My husband and I visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina last weekend. Although we have been many times before, I am always amazed by the house—the size and scope, building materials, architectural elements, and the massive foundation.
Construction of the house took six years and involved roughly a thousand workers, including local crews and internationally known artists and artisans. At times during the construction of the house, work came to a halt. On one occasion, temperatures were too frigid for mortar to set. Despite delays, owner George Vanderbilt opened Biltmore House to friends and family on Christmas Eve, 1895. From then, until now, Biltmore has been place of enjoyment for countless people. If the house had not been well-built on a solid foundation, the history of Biltmore House would look very different. But planning, appropriate building materials, careful construction, and a firm foundation ensure it still stands today.
Foundations are a stable base for an edifice, but they also matter in life. Following are some areas important to personal foundations:
In today’s world, people are obsessed with discovering more about their ancestry. They search websites, have their blood typed to determine countries of origin or locate relatives, and engage in online chats to learn more about their roots. Uncovering heritage provides a sense of connectedness and grounding that anchors to the past and propels into the future. No matter what your background, heritage is part of your personal foundation and your forward motion.
Any time you have an opportunity for learning take advantage of it. People learn in different ways and a classroom setting isn’t ideal for everyone. For you, education may happen through reading and research. For another, learning may involve a mentor, coach, or observation and then hands-on implementation. Still another may learn best through repeated audio instruction. The method of learning isn’t as important and the willingness to open your mind to information and accept knowledge that lays the groundwork for a strong educational foundation.
While education is an important part of a firm foundation, experience puts education into practice. Various personal and professional experiences stretch us and equip for future challenges. Often problems solving and experimentation school us on a deeper level than the classroom. Make sure you learn from the experiences of others as well.
This week, the building that was my father’s real estate and construction office will be razed. A lightning strike during a summer storm caused a fire, damaging the building beyond repair. While I feel somewhat wistful about the building’s demolition, nothing can crumble the spiritual foundation my father modeled and constructed. Because of his example, I learned the importance of a strong spiritual foundation and made it a priority to construct my own firm spiritual foundation.
During my childhood, I spent many hours walking construction sites with my builder father. Preparing the site for construction, digging and leveling, and laying block and brick for the foundation seemed to take an inordinate amount of time. I asked my father once why he wasted so much time on the foundation. A lopsided grin raised the corner of my father’s mouth as he said, “If you don’t lay a firm foundation, you’re going to encounter problems.” Over the years, I have found that to be true not only in construction, but also in life.
Many people do not value or cultivate a spiritual foundation, but like a house built on unstable ground, without a firm spiritual foundation, you may find yourself on shaky ground when life takes an unexpected turn. While it may not seem important when all is going well, when life’s storms roll in or you find yourself in a deep valley, a strong spiritual foundation is crucial to navigating through and beyond challenges and difficulties.
Perhaps you’ve never seen a need to ground yourself spiritually. Now is a good time to consider doing just that. Jesus Christ is a solid rock on whom you can anchor and erect a life of faith. Don’t wait. It’s not too late to begin laying a personal spiritual foundation.
“But all those who come and listen and obey me are like a man who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters, rise and break against the house, it stands firm, for it is strongly built.” Luke 6:47-48 LB
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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