When David and I decided to take a serious look at our life in 1998 and make some changes, I don’t think we fully appreciated how complicated it could be to simplify. We knew we wanted more peace, more time, and a more integrated life. We also wanted less debt, less stress, and fewer commitments that took us away from home. We desired more time to devote to the things that were truly important to us, regardless of what those around us thought.
Some choices were easy to make and easy to implement. These would include choices such as getting rid of stuff around our home that we didn’t really want or need and giving it to Goodwill. Some choices were easy to make but very difficult to implement. Those choices would include the desire to get out of debt and knowing that we didn’t want me to teach any longer.
Other choices were hard to make but once the decision was made we found it very freeing and easier to implement than we would have originally thought. This would include David working at home full-time in our own business. (Actually, God made that decision for us but that is another story.) And some choices were hard to make and hard to implement. These were choices such as distancing ourselves from people who were hindering our choices in unhealthy and sometimes abusive ways.
Pursuing Simple Living on Our Own
There was really no blueprint for us to follow. When we talked about these issues with people at church and in other places, most of the time people did not relate to what we were talking about. This was during the boomtime of the stock market, before 9-11, etc. People were pretty upbeat and positive, spending like there was no tomorrow. To think of cutting back, starting your own home-based business, etc. seemed totally out of step with the mainstream thinking at that time. We didn’t find a lot of encouragement from people around us.
Fortunately there was the internet and I was able to find a few good articles and websites online. That helped and it gave expression to what we were thinking about. We were also able to find some good books at the library that were also helpful in thinking about these things. Unfortunately, most of the information was not written from a biblical perspective and a lot of it was very New Age-y. So we had to read the information and then spend a lot of time processing it, trying to put it through a biblical grid and figure out what it meant in our lives as Christians.
So it has been a somewhat complicated journey we have taken with many twists and turns. But was it worth it? Absolutely.
Seven Years to Change Your Lifestyle
I remember reading several years ago in a book that it takes about seven years to completely change your lifestyle. I don’t remember how the author came to that conclusion, but I realized while writing this entry that it has been seven years since we started making these changes! Our lifestyle has changed in many significant ways, but we are still looking forward, anticipating some more choices God may have for us in the months and years ahead.
Now that I’ve been through the first seven years and I see how God has blessed our desires I’m actually even more excited about what God will do in the next seven years! I could have never dreamed that we would be where we are today when we started out seven years ago. We were in debt, had no savings, didn’t have a house, I was in a profession I wanted to leave so I could be at home full-time, etc. I can only say that God did abundantly beyond all we could have asked or imagined. The seeds were planted, but God provided the way time and time again. I look forward to sharing more of those stories with you in the days ahead.
Some of My Favorite Books for Pursuing Simplicity
The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative LifestyleYour Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st CenturyThe Simplicity PrimerChoosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex WorldThe Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy