Updated: Oct 5
About a year ago, Elli and I started contemplating the idea of owning a house. We had various thoughts swirling in our minds, partly triggered by the fact that our current apartment is slowly growing to be too tight for our family of five. We love this place, we love the ability to be close to our YWAM Perth community and to be easily accessible to the young people here. But we also had a longing for a place to call our own.
We were hoping that somehow, someway, we could make it happen. Here and there, we looked at different housing websites, and as we saw friends acquiring homes, our dreams and aspirations grew.
We were daydreaming about this house, imagining a place with a backyard, an open living room large enough to host ministry gatherings, and enough room for the girls to grow into their teens and adulthood. One of Elli's dreams is to have a home with enough space that our children will be able to come back to for visits once they are grown and have families of their own. We considered various options, talked about plans to make it happen, and allowed the idea to take root.
Then, about 2-3 weeks ago, I dropped off one of the girls for a playdate at a friend's house. As I drove back, I passed by some simple, unassuming houses – not extravagant by any means, just homes. It was at that moment that the deep longing within me rose up again. I felt an intense desire for a house of our own wash over me, it was an actual physical sensation.
I started crying out to God, my heart aching for this earthly thing. Yet, in that very moment, it felt like God tapped my shoulder, gently reminding me, "Hey Acksios, do you long for me in this same way?" I was stunned. It was a question I couldn't ignore, and I knew my answer wasn't a resounding "Yes." I desired God, but that profound, physical yearning for a deeper connection with Him was not there.
God's question stayed with me and continued on in my thoughts. I realized I needed to shift my focus. I needed to long for that longing for God instead of a house. I shared my experience with Elli and she also felt deeply convicted. We made the decision to lay down our hopes for a house. It wasn't wrong to dream of a comfortable home for our family, but it had grown to an unhealthy dimension, overshadowing our trust in God, and taking our focus away from following Him wherever He chooses to lead us.
We still would like to own a house one day, and we have a plan to save up for it over the coming years. However, for the time being, God led us to set aside the active pursuit of looking for a house, trusting in His plan and timing. I redirected my energy, replacing the yearning for a house with a yearning for God.
Since this day, whenever thoughts of a house creep into my mind or I pass a for-sale sign on the street, I stop those thoughts and turn them into prayers, saying, "Lord, I want to long for You as much as I longed for a house." It has deepened my relationship with God. I've gained confidence – not in my abilities or what I have – but in His grace. I understand how much I need His grace and mercy.
Laying down these thoughts has also led to a profound freedom. I'm not driven by these desires anymore, in a rat-race trying to get what I want. I can rest in God's goodness, knowing that as we "seek His Kingdom first" (Matt 6:33), He will take care of everything that we need.
This newfound intimacy with God has led me to seek a closer relationship that I wholeheartedly devote my life to. I heard once. "The journey to heaven is a heaven." So true. I'm grateful for God's gentle nudge, asking if I long for Him in the same way.
So, I leave you with this thought: Have you ever experienced intense longing for a thing, whether it's a car, a house, a gadget, success, a promotion, a vacation destination, or even something like marriage? Now, ask yourself, do you have the same level of longing for God? It's worth pondering because that yearning draws us closer to Him, filling us with joy, peace, and love. It's a precious experience that brings true contentment.