Change…and the Nesting Instinct

If you’ve been following my last two blogs, you know I find myself in the midst of a change-series. I’m not sure that’s what I set out to do, but it is life in the present. So, here is the 3rd in a _?__ part series!

As I’ve written earlier, we closed on the sale of our townhouse on July 16. Today is September 7… so, 54 days ago.

In those 7+ weeks, we’ve been temporarily living with our oldest son, daughter-in-law, and 3½-year-old granddaughter. [At least we’ve stayed with them about 17 of those days, which is more than we’ve stayed anywhere else…]

Our daughter-in-law is 13 ½ months pregnant.

(Actually, it is only 7+ months. It just seems like 13 ½ months since the last trimester has included summer.)

Since I am learning to live in the present much more these days (see the previous blog entitled Next) I’ve had the pleasure of observing what my son calls a nesting instinct.

I didn’t get to my mid-50’s without knowing that birds ‘nest’, but I honestly have never thought much about the more subtle ways that ladies who are expecting a baby might do the same (absent the trees and twigs).

According to Pregnancy Weekly, this instinct sets in around the 5th month of a pregnancy.

Their definition goes like this: “[Nesting involves] an uncontrollable urge to clean one’s house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.”

This, the article went on to say, allows the mom (who feels a little out of control in regards to what’s going on within her) to exercise a bit of control and embrace a sense of accomplishment toward the big day!

Makes sense.

One of the primary ways I’ve watched my sweet daughter-in-law demonstrate this natural instinct is in preparing the baby’s new room.

The room that was selected (or to which the assignment fell by default) was serving as an office, storage space, and pass-thru from one part of the house to another.

In the weeks I have been observing, Elena and Josh have literally transformed that space into a legitimate nursery for our little Benjamin. They’ve hung a door, painted, accessorized,… really those TV shows about Extreme Makeovers could learn a thing or two from them!!

BUT – before they could ready the room for the baby, they had to deal with the stuff that was already there (remember, there was an office, storage, and pass-thru before).

I think I have seen 3 distinct ways they have addressed all of this:

Some of the stuff was relocated.

They have a lovely family room/den surrounded by windows that look out on the backyard. They chose to shrink that space by one corner and create an office there. A workstation and file cabinet was discretely set so you don’t notice it unless you are looking for it. AND, best of all, the view from the office now is sweeping and inviting!

Some of the stuff was repurposed.

Some of the furniture in the room was given new assignments throughout the house… tables, lamps, that sort of thing.

Some of the stuff was removed.

This removal took two primary forms: some things were tossed and, when possible, some things were shared with friends!


There is simply no room for that which is new, without dealing honestly with what is.

When we decided to move toward living full-time in a Motor Coach, we had to proactively downsize. There is no way to move a townhouse worth of stuff to a Motor Coach. A LOT has been removed. A few things have been repurposed (both for the Coach and for our 1-room at the kids place). Some other things have been relocated (to a storage unit from which it will likely be removed).

AN ADDITIONAL LESSON I’M LEARNING: When it comes to real transformation in my very soul, I cannot expect to embrace a radical new if I am not willing to create a nest for it to thrive in.

And, I cannot create such a soul nest without relocating some of my stuff, repurposing other stuff, and removing a lot of stuff from my life.

One more addendum for those of you who work in the Church world…

I would make the same argument… creating an incubator in which our Father might do a brand new thing will mean a willingness to lay open everything you do right now. Allow God’s Spirit to relocate some things, repurpose others, and remove anything He chooses to remove.

Simple. Not easy.


About christmasandicecream

Grace & Peace to you all! I'm Randy. I am a follower of Jesus - sometimes close up and, sadly, sometimes way too far away. My best friend, administrative assistant, partner, and high school sweetheart all live with me and go by the same name: Adele. She and I are part of a relationally-focused, small group based Church family that helps us along spiritual quest. Our boys are both grown now. We have a wonderful daughter-by-marriage and 2 truly GRANDchildren... 1 boy and 1 girl. We are Corgi people and now oversee the care of 1 spoiled Corgi puppy named Elly May. I am a devoted fan of 2 'seasons' in each year: Christmas and baseball!! At my house, a Christmas tree goes up somewhere within days of the close of the Fall Classic (baseball lingo for the World Series) and a Christmas tree stays up all the way through Spring Training. In between it is non-stop celebration of the Incarnation. I live in the Mid-Atlantic part of the U.S.A. and, among other things, work as a coach and consultant with an incredibly diverse network of churches that make up the BCMD. My Church-roots are in the Baptist bucket of the Christian ice cream shop. But, just because I have a favorite flavor, doesn't mean I don’t like them all! I do. I work with things like soul care & leadership development of pastor/pastoral team members; with small, simple, organic models of church life; with relational strategies of spiritual formation; and with the health of the Church. I taught at New Orleans seminary for a decade and have served in local churches for 30 years. I am currently part of the faculty of Rockbridge Seminary – a new kind of seminary for a new kind of Church – where I also play a role on the Academic Council. *I am obliged to note that questions, comments, ideas, views,... just about anything you read here, are mine, and not those of BCMD, RS, any other organization or school I work for, or those of most normal people. Thanks for visiting. Come back again.
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