Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just Pilgrims Passing Through

As I've mentioned a time or two, we currently have our house on the market. Our plan is to move closer to David's work and our church if/when our house sells. I've also alluded to the fact that this was a difficult decision for us to make, and I wanted to hash that out a little more.

About 3 1/2 years ago, we moved from our starter home into what is essentially our dream home. We love our house. It's a great size for a big family (which is something we want, in case you haven't picked up on that), it's on the end of a cul de sac, it's got a perfect backyard, lots of windows, and it's just "me." Over the past 3 1/2 years of living here, I've only grown to love the house more as we've worked on it and put our stamp on it. We're comfortable here, we're settled, and it was going to be our forever home. When we moved, I felt, without a doubt, that my kids would grow up here.

We live about 25 minutes away from our church and David's work (those two things are literally 3 minutes apart), but we've always "commuted" to church and work, so we didn't really see this as a problem. Last year, Aubrey started school, and her school is also in the same vicinity as church and work.... also 20+ minutes away from home. Now, really, is a 20-25 minute drive truly that big of a deal? No. I've never thought it was much of a big deal at all. It's something I'm used to, and that's just the way it is. But for some reason (I honestly don't even remember what got us talking about it -- I truly believe it was God starting to move in our hearts) a couple of months ago, we started talking about our commute and how it can be kind of a pain sometimes. I remember David totally randomly saying, "Do you think we should just move closer to church/work?" My immediate reaction was to say NO very definitely. But at the moment he said that, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was only a matter of time. Something shifted in my heart and I knew, as sad as it made me, that this more than likely not going to be our forever home.

Over the next several weeks, David and I discussed the possibility of a move off and on. Honestly, it wasn't something that either of us was completely excited about. There were aspects of moving that got us both excited, but, as a whole, we neither one really wanted to move. As I said, we're happy where we are. But we both committed to pray about it, so we did. We also weighed the pros and cons of a move.

A few of the pros for moving are:
  • More family time. We added it up, and just cutting down David's drive to work alone, we'll get an extra almost 5 hours a week with him. That doesn't include all of the trips we make to church and Aubrey's school every week. That's a lot of time in the car.
  • More opportunities to be involved and serve at church. You've probably noticed that we're very involved with our church. This is something that is extremely important to us. We definitely want to be as involved as we can with church and different ministries. This is how we want our children to grow up -- serving others and giving generously of our time. We feel that we will be more available to volunteer for things if we don't have almost an hour round trip commute every time we go to church.
  • More opportunities to build relationships. Almost all of our friends from church live very close to church. It seems like they have a real sense of community all living close to each other, and it feels like we're missing out sometimes by not living close. Of course, they're not opposed to driving to our house if I ask them to, but I always hesitate because I almost feel this weird guilt over asking them to drive "all the way out here." I just think I would be so much more likely to host playdates and have friends over for dinner if we lived closer. In that same vein, David and I would love to open our home for small group Bible Studies, Sunday School get-togethers, youth group functions, etc. but they usually try to get someone to host who lives in a more central location.
A few cons for moving are:
  • We're comfortable here. We like our house, and we're settled.
  • Having our house on the market is a huge pain.
  • Moving is a huge pain.
  • We're not sure if we'll be able to find another house that we like as much as this one.
  • Having lived here for only 3 1/2 years and having put a good bit of money into our house, we'll be doing good if we simply break even when we sell our house.
When David and I discussed all of those pros and cons, we were struck by something: all of our reasons for moving had to do with people and relationships and things with eternal significance. Our reasons for staying had more to do with convenience and not wanting to cause ourselves a huge headache. Of course, there was also the fact that we were emotionally attached to our house. That made me think of a conversation we had in my ladies Bible Study a while back. We were talking about whether we're "pilgrims" or "settlers." Our natural inclination is to want to be settlers. We want to be as settled and as comfortable as possible in this life. But we're really called to be pilgrims. After all, this world is not our home. We're just passing through. Now, I don't think that means that we're not allowed to love our homes and make them comfortable and put our mark on them. Y'all know I love decorating my house and DIY as much as anybody. So yes, I love my house. But if I feel like I can't let it all go without a moment's hesitation if that's what God is calling me to do, then it has become my idol. That was definitely a convicting thought. I believe that God gave us this home, and I am so thankful for it and the time we got to live here. But I always want to remember to hold loosely onto the things that He has given me and always be willing to give them up if He asks me to. By putting our house on the market, I feel like that's what we're trying to do. We will go where He calls us to go. If He wants us in another part of town, we'll go. If our house doesn't sell, and He wants us to stay right here, we'll stay.

God is so good, and He has truly given us a peace and a real excitement about the prospect of moving. At first, it was really a bittersweet thought... emphasis on the bitter. Ha! But now, I'm really getting used to the idea, and I can see where it will be good for our family. We still don't know if we'll find another house that we like as much as this one. I'm sure we'll have to compromise in some areas. But that's ok. If it's God's will for us to move, I know that He has just the right house in just the right neighborhood for us. And I pray that we will use that house for His glory and that He will accomplish great things for His kingdom through our family.


Nathalie said...

Good luck with your search and sale! Moving is not easy, but I definitely see the huge benefits of being closer to work/school/church. I'm sure it'll be worth it in the end!

The sale of our house is going VERY slowly. Not a single showing in over a month! We're having an open house this weekend, hopefully it'll pique somebody's interest.

All the best!

Mary Louis Quinn said...

We are processing similar thoughts/emotions as we think about selling our home this year. Definitely bittersweet. Do you know the song by Jimmy Needham called "Clear the Stage?" it made me think of it when you mentioned how things like our homes can become idols. If you don't know it, you should download it. It's pretty great. :)

Rebekkah said...

Love this post! It is so exciting to watch God work His plan out so perfectly in our lives. I can't wait to see where y'all end up!

Jennifer said...

I can relate to this on many levels. Moving is tough but 6 months after the fact- it always seems worth it. Being close to church, school and work are biggies for us! We live 20 minutes from work because we would not want to live any closer. Church is 25 minutes and that is too far for community building that is authentic and easy to implement in our daily life. Hang in there- your decision will get easier and become more clear. I adore your current home but logistics can trump beauty any day.