The last time we looked at moving was nearly 12 years ago. Not only were our needs vastly different from what they are now, we were vastly different people. Now I am growing in my understanding that a home is more than finding a fit between finances, the amenities, and desire. I’m beginning to see that in every aspect of the process of settling on a home, there is a spiritual dynamic. Allow me to process this question “out loud,” as it were, with you.
How we search. In the very process of searching for a new home, there are spiritual dynamics. How much do we “pound the pavement” vs. let our contacts (including friends, Realtors, and e-groups) bring them to us? The question isn’t how passive to be, as though God were going to do it all for us without effort. It’s just that there comes a point when effort becomes fretting because of the deadline to find something or fear that nothing will materialize. Maybe I can say that we need to not leave any stone unturned that lies in the path that God has us on. We need discernment about the path so we don’t bother with stones that are outside it.
What we need. It goes without saying by now that we aren’t here in Russia to live high on the hog, or even really nicely. We don’t even struggle, in principle, with the truth that we want only to have in a home that which God wants us to have. For example, would we like to live in a cool, 19th century building with parquet floors and high ceilings? You bet, and there are a ton of them around in the center of the city. But they can be expensive too, and may have other detractors, so we have laid that one down as a goal. A harder one is how much green to have nearby. Not merely are parks esthetically pleasing, but, more importantly, they are a place for the kids to play, since they have to give up a yard moving here. Or do they? Should we look for an actual free-standing house so we can also be able to host better?
Here’s a more fundamental question: how much do we predetermine vs. decide when we have an option on the table? No doubt you will say, “you have to start with your non-negotiables.” I assure you, even those are very hard to determine. About all we can say there is:
- it has to have 4 rooms or more;
- it has to be affordable within our budget.
Other variables include:
- location in the city
- near a metro or not
- near our teammates or not
- near the center or not
- near a park or not
- to purchase or rent
Interestingly enough, we are both in agreement about a preference for being near a metro, our teammates, in the center, near a good park. We have not yet come to agreement about purchasing, as this has its own highly complex implications.
Moreover, we were able to come to agreement to pursue one home we saw (see my last post) that was for sale because as a package deal, we could see that it was a good choice for us, even though it was missing some of our preferences.
The spiritual implications are in how much we limit our field of vision in faith that God is calling us to x, y, or z, or do we trust God to provide the home that we can receive in faith, despite whatever it’s apparent limitations?
What we believe. Each of these paths implies a certain conviction about who God is and how He works in our lives. Does God want to bless our socks off with a home that not only testifies to His hand on us and so that we can have a place where we can settle in for the long haul? Many stories have I heard about missionaries who lived a Spartan and supposedly incarnational lifestyle to be like the locals but who didn’t last long because it was too hard for them. One non-negotiable for me is that Diana has to be at peace with the final decision. She is struggling with how much God wants to challenge her to let go of the desires of her heart to serve Him single-mindedly. She desires green, but is it an idol? I don’t think so. A partial answer, it seems to me, is that God constructed her to revere beauty and nature, but He may have creative ways of providing the green.
The more I write, the more I am coming to the conclusion that the more questions we have, the more we need to let God do the leading instead of us determining the outcome ahead of time. My theme verse of late has been, “I will lead the blind in the way they do not know.” Isaiah
God will show us the home. He has it prepared in advance for us. This much I know.