherished children. Why would God refuse us help or guidance in how to live our lives?
Maybe it’s more productive to think of God as more like a talented and all-knowing interior designer, who has the skill and resources to transform our lives into something beautiful. Like the homebuyers in Fixer Upper, we know we’re in the market for something better — we’re searching for a place to live that reflects our deepest values. If we share that desire with a skilled craftsman and designer, He will be able to work with us to build something that we couldn’t even imagine.