The adventure has begun. After months of praying for direction, and weeks of hard work, the day has arrived. There is now a big sign in our front yard declaring that our home is for sale. It’s very surreal and exciting—and a little sad and scary at the same time.
We’re not moving far away. At least we don’t plan to. We aren’t even sure where we are going to live next—probably an apartment for some time while we figure out what’s next. And in case you are wondering, no, we are not going bankrupt.
We do love this house. This is the first house Kim and I bought together. The first time we moved beyond renting or living in someone else’s home. We love inviting people into our home, and this place is perfect for that. We have hosted several gatherings, from large parties to small groups. We have a guest bedroom where a few people have been able to stay with us overnight, an office where I can do my creative work, a toy room for our girls, and even a formal living room where, for the first time, we have space for a piano. Trees, and the sights and sounds of nature that accompany them surround us. It’s beautiful. We love it here!
I love it here. Maybe too much. Which is probably part of the reason we’re selling it.
At the beginning of this year Kim and I decided that we are done with debt, which for us is a student loan and the loan on our minivan. We decided to make it our goal to have those two eliminated from our lives this year. But we also didn’t know how that would be logistically possible, given the amounts coming in and going out each month. We knew that in order to meet this goal, God would have to come through. Some people would call it a God-sized goal, because it’s definitely bigger than what we could do on our own.
Knowing we had a big goal in front of us, we began chipping away at it, doing what we could do, while praying for guidance and wisdom for the next steps.
Prayer can be dangerous. Sometimes you get what you ask for.
A few months ago, one of Kim’s friends mentioned how challenging it has been to find a house recently. Houses in our area are being listed and sold within days, often at or above the seller’s asking price. Bidding wars—where two or more buyers make offers on the same house and drive the price up—are common right now.
We had a choice: Keep plugging away and hope God sends something our way—or realize that giving up the house we love may be God’s way of helping us reach our goal.
I agreed with Kim that we should at least have a realtor run the numbers and recommend a list price for our house. I kind of assumed it wouldn’t be enough to make any significant dent in our debt—we have only lived here for two and a half years after all.
I was wrong.
When our realtor came back with his comparative market analysis and showed us the price he thought we should list for our house, I didn’t know how to react. The number was almost exactly what we thought it would have to be for us to make a move. It would be enough to pay off our debts, fully fund our emergency fund, go on a honeymoon (which we skipped when we were married because of our mountains of debt), and start saving the down payment for our next house. On paper it made complete sense—we should absolutely list it.
But all of a sudden, it was too real for me. I didn’t want to sell this house I love so much. That’s when I realized I really had a deeper issue going on, and a much bigger choice in front of me.
Do I want to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads, or do I want to hold on to stuff?
It felt weird at first to put my house in the same category as my stuff. I’d sell my phone, TV, furniture, extra clothes if Jesus asked me to in order to follow Him. But my house? I need a place to live, right?
True. But in America we tend to tie lots of emotion into our homes. It’s the first house we lived in when we were married, it’s the place we brought our baby home to, it’s the street on which our daughter first learned to ride her bike—the list goes on. And I’m one of these people.
In the book Rich Dad Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki says, “a nice home is an emotional thing. And when it comes to money, high emotions tend to lower financial intelligence.”
I do love my house. But in the end, a house is just a house. A nice house is a nice house, but all houses serve the same purpose. Walls to keep the rain, snow, cold and heat out; rooms to gather, eat, sleep, bathe and work. Maybe a garage to park the car. It’s just a building. Walls, floors and ceilings. Stuff.
So the choice became more and more clear: Live in this house and keep this set of walls, floors and ceilings; or jump into the adventure of what could be next—see if we can make a large return in a short amount of time, become completely debt-free and untied to a permanent space, and see where this journey leads.
After praying about it and getting advice from people we trust, we came up with a plan, a price and a date, and got to work sprucing up our house to get it ready to sell.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
We are on that path right now: Lamp in hand, looking to God for the next steps. Trusting His provision and believing He will come through for us—because He always has.
We don’t know what’s next. We don’t know where we will live next. We don’t even know how seeing life through the filter of debt-freedom will impact our family.
When we were married, we never thought we would be able to buy a house like this. And when we moved in, we never imagined we would sell it before our kids graduated high school—let alone preschool. But this is the adventure we are on. Here we go!