Let Freedom Ring
In this season, I decided the perfect way to celebrate Freedom Month was by declaring my own. One of the ways I liberated myself was by releasing the bondage that came with obsessing over how my life looked to other people. I hope the following list, my story, inspires others to unshackle themselves as well.
5 Reasons I Don’t Want to Own a Home
1. I want to make my own Dream.
I once played the role of a Stepford Wife. It did not end well. When I was in my 20’s, I was a stay-at-home mom whose primary job was to shut-up and make the “family” look good to outsiders. Unfortunately, I was clueless about the financial events which ultimately led to me being asked to sell my jewelry and declare bankruptcy in order to save the “family” home. I did not know it needed saving. Although, I dutifully complied, it still ended with a foreclosure and my sole financial devastation. Only time healed my emotional wounds- and credit. Thank God for His peace and that seven-year debt law.
Life taught me that the American society’s selling of homeownership being the appearance of arrival to the Promised Land, has caused some to pursue it at all costs. How many people do you know who are masking their real life circumstances behind a forced smile and brick and mortar facade? Having previously lost all of my material wealth in my early 30’s, I am not as easily moved by having shiny objects. The biggest lesson I learned from having the fantasy shatter was that I wanted to make my own Dream.
2. It was more expensive than renting.
After my first foray into home ownership, I discovered that even if you do not have a mortgage, it comes with other financial obligations and risks that I am no longer interested in assuming. These not only include the tangible matters of property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, and maintenance, it also includes the price of restriction to my free movement. More bothersome than the money aspect, the greater risk is that homeownership presents a formidable threat to my family being able to move around as freely and frequently as we would like. It’s more difficult to pack-up and go to another state- or country- when you have to deal with your home. Will you sell it? Will you rent it? Will you just let it sit there? The 40-year-old me has zero desire for the headaches that come with all of those options.
Holiness is my harvest not homeownership.
3. Frankly, I would rather travel.
Yes, I said it. I am like those “irresponsible millennials” who would rather spend my resources on experiences. I would rather travel, doing missions work and building family memories, than own a home. I felt a huge weight lift from my chest as I recently accepted this truth in the wee hours of the night. I am able to breathe better than I have in five years. “Thank you” 80’s babies and HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters” for helping me see the light. The title “homeowner” simply does not fit-in with my desired perpetual traveler lifestyle.
4. “But, I want something that I can call my own!”
The other day I had to ask myself, “Nicole, what does that even mean?” Society dictates that part of adulting means the responsibility of possessing and maintaining material items. A home is at the top of the list. That’s great; however, one does not own what one does not own. If it is financed, you don’t own it. You are still a borrower (a renter) at the mercy of your lender and the country’s interest rate. A home that is strictly being used as a homestead is not a true asset with or without a mortgage. If you have a mortgage, it’s not yours. If you fail to pay property taxes, it will no longer be yours. If you neglect your HOA fees, you will face legal consequences. Whether or not you have a mortgage on a homestead, it remains a financial liability. These costs may be minimized if the house is intended to be used as rental property instead of a residence. Nonetheless, they are not completely eliminated. If my husband and I one day decide to purchase a home, my new philosophy is, “If we can’t buy it with cash, we can’t afford it.” Furthermore, if we buy a home, it will more likely be an investment property as opposed to a homestead.
5. The real reason that I don’t need to own a home…
Holiness is my harvest not homeownership. Even if we save all the money needed to buy a home in cash, I would have failed at life if the only memory I leave behind is that of accumulated wealth and material things. When I depart the earth, I want my legacy to be that of love for God, love for family, and love for giving. I do not want my son to simply have some insurance money and a place to call a homestead. Property ownership is wonderful for the right reasons; however, a true home is wherever love resides. A true home is wherever the mission is. It is not a place. Just as I have grown to believe in my faith that Christ is wherever His followers are, I believe that home is in the places you are commissioned to go and with the people to whom you are assigned.
Whether it’s homeownership, homeschooling my son, how I use, or don’t use, my law license, or how I choose to spend my time, I’ve finally arrived at my Promised Land. This is the place where I care very little about what my life looks like to others. As a follower of Christ, I care about being an example, and that will always remain. I also am concerned about how my family and friends perceive me. Their perceptions, however, no longer drive me. Only I have the God-given authority to write my story.
What about you? Are you living your dream or someone else’s?
To continue the discussion, leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter at NowWithNicole.