I have heard that building a house is one of the most difficult things a couple will ever do together. I have never done that but I think buying a house might provide competition for the honor. My wife and I are now engaged in another venture that rivals either of those mentioned above.

In 2001 my office moved to the suburbs so we started looking for a house that would eliminate long daily commutes. We began the search with a particular price in mind. It did not take long to realize that we were going to have to raise our spending limit to find anything suitable in the areas where we were looking. Then raise it again.

At the beginning we had high hopes of finding a house that had everything we wanted. One of our friends suggested that we make a list of things that were absolutely essential. Things that we would not compromise on. Would give up only “over my dead body.” Shortly we began to understand that the perfect house was not to be found. Our expectations had to be revised.

After looking at a lot of houses we found one that was close to my office, in a nice neighborhood, and had many (certainly not all) of the things we wanted. After thirteen years in that house we are about to do some upgrading and remodeling. This is a new experience for us but after 45 years of marriage I think we can manage it. At least I hope so.

Our house is 18 years old. Some things are a bit dated. There are changes we would like to make to more adequately meet our current and future needs and improve the appearance. So we developed a list of all the changes that were needed or wanted. A couple of items were higher priorities than others and there was a long list of changes we would like to make.

As we developed plans for the remodeling and upgrading, financial, structural, and functional issues presented themselves and caused us to re-think our plans and re-evaluate our needs. I have heard it said that any building or remodeling project will cost more than you planned and take more time than you expected. I am coming to realize there is a lot of truth to that statement.

As we have pared down the list and gotten estimates for the work, reality has begun to set in. Should we try to coordinate the several projects or should we find one person or company and let them deal with the details? The projected cost raises questions of whether some plans need to be altered or priorities need to be reordered. Is this the right time?

Any house requires regular repairs and maintenance. Periodic upgrades and improvements are wise to insure the comfort, functionality, and value of a home. And all of it comes with inconveniences and cost.

The same is true with the “house” that provides residence for our mind and spirit. We must be diligent to care for our physical, emotional, and spiritual self. It is costly and sometimes difficult to establish and maintain healthy practices. But it is even more costly if we do not. Lord, teach us to live wisely and well (Psalm 90:12).

Jamie Jenkins

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