God has taught me so much this year, and I have been struggling with how to process and express it all. I am still very much in the midst of our adventure. It would be nice, neat and linear to start at the beginning and fill you in on all the ways that God has stretched me over the past yearish. But I’m not going to do that, or else this blog will never be updated. I am going to write about some thoughts we have voiced during this past week.
Owning a home is so important in our culture that it’s referred to as an integral part of The American Dream. And it’s a nice dream, don’t get me wrong. We have enjoyed the past 9 plus years in our home. And it was great to own it, not just rent it because we changed the flooring and the wall colors and got rid of the hideous baby blue toilet. And we brought our three children home from the hospital to this house. It’s ours. (Or is it really? We are paying a mortgage on it, so technically, I suppose, we own only a small part of this house. )
And of course, we were investing, or so they say. The traditionalists will tell you that owning a home is a wise decision financially because you are not throwing your money away on rent. We are very blessed to be a family who will actually walk away from our house sale with some profit. But in the scheme of things, it wasn’t really a great investment. Besides our mortgage payments and the money that we spent updating our home, we have to consider all the money we spent on home repairs. If you add it all up, I’m sure we lost money on the deal. If we had rented, we wouldn’t have gotten to choose our favorite wall colors, but we would have had much more expendable income.
And when we were ready to chase a dream, even if we were mid-lease, we could have given one month’s notice and been on our way. The big downside to owning a home is being tied to it. We will have spent almost a full year (by our upcoming closing date) waiting for this home (which has been a blessing in so many ways) to sell. We know that God had a purpose for us to be here. We know that we learned from our experience. But. . .what if?
When we move to Colorado, we’ll be renting for at least a year while we get Brett’s business up and running. But maybe we’ll really like renting and the freedom it affords us. Maybe we’ll choose renting as a way of life from this point forward. The flexibility certainly appeals to us as does the fixed out-of-pocket cost. We won’t be paying for new appliances or new heaters or for a plumber when we rent.
So, for now, we are trading the typical American dream for a better American dream: a life of flexibility and possibility that costs less to maintain. We’re trading in the perceived security of having a place of our own for the real security of knowing that God is right with us wherever we are.