Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spirituality and Buying a House

We've been immersed in the process of buying a new house.  It's a process that you might not think would offer spiritual insights, but I have found it to be profound.  Certainly it's not profound on the level of other experiences, like immersing myself in monastery life, but it's been full of insights nonetheless.  I thought it might be interesting to capture some of the ways:

--As we've moved through the process, I've found myself praying for wisdom and guidance and protection at every step of the way.  I have atheist friends who would scoff at this idea that God might be interested in my house purchase.  I have social justice friends who might point out that God wouldn't dirty God's hands with commercial transactions.

But I believe that God wants to be involved with us on a daily basis.  If I'm talking to my friends and family about my home-buying process, I should also be talking to God.

And more importantly, God has a larger perspective than I do.  Why would I not want to consult God and ask for help?

--Yes, I do worry a bit about the social justice aspect of buying a house.  That purchase will tie up a lot of resources that could be used to improve lives in all sorts of ways.  I feel deeply conflicted about this purchase for just that very reason.

I use my conflicted feelings as a prod to pray for those who have no housing.  I pray for those who don't have the housing options that I do.  I will look for ways to improve those conditions.

--As we've moved through this process, I've felt protected and guided at every level.  You might say it's because I've been praying more.  You might say it's because I'm delusional. 

--It's important to remember that throughout my life, I have often felt most protected and guided as I've taken risks and taken leaps toward the life I really want to be living.  I believe in a God of abundance.  These times of risk taking and being open to possibilities can test that belief.  I don't want to live in a fear-based economy.  I want to live in faith, not in fear and doubt.

--That being said, I am also amazed at how much of this house buying process feels out of my control.  I feel like when I was younger, this process didn't feel so full of anxiety and angst.  I didn't worry about losing my shirt.  I wasn't haunted by the possibility of bankruptcy.  I assumed that the future would be ever brighter.

Again, my response is to pray.  Do I really think that God can guide the appraisal process?  On some days, I do.  On other days, I simply hope that God can help me cope with my anxiety about it all.

--Again, I hear my agnostic friends sneer at my belief in a God that is so involved with me and my little anxieties, when there are so many larger issues that God should focus upon, like the war in Syria.

But I believe that God is capable of helping me, while at the same time sending help to the people in Syria who pray for it.

--And of course, I make it a point not to pray just for me.  As I pray, I widen my scope to include friends and family who are struggling, and I pray for the larger world too.  And since I've been feeling more anxious and using prayer to help cope, I've been praying more for friends and family too.

--I have prayed not just out of a place of anxiety, but also out of gratitude.  At every step of the way, as things go right, I've said a prayer of thanks.

And gradually, the gratitude outweighs the anxiety.

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