Lessons from Being Homeless

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Several years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to purchase our dream home.  The housing market at the time allowed us to move into a house that seemed far beyond our expectations.  We had four bedrooms that we constantly filled with friends and family.  We had large gathering areas that we used to host parties for holidays, birthdays, and some amazing events.   We relaunched our college ministry from our living room.  When people were in a dark place emotionally, we found that our home was one our greatest tools for ministry and encouragement.  Over the years, we made some amazing memories, and our house became such a big part of who we were. When God made it clear that it was time to move to Portland, giving up the house was the hardest part for me.

A month ago, we packed up ourselves and our beautiful toddler princess, and we moved out.  God allowed the house to sell for an amazing price, without ever listing it on the market.  This Saturday, we will begin a 6-day road trip across the country to our beautiful new Portland townhouse.  For the past 30-ish days, we have been without an address.  I would never trade this time, and I’ve learned some powerful lessons along the way.


1.  Home is more than a building - its a sense of belonging.

I never realized the security I had allowed myself to place in my physical surroundings.  I have always been a space-conscious person.  In school, I couldn’t concentrate on my homework until my bed was made.  In college, I needed to know which corner of the dorm room was mine.  Whenever I moved into a new office (which happened frequently), I had to set it up completely before I could get any work done.  A sense of ownership gave me a deep sense of security.  This month, all of that has been taken away.  Guess what, I haven’t really missed it.  I found that I’m not as neurotic as I thought I was.  I’ve enjoyed the freedom of being untethered.  Instead of focusing on my physical environment, I’ve been forced to focus on our vision, on what God is doing in our lives, and on the task at hand.  I find myself belonging in His presence.



2.  Home is not a place - it’s the people.

I understand homelessness is a real crisis in America, and a source of pain for many.  I don’t mean to make light of individuals who live outdoors, in the elements, or who are displaced for an undetermined amount of time.  This has not been our situation at all - we have been staying with my parents for the past month.  It’s been nothing short of wonderful.  We’ve experience such a sweet sense of warmth and love while being surrounded by those who mean so much to us.  I realize that there have been so many times we’ve chosen isolation in the name of independence, and we’ve missed the sweet and simple moments that come from just being together.  I don’t think I’ll ever take my family for granted again.  Even as we move 3,000 miles away, I’m so grateful for technology and other opportunities to stay connected.  This goes for our incredible church family as well.  Home travels with us.



3.  The truest sense of home is found deep within the presence of God.

I felt really weird the first two days after we moved out of our house.  I reached the place in my heart when optimism wasn’t working.  I was trying so hard to feel good, but I just felt bad.  Then, I felt guilty for feeling bad.  I turned to Jesus, desperate for His Word.  The Spirit of God prompted me to turn to a familiar passage in John 15.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
 - John 15:9

I remember that as I read this passage, an overwhelming sense of love, joy, and peace warmed through me.  This is Christianity.  God was clearly saying, “

Aaron - I am your home.  I am your security.  Everything you enjoyed, it was from me and because of me.  The house had become your distraction.  I’ve taken it away so you can experience the fullness of Who I Am.  Live, dwell, and abide…in ME.

It’s easy to say that God is our everything.  It’s hard to mean that when we are surrounded by everything else.  Thank God for moments when we are reminded that He is not just enough - He is more than enough.


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by the way, we have a new address  :)

4942 SW 1st Ave
Portland, Oregon
97239

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learn more about our vision at pastoraaronbennett.com

Aaron is the pastor of Spring of Life, a new church in Portland, Oregon. He's the owner of Amplify Creative.