Looking for somewhere to live has been a journey and a half. But the end, I think, is almost in sight.
Our pressured search for home and community, which I’ve reflected on elsewhere, has prompted all sorts of questions about comfort, sacrifice and wisdom in making life-style choices in our here and now.
We’ve felt the stretch on our time, emotions, head space and friendships, and I’ve clung, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, to my mantra of the moment: ‘Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.’
And they have been. We hope to move on Saturday.
On Monday, however, those prayers for a home were put under the spotlight by a speaker who asked if our aspirations as Christians were actually distinctive. Or do our prayers about housing, jobs and relationships suggest that we’re shaped, more than we care to admit, by the prevailing capitalist, consumer culture?
I pondered the legitimacy of the emails I’d sent round to friends asking them to cheer us on in our search for a home. Was it ok to have prayed so hard about somewhere to live?
Actually, I do think God cares about our context and that it’s been ok to ask people to pray alongside us for a place of welcome and flourishing for ourselves and others. I even think he cares about my tortuous over-analysis of my work and relationships because how we use our time, money and gifts, and how we interact with those around us, are so central to our grounded humanity at this moment in space and time.
But, fair enough. It would be one thing to pray for the perfect house (or job, or relationship, or whatever). It’s been another to know what we instinctively desire but to not make those things the ends in themselves. The stretch has come in praying for our lives in our contexts to be moulded and framed by alternative realities and priorities.
The end of the house hunt is in sight, but the next leg of the journey is, as yet, unseen. With faltering steps of faith, we’ll walk on.
*This is a guest post. Emily Bowerman is a Londoner who’s readjusting to life in the capital after years elsewhere. She works with young asylum seekers and refugees, gets excited about community, and is always up for discovering new places. Emily blogs at emilyintheworld