I’ve been told that the three most stressful events in a person’s life are getting married, having a baby, and buying a house.
Darrin and I have decided to do two of those three things within the same year.
We’ve been house shopping for the past month, and it’s been quite the roller coaster ride.
Now, just so my metaphor is clear, I’m not talking about those smooth and slick roller coasters that you’d find at some fancy theme park like Universal Studios or Disney World.
I’m talking about the rickety roller coasters that seem to be a staple at every state fair across the country. The ones that certainly don’t look up to code, with their strangely placed wooden and metal beams that are maaaaaybe holding up the track but are also maaaaaybe just extra pieces the designer didn’t know what to do with. A roller coaster that, you think to yourself, has got to be safe right? I mean, those people just bought a house…err…seemed to survive the ride. I’m sure we’ll be fine.
And we have been “fine.” For the most part.
The first few afternoons we spent touring homes felt a lot like buckling ourselves into that rickety roller coaster: excitement, anxiety, but mostly an eagerness to throw our hands in the air and enjoy the ride.
But then the coaster started moving at a speed that was much jerkier and faster and more stressful than we anticipated. The house tours, the inspections, the PAPERWORK. Sometimes during the process all you can do is cling to your seat belt buckle and pray that the strange beams your car is relying on don’t completely buckle underneath you.
So yes: buying a house can be stressful.
But all that stress aside, touring home after home has got me thinking about what it means to be real and honest in such a curated world.
One of the first pieces of advice anyone will give you when you’re shopping for a home is to make sure that you visit the house before you buy it. This seems like a DUH piece of advice, but it’s SO important. Stand in the rooms. Open the kitchen cabinets. Or, in Darrin’s case, make sure that your head doesn’t hit the basement ceiling.
We visited so many homes that looked beautiful online—practically Pinterest-worthy—but as we stood inside each room, we couldn’t help but notice evidence of a hasty paint job, broken drawers, and (in one strange case) a giant hole in the basement floor.
(Seriously. A giant hole. Like someone was trying to dig their way out… #hellohorrormovie)
Now, I realize that people are not homes. And homes are not people. But both require work. And sometimes we need to be honest with ourselves about the amount of work that needs to be done.
How many times have I hastily painted over areas of my life that really needed to be torn out and replaced? How many times have I made sure that my life looks “Pinterest-worthy” in pictures while completely neglecting the gaping hole in the back corner of my basement?
I’ve had to be honest with myself about a few areas of my life that needed some major renovations—my commitment to actually following Jesus, rather than simply admiring him, being one of them.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe there are different types of mold slowing rotting the floorboards of your home: anger, anxiety, depression. Maybe the beams that are supposed to be supporting you are rotten, threatening to bring down the entire structure unless they’re replaced. Or maybe you need to completely reevaluate the foundation upon which you’ve decided to build.
What’s nice about being honest with yourself and recognizing truth—recognizing that some paint and a new rug ultimately won’t fix that hole in the floor—is that you can then actually get to work. You can take steps forward and rebuild, one day at a time.
But a little self-reflection and honesty has to happen first.
My hope is that this space—this little online community—can be a place of honesty and openness for both you and me. A place where we can be encouraged, challenged, and inspired together.
A house is not a home unless there are people there to fill the space with life. Hopefully this little patch of the cyber world can be an encouraging and honest “home” for each of us, where we can acknowledge things within ourselves need work and things that deserve to be celebrated.
Right now, I’m celebrating a new chapter for our tiny family of three. And how helpful a cardboard box can be when you’re trying to both pack and entertain a 10 month old at the same time. Here’s to new beginnings. And a new home!