In case you have no idea what I am talking about, I will give you some quick background info. In February we stumbled upon a foreclosure that was seemingly perfect for our family. It had a downstairs bedroom for Jack, a pool I could use for therapy with Jack and Ruthie, a big back yard with 2 porches for entertaining groups from the church, and it backed up to a green belt that I could use for photography and not even have to leave my home. Yep it was pretty perfect and the right price too. So we put a contract on it and placed ours on the market.
And then it all stopped. All of the "wow this is really coming together" came to an end real quick as we had to keep lowering the price of our home (below what we paid for it) to generate interest. Then after only having 4 lookers in 70+ days, we started to really ask if this was the best idea after all. We were prepared to make 2 house payments for a little while but not for a long time.
So what do you do when it seems to be great but then suddenly stops going your way? I have learned that you do 2 things:
1. YOU GO BACK TO WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE. Emotions make decision-making more fun sometimes but they rarely add wisdom to the process. So about 2 weeks ago, I started really thinking on what I know to be true.
- First, God in His Word calls me to be a good steward of my finances. So I had to start asking the question of was it good stewardship for my family make 2 house payments for an undetermined amount of time? And at what price was it no longer good stewardship to sell my home?
- Second, I had to look at my calling at this stage of my life. God has called me to be a follower of Him, a wife, a mother, a PT, and then a photographer in that order. If I had to go to work 20 more hours a week to make a 2nd house payment for a year, was I sacrificing what I have been called to? Would I have to sacrifice ministry opportunities abroad and to my children for the sake of comfort and convenience?
2. YOU GAIN PERSPECTIVE. I think sometimes we can be so focused on our own challenges that we fail to see our days in light of the reality that surrounds us. Two things happened this week that helped me gain perspective.
- A good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer this week. This makes 5 friends of mine right now who are battling this awful disease. As she pondered things like treatment and outcomes, I was reminded how blessed we all are for every day we have with our loved ones and how any minute those days can change for eternity. I fear wasting those days laboring to make life more comfortable or trying to keep up with some standard that I think (at that time) would be enough.
- My husband said something on Tuesday that really got me thinking. The challenges we face as a family are 1st-World Problems as opposed to 3rd-World Problems. Dilemmas we face like which house to buy, where to go out to dinner, is our child going to start in the game, having too much homework or too many places to be are 1st-World Problems! I would argue that if we have 1st-World Problems, we arguably don't have real problems at all. I am longing to make a trip to Uganda to show love to women and orphans who don't know where their next meal will come from before they fall asleep on dirt floors. Those are 3rd-World Problems. I don't have problems.
So what do you do when you don't know what to do and it doesn't seem to be going your way? Well, you can make it go your way and live with the consequences of that or you can turn to what you know to be true as your guide and grab hold of the gift of perspective along the way.
The real gift came in the end when walking away from the house was surprisingly easier than I expected because I believe truth and perspective always win out over regret.