Simplifying

cool beans
Play time means a bowl of dry beans and some utensils right now

This is hard for me to write, because I don’t want to sound like I have this all figured out, and I really hope that it doesn’t sound like I’m dissing on what we have. I am extremely grateful for all we have, and for the provision that we’ve been given. Just read it from that perspective, please, because I’m not sure this came out right!

When we decided to move from our perfectly comfortable, content, and lovely life in Virginia and had towards the unknown, we were really choosing to pursue dreams. We realized that what we had in Virginia, no matter how lovely, was not the end of the road for us. Part of pursuing our dreams, we have determined, means a move towards simplicity. If our finances and home are simple and uncluttered, they can do more work towards the things that matter – including those dreams.
The wake-up call came for me one day in July when my Mom made an offhand comment about the camp that I wanted to run one day. What? Oh yeah, I forgot about that dream. Somewhere between the cleanup and the laundry and the running up and down the stairs and the cooking….
As we assess our living situation here, we are looking for a smaller place. At our current working budget, that search has been pretty discouraging so far. I was all for downsizing to a cute little bungalow with a cute little yard (in my mind…) but a 2 bedroom apartment ? Notsomuch.
I’ve also said several times during this process, if this doesn’t work for us, guess what? All we have to do to end up with the same happy situation we just left would be to sit back and let it happen. Stuff will accumulate unless we mindfully edit it. We might buy another 2400 square foot home next year. We don’t know. But we felt like we should at least give this a try…what do we have to lose (other than a bunch of stuff)?
When we moved to Virginia 2 years ago, we got a bigger house and the stuff just started to accumulate. I feel like my main aim in life now is inventory control and cleanup. I know I am made for more than that. I also know I won’t be able to completely escape it – that’s not my goal, and I also know I could lower my standards – and I did, many times.

Simplification. It’s not the goal, but its the tool that we believe will free us up to pursue the real goals. And we’re at the point right now where idealism is hitting the pavement and getting dirty and causing a few tears.

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6 responses to “Simplifying

  1. I didn’t perceive this as you being ungrateful for what you have but considering what your family needs to be content. I thought a lot about simplifying when James and I were on our bike. We were able to live just fine with two bikes and the stuff we were able to carry on the bikes in 4 panniers and 2 dry bags. It was really apparent to me how much “stuff” Americans have when we stayed at a campground over Memorial day. I think each person /family has to determine what works best for him/her in terms of simplification. Having a house definitely makes life more complicated – but it has perks as well. Good luck as you think through this idea.

  2. As you state so well, it is easy to acquire stuff. Then you spend your extra time and money taking care of that stuff. The next thing you know you are stuck in the stuff spiral of money and time. Escaping is difficult, lots of tough choices, but think of the future and the short term discomfort can be made more bearable.

  3. Simplifying can be tough. But, I know you and Wes will figure out what works best for your family. I admire your willingness to try, and really hope it helps you to pursue your dreams!! Good luck :).

  4. On this part of your journey, you might want to read (or re-read) Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline (particularly the chapter on Simplicity) and Radical Homemakers. I applaud your determination to follow your dreams by declaring war on the normative materialism that we can too easily fall prey to!

  5. Laura, I know how big the gap can be sometimes between what we believe and actually living that out… As you know, we are also in that stage of pursing God’s dreams and living with the consequences of those choices that we hope will one day get us to where we want to go… but it’s the in between…. the gap… that is often the painful, frustrating part of the journey… I believe it’s the place where convictions are tested, passions are ignited, and motives are purified…. Praying for you all that God will give you such a vision of purpose in this gap – that you will be able to endure the journey…We Love and Miss you all Very Much…

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