Whenever I hear someone talking about buying a home, I think and sometimes say to them, "It's not just about getting a home, but it's also about being able to maintain it, financially and physically." I have seen so many times folks in their excitement to buy a house that may be out of their means, only to find in a few years the responsibility has left them frustrated. It is a responsibility that must be consistently maintained or you will find yourself in a very unpleasant situation to say the least...perhaps we sometimes do not count the cost (Luke 14:28)
In "counting the cost", the responsibility must be maintained whether you feel like it or not. As I was cleaning the bathroom this morning I looked at the walls and admired the paint job I did several years back, then I remembered that particular year I singlehanded painted 3 of the 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms! It was winter and I was grieving and missing my husband so much, seemed like everything reminded me of him. So I decided to paint! I remember talking to my brother who lived in Vermont at the time and him warning me to make sure I had plenty of ventilation; so there I was in the middle of a cold winter with the windows opened and painting away! Now while I know that chore could have waited, to me it was necessary. It was necessary for me because it was therapy...much needed therapy as I talked to God the whole time I painted, telling Him all about my sadness, disappointment that my husband did not get better, sorrow in the actions and reactions of people and anger at myself because I thought that I was beyond those feelings. In a crazy sort of way I maintained my responsibility (home) and was being healed on the inside all at the same time.
As a child growing up I was raised to respect my elders (thanks Ma and Da) and now that I am an elder, I still believe that respect not only for elders but for others is very important. A former mentor of mine once said "Always remain teachable". Being "teachable " for me means that I listen...I listen a lot to what people say, to what they do not say and watch their body language. No I am not weird, that's just me, and I have learned so much about people that way. Being "teachable" also means to always be willing to learn. None of us have all the answers and we can always glean something good from people, whether we like it or not. I believe that in being teachable, you are maintaining your responsibility of becoming the individual that God wants you to be. People and situations constantly come in our lives that I believe are used to help us hone and fine tune our character. Philippians1:6 God who began a good work in us, will complete it...if we allow Him.
While we must maintain our physical bodies, maintaining our spiritual being is just as important. Saying that you are a Christian, prayed once for repentance or go to confession faithfully does not maintain your responsibility of calling yourself a follower of Christ. Take me for example, I ask the Lord over 30 years ago to come into my heart and gave my life to Him...or so I thought. But through out the years since that time, I have had to commit myself to Him many times. I had and still have to maintain my responsibility of becoming the person that He wants me to be...I have to count the cost and follow through. In my case there were layers and layers that needed to be stripped away, sometimes the process is painful but it is so worth it. Sometimes I did not feel like being taught through pain; made aware of short comings through embarrassment; or shocked by revelations, but the end results has been healing to my soul, renewed hope and restoration.
Ever watch HGTV when they restore a house? Makes me tired just looking at the process! Knocking down walls, tearing up floors, putting in new plumbing and wires...they make it look so easy. But in interviews I have read of the stars of those shows, it is WORK, but so satisfying when they look at the finished results. The finished results makes me happy too! Love you Chip and Joanna Gaines!
Maintaining a home is work, the process can be tiring, but what a joy when you see the results and can thank God for the blessing of having a home. Maintaining our spiritual lives, is work, I'll be honest, but it is true, nothing worth having comes easy. Why? because when you have invested so much in it, you appreciate it more! Ask the person that won millions in the lottery why it was so easy to lose it all in a couple of years, versus the person that worked for years to become a success and how they will have monetary gain to pass on to their children...
The great thing about maintaining our spiritual lives is that we don't have to do it alone. God has promised that He will continually be at our side, helping, leading, instructing and encouraging us in all Truth. Be teachable, take time to sit in His presence, listen for His voice and trust that He is with
Even after more than 30 years of making a commitment to follow Christ in no way do I feel that I have "made the mark"...In fact the more I get to know Him, I realize that there is so much more to learn about Him and myself.
Ever noticed how quickly a house that is not being maintained goes to pot so quickly. There is an empty house around the corner from me and I've watched how quickly the property has gone down. The presence of life makes a difference, but it makes a bigger difference when that life appreciates the joy of having a home. Today let's appreciate the Truth that God through Jesus Christ has given us a way to our real Home and may we maintain the Road that He has prepared for us to get there.