Thursday, March 4, 2010

House Shmouse


I feel the need to blog about our current house. Well, we actually have two. Why in the world do we have two?! But, I'm talking about August Road - the one we are living in. It is a beautiful house. Great wood floors, granite countertops, tile in the bathrooms, etc... We built this house about 3 years ago. It isn't huge - about 1700 square feet - 3 bedroom, 2 bath. We have great neighbors, live on a quiet street... Those are the details. It has been a great place to live and we are thankful for it.

More importantly though, this house has been a lesson from the Lord. I shudder to think what would happen to us if we viewed things as if they were actually ours and not His. Sure we make the payments, clean up messes, take care of maintenance, and keep up with the yard (mildly), but that is definitely all by his marvelous grace... especially since we bought this when the market was high - so we have premium mortgage payments for a very average house. Thankfully though, we are able to make them. That's not what this is about.

You see, we decided this week to put our house on the market. Everyone knows the market is terrible right now and we've received some pretty crazy looks and comments when people found out. "Just hold on to it and the market will jump back up - you'll be set in a few years." "I bet the Lord has something fabulous just waiting for you." And then the ever-popular explanation of why it is a bad time to sell right now - as if we are complete idiots and have neither sought wise counsel or thought of things from every possible angle. People are funny with their opinions. It is hard not to be swayed by them sometimes. But really, the only opinion that matters is our Father's.

There's so many details that matter to us and wouldn't really matter to whoever is reading this - so I'll leave those out. But, long-story-short, we have been going through Financial Peace University for the last two months and have one month to go. While sitting through these classes, we've been convicted about our spending and have felt the weight of debt. It has been interesting because for the most part, Russ and I are not wanton spenders. We're actually pretty frugal and sensible with money. For some reason, in this area of owning a house (or two!), the Lord is allowing us to experience what debt feels like, what bad decisions feel like, and also what it feels like to be obedient as he leads.

Oftentimes where the Lord leads you is directly opposing what everyone else thinks you should do. And our American minds can't possibly decide to do something that wouldn't eventually benefit us! As if our decision to follow Christ is only good for what we stand to gain from it. The god of self is alive and well in the U.S. of A! Sure the Lord does lead us into bountiful places - and loves to - but let us not forget that there are times when that doesn't look how we think it will, and the lesson learned far richer than what we imagined.

This is where we're at. Learning lessons and aiming for simple obedience - even when it makes no sense. The house might sell, it might not. We're not quite sure what to expect. Our goal is to "owe no man anything but love." Debt is a vice, a trap, a cycle that we return to over and over again, like a dog to its vomit. So what's wrong with us wanting to shed that at all cost? Apparently a lot, based on the comments we've received! Like we're crazy people who make crazy decisions! I might be biased, but I think our decision-making track-record is fairly stable...

So... just a few thoughts (a very small percentage of what our actual conversations and prayers have contained), but if you're in the market for a beautiful house on Johns Island... let the games begin! And if not, join us in prayer - not only that our house sells - but that our lives look like Christ, that every decision is brought under His direction and care, and that we would be a people who honor our Lord, who's hearts are close to His, and who's lives reflect that...

5 comments:

G-Metal, Coco, Angel Face and Bunny said...

I don't think you're nuts. I think it's great!!! A lot of my friends thought it was NUTS that we were buying a super cheap house in the Get-toe 4 years ago when buying awesome houses was all the rage and the economy was good. I would have never guessed how money would be incredibly tight as I am now the bread winner while G is in school. When God directs you in sensible financing - DO it. I personally need to become a better saver, and not such a consumer. I think what you're doing is great. When everyone around you thinks your crazy- you might just be the one that is thinking straight (or you might be the crazy one).. in this situation, I think you're thinking straight. :) In the post, you never mentioned where the other house was? I didn't know you owned 2?

jessie said...

"Like a dog to its vomit." very profound. :) We were actually talking about this kind of thing during home group a couple of weeks ago, and it has been rolling around in my head ever since then. Leslie Horton made the comment, "Think about what it would be like if we were not slaves to our house payments." It is so true. Think about that. I really feel like God is doing something interesting with our generation in regards to stewardship. We are the Children of the generation who "wanted to give us more than what they had growing up," and, at least in my circles, it seems like people are revolting against this concept. I was having lunch the other day with a couple of ladies after church and we were talking about having a "bump-into-somebody kind of home.” Why do people in our MTV Cribs loving society think that every child needs their own bedroom and bathroom? The truth is, it is so easy to get wrapped up in that stuff.

Sorry for the long post. I got going and couldn't stop. I have just been thinking about this a lot lately. I am looking forward to dinner with you guys and Kate and Stu. :)

Melissa said...

I can't tell you how many times people have told Dylan and I we need to buy right now. The thought of have having a house is a little tempting for me - I'm already sick of the whole renting and moving thing - thanks to Dylan...we won't be buying anytime soon :) BUT people tell me all the time we're crazy for not buying in this market...

JICC said...

Thank you all for your affirmation! You're making me feel not-so-crazy. :)

Not to over-spiritualize the situation (but, isn't everything spiritual??) - I was also thinking about freedom from bondage and how only the Lord knows what steps any one person (or couple, or family) might need to take to be fully free from slavery to something. Sometimes I think these decisions need to be a little more "spiritual," and in light of the kingdom rather than only what seems logical, or financially, emotionally, mentally, sound at any given time. I think freedom is far under-rated and slavery far over-rated... Many thoughts going on here... :)

Jackie Miller said...

Courtney: What if I said we had a 2nd home on Kiawah!!! With a guest house for family when they come in!!! Sure, we're not big spenders! No. Really. We started our marriage in a townhouse that Russ bought before we were together. 3br/2ba on James Island. It is about 1/2 the mortgage that we are paying here. What were we thinking?