Aaron and I are in the midst of a “no spend” month. We’re only putting money down for regular bills, gas, and groceries. It sounds straightforward and it is really, except for each time we’d normally eat out or jump to buy something (impulsively) at Target. Turns out those occasions are more common than we thought. Oops?
As much as minimalism is trendy right now, it’s not exactly so dreamy when you’ve been “forced” to live on little. We are thankful for what we have, (which is more than others in the world) but we are also especially human and get distracted fairly easily.
Building a home, life, family, etc. takes time. Decorating or even furnishing on a budget becomes a point of despair if you don’t pace yourself and if your improvisation skills leave something to be desired, maybe your meals do too. Social media adds insult to injury with images or advertisements of people “doing it right” all over the world in beautiful homes with designer-dressed children eating organic mac and cheese.
We might be guilty of staring over the fence and mumbling our complaint-prayers that usually start with “if only”. I should be the first person to confess that my heart and mind are so impressionable when it comes to Instagram feeds and anything 20% off. But the pressure to live the lifestyle of a well established grandparent is backbreaking for a young twenty-something newlywed. Comparison, as we’ve often heard of it, is a joy-stealer.
Maybe you find yourself, like me, easily materialistic and envious of others. It happens. But no matter how put together people (accounts, feeds, etc.) may seem, there are scars and stories you don’t see. Think of what you tell others via your virtual reality versus the ever growing laundry chair/pile, dirty dishes (rarely, of course!), or unfinished books.
There is no real formula for the perfect anything. I don’t believe we ever reach satisfaction on this side of life. We learn to be content (aka thankful) in the present with a hopeful watch over what the future may bring. (1 Tim 6:6-7, Matt 6:33)
Life is very temporary and I don’t want my joy to be misplaced. My marriage will eventually outlast any belonging I own and after that my relationship with the Lord will most certainly outlast my marriage. (2 Cor 4:18)
This month, this season of my life really, has encouraged me to find the real treasures of this life: celebrating the Lord’s provision for both nourishment and shelter as we put groceries away, sleep warmly, and wake up loved. Recognizing this, there is little else I need or want, even though a clean house is a semi-reasonable request, no?
The season of Lent is coming up around the corner and whether or not you observe the church calendar, you may ask yourself where your joy is found. Our sacrifices won’t be the same this year, but I hope that whatever we choose to put aside or resolve to do that we understand that Christ-found hope and joy changes everything.
“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” – Pope Francis