Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Change of Location, Change of Perspective

Have you ever had times when you realized that the way you used to think about something has changed, and now you think differently about that something than you did before?

After recently moving and settling in pretty quickly, I have noticed some changes in my thinking about living situations.  Let me explain.

Five years ago we bought a little 1/1 condo that we thought was wonderful.  It was part of a condo conversion neighborhood, and it had all been redone on the inside.  We had been renting, and the excitement of buying ran through our blood.  We didn't have children, but we did want to have them in the future.  We thought perhaps we could keep this place, rent it out, pay it off, and use it for ministry - like for a place to stay when missionaries came in or something.  Yes, we had high hopes for this little 790 square feet beauty.

When our first child came along about a year and a half later, we didn't have a problem making room for baby and being creative with our space (or lack thereof).  "Besides," we thought, "people all over the world live in smaller spaces than this with more children.  We can do this."  We really didn't have a choice anyway because the market had already crashed, and at that point there was no reasonable way out.  We were content, though, really we were.

Time passed and child number two came along.  Again, unfazed, we continued to be creative (I love creative challenges!), and we made it work quite well.  We were blessed with ideas and with the means to create a place that did not feel as small as it actually was.  I have mentioned before that I made the bedroom the room for the children, and my husband and I slept on an upgraded pull out couch that eventually got swapped for a bed that I made look like a couch.

Still we maintained the "people around the world live with a lot less" mentality.  We were still content. 

However over time the contentedness became what I've heard called a "holy discontent."  In other words, the Lord was changing our hearts to prepare us to move on.  For months I had struggled with the fact that we would have to sell our home in order to move into something that fit us better and would be closer to where my husband works and much more budget friendly.  Then the Lord gave me a release in my heart.  I was ready to let it go.

After moving to our 1640 square foot home and seeing how much happier we all seemed - I didn't think we were unhappy before, but we were getting restless in that small home - I realized something.  Just because "people around the world live with a lot less" doesn't mean that they don't need more.  Just because people are living seventeen people to a small room and getting by doesn't mean that they wouldn't do much better with more space.  In fact, I now believe that they do indeed need more space and would thrive much better with a little more of it.  I am not talking about space to fill with more stuff, nor do I think that adopting a more materialistic approach to life that craves more and bigger would benefit them.  I just mean that I think we all just need some space sometimes.  We need to have room to breathe and be ourselves and run around a bit.

Also it doesn't make me an ungrateful American if I decide that when it comes to a home, living a bit more of a normal American life is better for our family.  We are pretty counter-cultural in a lot of other ways, anyway.  It doesn't make me less in touch with the rest of the world.  God gives us the grace to live here in America just as He gives my brothers and sisters who follow Him in other nations the grace to live where He has placed them.  It is okay.

We needed this space, and it is obvious to me now that I also needed some shifting in my thinking.  I am thankful to have received both.  He is so kind and gracious.

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