Sunday, March 02, 2008

Livin' in the middle

Big struggle: How do I live in the world without becoming worldly? I'm not sure where middle ground lies. My pendulum swings back and forth and has found no middle ground. I want to sell all my belongings, move to a country where I would live on dirt floors and help, teach and love on the poor. That's how I feel on Monday. By Wednesday, I am trying to figure out how to get Joseph a flat screen TV for graduation, get the girlie's summer wardrobe from Gymboree and sign the boys up for every activity under the sun. Excess.

As I look around my house all I see is excess. Yet, I still want more. Bigger, newer, better. And then the guilt sets in and the pendulum swings back to "let's sell everything and move". I hate that about myself. And I hate that is what I am teaching my children.

This is only going to get harder. Joseph makes less money now than he will ever make again. How many people can say that? Obviously anything can happen, but assuming that he remains healthy, then we are now making less than we ever will again. Not only are we making less, our pay will just continue to increase - significantly over the next 3 years. And that scares me. I don't want to keep up with the Jones's (or is it Joneses?). I want to go to my friends big houses, admire that are decked out in Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel, and come home to my Target crib and feel grateful for what I have. I don't want catalogs coming to my house enticing me to covet. I want to be thankful for my small, yet comfy house that is lived in. And learn to be okay with the fact that I don't have the nicest, newest - stuff. Because I am blessed with what I do have. And it's good to want. If I didn't want, then I wouldn't have to learn what it is to be content.

And I think that's where my pendulum needs to stop. Maybe middle ground is contentment. God saw fit to give me four gorgeous kids, an amazing hubby with an exciting career ahead of him and a desire to love on the poor and broken. I need to find opportunities around me to fulfill my desires. I need to learn to love living within our means and be thankful for all the blessings that Father has showered on me!

I'm a strugglin' with these things and I'm thankful for that. And I'm thankful for friends to share my struggles with. Thanks for the pep-talk y'all!


Anonymous said...

If we are honest, we all struggle. I continually flounder on both sides of contentment. Be grateful that you are in touch enough with Right to wobble back to plumb.

jenny said...

I know how you feel. I feel strongly about not having excess because so often belongings then become your priority rather than God and your family. I also think it's wasteful and bad for the environment that so much is being manufactured and that so many people to be throwing away perfectly good things to have bigger, better ones. However, I love buying my boys stuff and whenever I think about houses, I think how wonderful it would be to have a craft room, guest room, office, etc. even though our house now is a perfect size - big enough to fit our belongings, but small enough we can't all retreat to seperate corners and not see each other for days. Maybe it's good for our kids to see us struggle with it, and hopefully make more right choices than wrong ones. We then model for them how to overcome the urges that they will one day have, too.

Miriam said...

I'm a sucker for marketing - love pretty packaging - easily convinced that I need a new whatever because the new one is "prettier"! It is amazing how little we really need.

I had a reality check this week when I had dinner with a girl from Mongolia - she showed me a picture of her house online - one room shared by everyone - beds shared by everyone - and she missed it - loved it!

And here I am wasting time wishing I had a daybed rather than a queen size bed in my guest room...Contentment is a daily affair - sorting out needs and wants.

Elizabeth said...

I just found your blog and I have only read three posts, but I can tell that we have a lot in common. I too struggle with going back and forth between recognizing how very much I have and sometimes feeling guilty about it and then feeling like everything I have is old and used so I want newer and better. It is so hard to say no to those impulses. It's one reason I stay away from the mall. It just breeds discontent in my heart.

I long to be content all the time, but it's hard. My perspective is often skewed by looking too much at what others have. I think it helps that we our weaknesses and do what we can to live within our means, even if that means going without.