Thursday, November 17, 2011
Living with Less (HAH November Blog Hop)
It's the Hearts at Home Blog Hop today! For November: Share 5 “things” you’ve given up or are living without as a family so that you can have more.
Living without two incomes is a choice we have made. I quit my job while I was pregnant with our first daughter because I was so sick at the beginning of the pregnancy. At the same time, we knew that we wanted me to be able to be home with our children. I consider it a privilege to be able to witness all their firsts, help with classroom parties, chaperone field trips and be here when they get home from school every day. Sure, there are days I wonder if working outside the home might help my sanity but ultimately, I know these days are a gift God has given me that I’ll never get back.
A couple of years ago, we eliminated cable television. It wasn’t an easy decision in that we all had our channels we really enjoyed watching. Due to finances, it was a decision we needed to make. Honestly, I think it was a bit of prompting from God as well. While there is some good stuff that we miss out on, TV is a lot lower on the priority list in our household these days.
I would love to have an iphone (or a Windows phone – I have no loyalty to either company). A plan with texting and internet access would be a lot of fun to have. The monthly bill to accompany that phone, however, is unaffordable for our family. Our current plan is prepaid on an out-of-date phone. We utilize our cell phone only when necessary. It’s another choice we’ve made to cut costs as well as make more time for family. If I had a phone of high caliber, I believe I would have a hard time limiting my time. Without it, the temptation is eliminated.
We limit our children on the activities they can participate in. All of those outside activities add up in monetary commitments as well as time commitments. Even just the weekly commitment of AWANA which I chose for them years ago eats up one evening a week. The benefits of this program with hiding God’s Word in the hearts of my girls keep this commitment on our calendar. However, I refuse to fill up every evening with a commitment. My girls would love to be in dance but dance classes are limited in our home to the small programs offered in the summer time. It requires intentional planning to keep our lives from spinning out-of-control. I don’t want us to live hurried lives and even with these boundaries in place, I feel as if it’s a constant battle.
Our family does not even attempt to keep up with the Joneses. We have a beautiful living room thanks to friends and family who were willing to give us their old entertainment center, television, sofas and coffee table they were parting with (each item from a different family). It’s a place where our family is enjoying reading together, watching family films together, and playing games. And despite the fact that my husband is a technical guy, we don’t have the latest and greatest technical items. We don’t even have a flat screen television. It’s my hope that we learn a need v. a want as we limit the material items we bring into our homes.
It can be a struggle to live with less in today’s world. When I see people in “poverty” utilizing a phone that I barely dream of having, I question our priorities. I find myself desiring the life of comfort so many seem to live but the fact is that it is only an appearance. Many people are living in debt and those that do truly live comfortably have usually worked hard and made sacrifices to get to where they are. If I attempt to keep up with the rest of the world, I will only find myself frustrated. I simply cannot responsibly afford the next best thing. Our household may live with outdated items, but we are a family that can stay together and spend quality time together and that benefit tops anything else. When I find myself struggling with desires for more, I remember that God has ALWAYS provided for every one of our needs and some. While I’d love to save up money for vacations and our future, this verse keeps me giving thanks to God and remembering that He is the one who provides.
“O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.” – Proverbs 30: 7-9
How do you live with less so your family can have more? Check out the ideas other Hearts at Home bloggers have, too.