Thursday, March 15, 2012

Head Over Heels And Back Again

Oh, I try my darnedest to live simply for all the good reasons there are out there for doing so.  Sometimes it's super easy.  I have no desire to buy shoes, make-up or new outfits.  I don't want a new car, new appliances or to redecorate.  I don't even care all that much that our house needs repainting or that our front steps need replacing or that paving the driveway would allow our kids to take bike-riding to a whole new level.

No, no.  When I'm tempted by something, I'm tempted BIG.  As in home-BIG.  Not a different home, mind you.  An additional home.    A home nestled in a valley with the most amazing views, down a most amazing gravel road, with cows and horses near by, with roads for walking and trails for hiking.  It would be a perfect home to retire to and rent out in the meantime and look at as an investment.  

Who in the world am I and what has happened to Jane??!!

The fact that we cannot afford another house is way-way-way-way beside the point!  We (in no way) need another house (obviously)!

So, not soon enough, I launch into the little lecture that I recite to myself.  The one that's grounded in faith and the desire to be obedient and do what Christ would want me to do.  The one that figures out how many Compassion kids could be sponsored for a year by this potentially insane and irresponsible purchase (over 500, by the way) and I slowly pull away from the sharp, yellow claws of greed and selfishness and shake my head clear.

Don't poo-poo this and tell me it's okay to dream.  I wasn't dreaming.  I was obsessed.  Obsessing and  dreaming can breed discontentment and envy.  The world says it's okay to dream because when we dream, our focus is usually taken off you-know-Who.

I'm sharing this with you because I want you to know that even though I blog about living simply, I am not immune to all the bells and whistles of this world.  Not in the least.

And so, I'm thankful.  Not just for what I have, but for living most of my days knowing that what I have is more than enough and keeping myself from actually acting otherwise. Pin It


  1. Well,whether your dreaming or obsessing ,I don't think its to much to own another piece of property ,I did ,I owned 2 before stupirty ,greed ( from my family ) and mental illness (my husbands ) that took both away. but my brother in law lives in the north and also has a lake home,nether are fancy ,he build one with his bare hands (he's very talented that way) he is doing good for his community ,he goes to jails ,prisons and talks about God. but he needs the land to feel back to nature and go with out phones and TV ,bring his-self back to earth, he uses up every bit of extra energy there . One of my moms favorite saying was "Idle hands are the devils workshop", well curt certainly does not have idle hands. he is 68 years old and stronger than most men his age.I would give a lot to have my house ,my land up-north back. For my grown children ,who love to fish,for my grand children to see what is was like as I grew up,going to the lake on vacation ( a lot)these things you could leave to your family too,without going against God

  2. Thank you for your comment, Judy:-). I didn't mean to say that vacation homes are against God. I grew up going to a very simple, modest (no electricity, no running water) cabin and it was (and is) such a sweet place to enjoy family and creation.

    I do think we're called to live within our means, work on *not* building up treasures here on earth and share with those who have so little. It's so easy to put ourselves first and give others the leftovers. I do it all the time even though I'm convicted to do otherwise.

    1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19 — “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. ... Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

  3. Thank you for this posting. Because of the Compassion bar on the side ,and because our dear youngest son and his new wife have 4 Compassion children,my husband and I adopted our first named Fandi, he is hearing and speech impaired. We are very excited , and found it hard to leave the other 4 mentally /physically handicapped children still waiting a sponsor.I say we adopted, or sponsored, whichever works.I like to think of him being our son . we have 3 children, all grown now. I want to be sensitive to whatever the Lord has for us in this new stage of life. We have so much, we need nothing else. I dream often about enlarging our home, so we can handle our whole family being together.But, as I was thinking of this, I realized that would just mean my dear husband would have to work more to do this, and that is not worth it.To be content with where God has placed me, is my true desire.Thank you for sharing your heart so truthfully. I stumbled upon your blog several months back, and it has become one I really look forward to reading. We have attended a Mennonite church for 22 years, we are not members, but treated as we are. So we have a few things in common. Blessings to you dear friend... Dawn E. Brown

    1. Dawn, I'm one of Jane's readers too. I've been reading for about 2 years now. And, it's always a great place to find encouragement and challenge.

      I went to your profile page & saw that you had started a blog about living in the Finger Lakes (but it doesn't appear that you have any posts yet). I would be so fascinated to hear more about life in the Finger Lakes region. The last 2 summers my husband and I have vacationed there (once for my 40th birthday & once for our 10 year anniversary). We have actually considered moving there. The prices there for land are phenomenal & it's so beautiful and peaceful. Are you born & raised there or have you moved there from elsewhere? I'd love to hear more.

    2. Karen,
      I commented on your blog instead of here. Dawn E. Brown

  4. Dreaming over houses is what gets me too. I have been known to spend so much time searching real estate and auction sites to find my 'dream home'. And, I have to be very careful and stop myself because I find myself thinking along the lines of...'If only we had a bigger house, more land, more privacy, a beautiful kitchen, a proper mudroom, etc. etc., THEN I'd be happy.'

    But, God continues to do a work in my heart, teaching me to be content and embrace happiness right where I am. I would still love to have all those things I mentioned (and sometimes I think I'm excused from being materialistic because it's not NEW stuff I's an old house with character, outdoor space to embrace God's creation, etc. but I know I'm kidding myself). And, I do struggle with when is it ok to 'dream' & when does it become a problem? You helped put some perspective on it.

  5. How do you know that this obsession isn't really what God has in mind for you? He might have a plan for you & that property that you don't know about yet.

    I was once obsessed with a guy at work. I couldn't figure out why, since I'm very happily married. I prayed and prayed about this. I avoided him, but I was still obsessed. I finally decided I should become friends with him, as if he was my next husband, I should at least find out if we were compatible. 4 months later I found out why God had me obsess over him. He was contemplating suicide, and my friendship was the 1 thing that stopped him. I no longer obsess about him, he is my friend, but I see it as God's way of guiding me to help out someone else.

  6. My view is having rental property is a Very Good Thing for many reasons. Some of those reasons... it helps me with taxes which allows me to help others; it allows people to have a home who, for whatever reason, can't or don't want to own; it allows me to make money so I can give more money for the work of God's Kingdom. I'm being a good steward and there are many, many ways of assisting and investing in God's Kingdom in addition to giving to Compassion.
    Please don't allow me to miss-communicate... Compassion is an excellent ministry but so are the ministries I give to...for example, a girl I taught in Sunday School, more than a decade and half ago, is now serving, with her husband and four children, as missionaries in India. They are serving in God's Kingdom by saving girls from temple prostitution.
    Building up treasures or being a good steward; you say tomato, I say to speak.
    Anyway, what does "living simply" really mean? I'm sure it means different things to different people because we are ALL at a different place in the journey.

  7. I've been obsessing about buying some property too but its the lot across the alley were my neighbor has let me have my garden the last 6 years. He sadly had to go to the nursing home and will be unable to come back home. The house is more than a mess and will have to be tore down but to actually own the garden spot will be awesome. I've been stressed out about loosing it and being unable to grow veggies for my family. Its not a fancy new home but that garden is one of my favorite places.

  8. My comment appears to have been deleted by my silly computer, so please forgive me if it shows up twice! Thank you for this post. It spoke to me regarding a few things I have been mulling over and asking the Lord to give me His perspective on. I appreciate your sharing your own experience in this area- I found it to be a great encouragement. I'm gonna write out and post this verse! Thank you for that! Oh, and I love your blog!

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I've been guilty of dreaming a similar dream....for years. There have been times when, like you, I have become obsessed with the idea, even to the point of trying to talk my husband into picking up our family and moving to a place that would probably have us out of GOD's will. Kind of frightening, huh? This year I decided to make one of my top goals contentment. I Timothy 6:6,7 are the verses GOD has been using to help me. It's amazing how different I view my home when I focus on being content. There is peace where before it was frustration. And knowing that GOD has me right where I need to be is very comforting. Your blog is a great encouragement to everyone to use the abundance of things GOD has blessed us with to benefit others. And, contentment is something that allows us the joy of being able to do just that. Thank you for sharing.


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