house or home

The thought of owning my own home is exciting...and similarly terrifying. 

Do you own your own home?

My friends who do tell me it's kind of stressful. I'm not so much worried about that. I can  handle stress. I do not like it, but I can handle it.

I suppose what worries me about it is this: What comes after the house?

Let me re-phrase the question: What does God expect from Hubby and I after we move into a home of our own?

I know, I know. He expects ALL of me. EVERY DAY. That's a no brainer. I'm not always sure of what that looks like as I'm stumbling through my days, checking off my list of never-ending tasks, but I do know that's what He requires. But what- specifically- does He expect from this new opportunity to serve Him? It makes me a little (a lot) nervous. With a home of our own, Hubby and I can invite strangers in and make a place for them. We can do that in an apartment, too, but we don't have to have permission. And in a city full of strangers- a city full of people who need in many different ways- what will we be required to do with our four walls? 

Will we welcome what comes next? Or will we fight it because it's not exactly what we expected?

A change I'm grateful for- though not always happy about- is the fact that my Father has made me fully, uncomfortably aware of my surroundings. I see someone on the side of the road, holding a cardboard sign, and my first reaction is not to turn away. It is to invite, to give, to ask what they need. If a friend asks for my advice, I search my heart for what the Spirit would have me say. I try not to knee-jerk into douchebaggery at the frustrations of my workplace, or the efforts I make that are sometimes lost on others. But these things are nothing special. They are simple "if-then" statements that reflect only a portion of my majorly tattered heart. And this tattered heart wants people to see Jesus.

So...let's go back to the question of "if-then" and pose the question again: If Hubby and I do- in fact- successfully purchase a house, then what will we do with it?

Let me tell you a story.

When I was little (and not so little) the bedroom I shared with my big sister had window boxes on top of the window. They sort of acted like shelves. And sometimes I would put a flashlight up there, turn off my bedroom lights, and stand in the glow of a singular bulb. I would imagine all the great and fantastic adventures my life would encompass...and I would be the center of attention in every one of them.

I was no more narcissistic than your average eleven (um, twenty) year old. I had wants. I had the confidence to achieve them. I thought my life had a grand purpose outside of cloned, suburban houses, 9-5 jobs, and (eck!) SUVs. This is certainly a dream to some- and good for them if they achieve what their hearts desire- but, to me, it is a virtual nightmare. I want absolutely nothing to do with sub-divisions that have names like Meadow Heights or Willow Bend or cars that drink up half my paycheck or yards with store-bought trees. I'm really no more of an "independent" thinker in this feeling than the thousands of other people who long to buck tradition. Besides, I like tradition. I like comfort. I just like my own version of tradition. I like my own version of comfort.

Which, recently, has come to look nothing like what our world calls comfortable.

And, that, my dear friends, is why buying a house is so gosh-darn amazingly scary. Somehow, the thought of owning something- a lot of land and the house that sits on it- so permanently makes me wonder if the act of buying it means I've caved. I've given in. I've settled for one place. And, somehow, this makes me afraid I'll never do all the things I once dreamed of doing. It makes me wonder what God will require of me in this new stage of life. 

And, most of all, it makes me wonder: Will I do it with a glad heart?

Will I live next door to a house that's virtually falling apart in a neighborhood that's otherwise full of adorable renovations? Will I share what I have? Will I turn away from the peeling paint and dirty front yard and hide away in my adorable brick bungalow? Will I see this home as a place to serve rather than settle?

Will I, despite living in one of the cutest old neighborhoods in Atlanta, feel trapped by four walls? Or will I be freed to serve in ways I never imagined as I stood beneath that flashlight bulb?

My heart makes a little leap as I write that last line...because that's really what I want for me and Hubby. I want us to be joyful for the opportunity to have a home that's seventy years old and still hip instead of thinking that we're settling down. There is no such thing when you're willing to go and do as God commands. He might rip us out of that cute little house in two years simply because we are needed elsewhere. And you know what? I'm so down for that. I guess I'm just afraid He'll ask us to stay. I'm afraid His plans for us will never be somewhere other than Atlanta. And if I succumb to these fears, I will have become no different than the person who longs for an easy life that never challenges, never provokes, never stirs. 

So we've made an offer on a house. And I'm ready now. I'm ready for whatever God requires of me.

(Just don't make me move to the suburbs. Please!)


Bubbles said...

That is just the kind of house I like, picket fence and all! Love it. Good luck to you and I hope that you can build many wonderful memories here

My name is Wendi! said...

Thank you! I love it, too, especially since it looks small town but is still in the city.