I remember before leaving for Romania eight years ago,
Driving though tract housing developments in Southern California and thinking: I don’t want this. I don’t want the perfect house with the perfect life and the picket fence.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Those developments that give a home buyer several models to choose from and those models are then repeated every fifth house or so.
What I wouldn’t give to have one of those houses in one of those developments now.
The pretty kitchens with granite counter-tops and stainless steel appliances!
The new bathrooms with clean toilets and bathtubs!
And even if it was a previously owned house in one of those developments, oh, THE SPACE!
And here is where I express my discontent.
Here is where I confess I want the picket fence. I want the perfect life. I want the security all of it symbolizes.
I never did before. Back then, I worshiped simplicity and saving the world by living smaller, using less, buying yard sale furniture and Goodwill silverware and staying out of debt by paying cash for cars.
And here is where I confess the idol I made of debt-free living. How I’ve worshiped having less.
And I’ve thought myself better because I didn’t care whether I lived in a tract housing development in Southern California with space, granite countertops in the kitchen and never before used bathrooms.
Discontent with less, I am a recovering simple living addict.
And talk about tension.
Because I believe it is good not to have debt.
And I don’t think we should live beyond our means.
I really do like yard sale furniture.
But I hate what I think all of this says about me.
And I hate when I want more than what I’ve been given.
When I’m not satisfied with what I have.
I know no life is perfect.
Perfect houses with kept yards behind white fences do not equal perfectly kept lives.
But they are a symbol for them.
Just as used and painted furniture symbolize something other than new and for me, the danger of pride.
In all honesty, right now, I just want to find the balance between humility and contentment.
I think they only symbol of that is the cross.
Jesus said: pick up your cross and follow me…
Lose your life, and you will find it.
Here’s where I find myself losing my life today
Picking up a cross in hope of finding life:
In gratefulness for the tiny dirty house where I live.
The disheveled children who scream for what they want while I try to remain calm and patient and in control.
Thankful I’ve been able to spend the last four years of my life spilling my life into theirs.
Losing myself in the knowledge that the next step of providing for those little ones means getting a job.
It isn’t what I want…
I want the big house
The white fence
Alongside old silverware and repurposed furniture.
I want to stay home with my kids.
I want the perfect American life.
And I never thought humbling myself and picking up a cross,
The symbol of humility and contentment,
Would mean getting a job,
NOT being at home with my kids,
So that we can simply provide for them.
that living a simple life,
is simply wanting to provide for our three little ones.
But it is.
And it’s hard.
And I’m praying that as I move beyond symbols and talks of confessing my discontent and pride,
I am able to hide in the shadow of THE only Life that matters.
And there, find my life.