It’s But A Shell

It was a sunny day in Tucson (aren’t they all?).  A friend and colleague of mine were off to lunch and a little breathing room in the middle of the day. Jon volunteered to drive.  I remember pulling  his passenger door shut and commenting “Nice van!”

“Thanks. You wanna buy it?”

“What?”  His response obviously caught me off guard.

“If you wannit, make me an offer; everything I own is for sale.”  And with that he pulled it into reverse and we were on our way.

We talked a bit more on the way to lunch about stuff and things, and material goods.  I liked his perspective.  Still do, actually, everything I own is temporary, here to serve a purpose, but since none of it is permanent, it’s for sale — sort of.

The Lord sold my Celica to the insurance company in a snowstorm a few years ago.  Only took a second.  “Totalled.  Here’s your check.”

I survived both the accident and the “sale” of my cute little car, just fine.

Lately I’ve come to view my house that same way.  Expendable.  We’ve been here almost fifteen years so it’s taken a bit of doing to bring me to this point, but I’ve come to see that a house to a family is a lot like a shell is to one of these little guys:


The Hermit Crab’s shell is not permanent —
It was never intended to be so. Periodically they  release from the one they’ve been using and move into another.

But we get attached to things, and I really like my house and yard, so it’s taken a while for me to remember: This house isn’t permanent — It was never intended to be so.

Selling our “shell”  now, and finding a different one, may be the best thing for us.  Of course if our next ministry assignment or job means we have to move, we’ll of course sell it.  If the hermit crab can do it, we can do it.

PLR house - 1

This house is just a box, really —where we’ve lived for several years, and finished raising our kids— but still a wooden box.  There are lots of memories, laughter and tears associated with our box, our shell, but it’s still Just a box; a place God provided where we could grow and mature.

Maybe it’s time for a different one.  I’m talking to a realtor Monday morning. A realtor who just so happens to live in the shell next door.   I’ll keep you posted.

2 Replies to “It’s But A Shell”

  1. Phil

    Jan 15th –

    Here’s where we are after talking to several respected friends and family, and hearing their perspective on our current situation.

    We’re not going to sell the house yet, unless God calls us to a position that would necessitate a move. Our reasoning (short version):

    * We have a great interest rate and are on the pay-down side of the mortgage timetable so our equity is growing fast. If we started over, but stayed in the area we’d forfeit the best part of our mortgage.

    * If the Lord leaves us in this area a while longer the market could stabilize, restoring the value of our home to pre-crunch value, and we’d be in a better position as sellers. Real estate and the stock market are similar in that long-term thinking is always preferred, usually best.

    * It costs money to move, even across town. Better to cut costs between jobs than to incur additional expenses.

    * Looking for work is a top priority for me at this time. I need to focus on what’s important and go hard. To look for work AND work part time AND serve at our church AND prepare to move would divide my energies. In the worst-case scenario it could result in adverse affects, emotionally, healthwise or spiritually, etc.

    So it’s “Not right now” on selling the house.

    …in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Prov. 11.14)

    I’m thankful for knowlegable people in our circle of friends and family who are willing to graciously share their perspective and pray for us too. It sure improves the sense of peace in uncertain times.

    Jesus said “I’m going to prepare a place for you.” … “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me were I am.” (John 14.2-3) Who knows? Maybe we’ll move from here to someplace BRAND-NEW. Flawless. In Heaven. With our Savior.

    Perhaps today.

    Phil —

  2. Jonell

    Good insight. 🙂

    I’m sure much time was spent in prayer over this matter. I’m glad that you sought the counsel of others for godly advice. That verse is so true and godly advice is so valuable!

    Even though your house isn’t actually on the market with a “FOR SALE” sign in the front yard, your mental thought process could be the same as your friend in Arizona and his van. If someone visits and says, “Nice House … I love what you’ve done with the place over the years.” (which it is … I’ve been there!) You can still say, “Thanks, Wanna buy it?” Since your mindset all along has been and continues to be: “If you want it, or are interested in it, make me an offer; everything I own is for sale.”

    Gotta love the way God works! 🙂


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