As many of you know, we recently relocated from Spain to the United States. We’re living with relatives while trying to buy a house. This has been an adventure, and we are hoping to soon have our own home.
In the meantime, I’ve been looking online at different used places, visited several re-sale stores in town, and people have given us pieces of furniture. I also peruse Pinterest and YouTube videos to view decorating ideas.
One of the phenomena I’ve noticed is the standard decorating style: farmhouse. I actually love “farmhouse style,” Fixer Upper, and watching Joanna Gaines’ genius. She gets a vision, works with clients, and does marvelous work. Her own farmhouse is a decorator’s dream—a comfy blend of old and new, with refreshing pops of greenery. But, as I’ve looked at properties, it has been hilarious to find sliding barn doors and reclaimed pallet walls in brick ranch homes. I crack up at shiplap installed in a formal dining room within a posh house.
I visited a spacious décor store with my husband—not buying, just looking. One style prevailed: farmhouse. There was some evidence of industrial, as well. I kept wondering about the rest of us, those who don’t own a literal farmhouse and are not in a home that lends itself to cement, pipes, and fittings.
I am trying not to buy prematurely—before we’re positive the house is ours. Both taste and wisdom are important to me. I think we can make the house that we’re buying seem cohesive with the pieces of furniture people have gifted us.
We surely don’t want to be like the man in the biblical parable who tore down his barns and built bigger ones—not knowing he would die that night. (To read the parable, go to Luke 12:16-21.) The concluding verse shows us where a Christian’s values don’t need to be. So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). I’d rather be rich toward God.
We are trying to be wise stewards. With our overseas move, we decided not to bring any furniture—except one end table that was an anniversary gift and easily disassembled for shipping. We also didn’t bring any household appliances that used European 220 Volt current, knowing they don’t work over here. Instead, we brought pots and pans, dishes, and those decorations we love, our clothing, and a few tools.
Let me share some of my thought processes as I try not to buy prematurely.
- Someone gifted us a nice mattress. We found a second-hand bed frame this past week for it. As we know we will need a bed, wherever we live, we felt this was a good idea—plus, the frame is pretty.
- We were given a dining room set. It isn’t in the best of shape, but a family member volunteered to help me recover the chairs, and I plan to paint them. (I couldn’t see the condition of the table.) The house has a dining room that lends itself to an oblong, oval table. This table is oval, and I am thrilled. A couple of chairs are missing, so I am on the lookout in the used market, but I won’t buy any until we are sure buying this house is going through.
- My family wants me to have an old table that has been passed down for generations. It will go beautifully in one room, should we get this house. I’m keeping my eyes peeled on the used market for a few chairs, looking for something quirky and comfortable. Again, I won’t buy until we know the house is ours. A different home might not work with this table.
- We will need a washer. Someone gave us a used dryer, free. I haven’t looked at washers at all.
- We’ve been given a desk, dresser, little chair, and bookshelf. These we can use anywhere we live.
- I’m waiting to buy other things because I want to be sure about spaces and needs. If we should end up not getting this house, I don’t want to have spent money on things with this specific house in mind—that might not fit a different house’s colors, spaces, etc.
Why am I sharing this? It’s because many people overspend. They buy things they really don’t need at the moment and may never use. A lot of people don’t shop around, either.
As a side note, when we lived in Spain, there was almost no second-hand market. Back when we moved to Spain in the 1980s, people would junk a whole room of furniture, just to buy new. After the financial problems of the early 2000s, we noticed this was less prevalent, but there still was almost no market for used home furnishings. I admit I’m enjoying the various consignment, re-sale stores, and used online forums in the United States.
Christians are supposed to be good stewards. After all, everything we have comes from the Lord.
Jesus said, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:19-21, 25)
Then, Jesus described how he takes care of sparrows and lilies. He continued: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? I might add, “What shall we wash our clothes in or sit on?” For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:26, 32b-33).
I want have right priorities. It’s easy to get excited about moving into a new home. The temptation is to seek stuff. But, God promises to meet our needs when we put Him first. When I need better judgment? That’s something to pray for. Good ole practical James, Holy Spirit inspired, wrote: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
I’m asking the Lord for a liberal dose of wisdom as we move forward.
What verses and principles guide you as you make buying decisions? Please feel free to share.