Living the Enough Life
Maybe it's the failing economy, maybe I'm reading my Bible a little closer, or maybe God is just reminding me of something that He showed me years ago when I read an amazing book and then later even as a newlywed. Maybe it's all three. I'm pretty sure that it also has something to do with my 7-year-old daughter asking me one day recently, "Mommy, are we poor?"
I want to live the "Enough" life. The "Enough" life is one where I am grateful for the things (many, many things) that we have aquired, and the one where I don't need to constantly yearn for the next thing -- the next, bigger house, the next newer and nicer vehicle and yes, even the next (and better?) phase of my life.
This is where I am. Yes, it feels like we are jammed into every available inch of this 1340 square foot house, but it's our house. We've sweated and worked to make it truly a haven for the six of us. Families in Africa live in a 1-room hut with more family members. Yes, the door handle in our 12 year old Corolla fell off -- again -- but it's ours. We don't make payments on it...and get this...it's our SECOND car. Again, there are millions of people in the world who don't even own a bicycle. And, yes, every member in the family (except the baby) has one of those too...and a scooter...and skates...but I digress.
The question I am asking myself again is, "just because I can afford it, do I really need it?" If a 12-year-old Corolla works just fine, do I need to trade it in for a newer model -- just because I can? If we do get to the point where we need to buy another -- would another Corolla suffice or should we upgrade to a Camry or better, just because our budget allows for it? And, just because we could squeak into a bigger house payment, should we do that and pretty much be tied there because we can't afford anything else? Or should we put that extra money into our current mortgage, build up equity, maybe even -- gasp -- pay this house off and see what God can do with that extra freed up income?
When I truly take a good look around me, I see that I am (we are) so very rich. "No we are definitely NOT poor," is what I told Hayden when she asked. I told her that we are being wise with how we choose to spend our money. We made decisions based upon how we wanted to grow our family that affect that amount of money we have in the bank. We use coupons and cashback proudly to save money (for more on this, see my page on Money Saving Tips).
But, that's not a bad thing. I told her that we have enough money (more than just enough) and God has been so good to us in that way. But, we are putting that money to work buying food, keeping us warm and dry and inside, saving for their future, saving for their mom and dad's future, planning for family vacations to explore together, making room for soccer and gymnastics and all of those fun things -- and having some left over to give to people who need it.
And that's when I really got it. If I can teach my kids this...if they can grow up living an "Enough Life" with us -- in this world of "gimme more, gimme better" -- and if they can translate that into their own families, I will feel like I have accomplished something amazing.