I’ve had a lot of thoughts going on in my head lately (don’t say it!). I read a story not too long ago (and I can’t find it now, or I’d link to it) about a family that sold all their stuff and moved to Africa to become missionaries. Then, there was the story I posted about yesterday where 97 military families lost all their household belongings in a fire. Today, I read this post on another blog where she said,
“Doesn’t the Bible say that this world is not our home, and that we are essentially aliens? So why then do we try so hard to be comfortable here? These questions have been on my heart for awhile. It seems as if we will take risks for God to a certain point, and we will allow ourselves to experience discomfort for awhile, but it is still all in our “control”, and we quickly scramble back to a place where we can settle in and get comfortable again.”
I don’t know exactly where my thoughts are going or where God is leading me with this, but I do know this. Over the past several years I have grown less and less materialistic. I care less and less about “stuff”. I’d rather spend time with people than receive gifts. Clutter stresses me out in a big way (and then I’m too stressed to know where to start…it’s a vicious cycle).
But it hasn’t always been that way. Almost 9 years ago when Hubby and I were newly married. We lived in a nice apartment with 2 bedrooms upstairs and a living/dining/kitchen downstairs. We had friends and family over and were able to entertain. We even had a relative w/kids live with us at one time, and a good friend going through a divorce live with us during another time. So it was plenty big for us.
But I wanted more. I wanted a house. The details of all that I’ll save for another post on stewardship (or lack of), but my point right now is that I remember us looking at a house that was 1500 square feet. I thought it would be way too small. Never mind that it was twice the size of where we were living, but it just didn’t compare with many of our friends’ homes. I thought there was no way we could raise a family in that.
Oh, the irony! We ended up buying a larger home. Hubby and I even had our own offices, plus our bedroom, plus a room for our daughter. Then, along the way we lost it due to bankruptcy (like I said, another post another time). Years later, here we are in a 3 bedroom, 1500 square foot house. We’ve lived here for 4 years and it has been the best house ever!! We’ve had parties, we’ve entertained, we’ve had sleepovers. We’ve had 4 kids at once living here and had plenty of room.
We don’t need huge. We don’t need more space. We definitely don’t need more stuff. We are blessed way more than we deserve!
There have been many times that Hubby and I have talked about apartment life. We actually enjoyed it. Sure, it’s nice having a yard with kids, but many apartment complexes have large grassy areas to play, or even a playground.
So, what do we do about it? I don’t know. We’ve also talked about living in a trailer/camper for a while depending on where the Army takes us. I think it would be great! Downsize, save some money, and if we got the right kind – be ready to go camping at a moment’s notice.
I used to joke that God had obviously not called us to be rich, but in truth, we are oh-so-rich compared to so many. What right do we have to collect more and more and more stuff when there are so many others in need? God didn’t put us here to be cozy and comfortable in a huge house. He put us here to do His work. How can we best do that? I’m not sure yet.
As we prepare to move soon, I’ve been trying to go through our things and purge those things that we haven’t used (or unpacked) since we moved in here 4 years ago. We just don’t need to move those things with us yet again. But I also wonder what else we should be purging? What else could we do without that I am hanging on to?
I worked in my daughter’s room a couple days ago because she wanted to switch her bed around. We were also packing up some of her stuffed animals to put in the garage that she isn’t ready to get rid of, but we just don’t have room for in her room. I remember standing there trying to figure out how to convince her that she has way too many, when I realized I do the same thing. She’s actually very generous and would give away almost any of her toys except her stuffed animals. Those are true friends to her and it’s hard for her to separate the reality that they aren’t real from the fact that they are just toys. So I don’t push her too much to part with them. But, I also recognize that I need to set an example by parting with some things that I “love but don’t use” or “might need someday…even though I haven’t in the last 5 years”. I don’t like to get rid of things I think I might need because I’m so frugal it would bug me to have to buy them again. At the same time, I know that my stress level would be so much better without all the extra stuff around. What a blessing this stuff could be to someone else too!
Something to think about.
Oh, and another thing? When we were first looking to buy a house all those years ago, we immediately nixed any that had a chain link fence. We wanted a wood fence. We wanted our privacy after all that time in an apartment. After living in this house, it would be hard to get us into a house with a wood fence now. Our next door neighbor here has a chain link fence, and because of that fence we have made lifelong friends with some amazing people that I am honored and blessed to have in my life! It all started with the “fence talk” like Tim Allen and Wilson in Home Improvement, but it grew into a friendship that Hubby & I will cherish for the rest of my life. If we had both had wood fences, I don’t know that we would have ever seen each other or struck up a conversation.
I also no longer like garages in the back. Our first house had garages in the front, and people were always outside riding bikes, grilling, and just hanging out watching the kids play. Here, the garage is in the back and we never see anyone out front. People come home, pull in the garage, close the door and shut themselves off from the rest of the world.