Monday, May 24, 2010

Downsizing. :)

I have a slight disdain for the conventional American lifestyle.  I heard a statistic in church years ago that said  by simply living in America, you are richer than 80% of the world's population.  I thought on that for weeks.  And I'll admit that I was a spoiled brat and didn't even realize it.  I think we all are, even if it's just a little bit.

Have you ever skipped a meal because you didn't like what was being served?  Imagine waiting all day in line for a bowl of rice.

Have you ever run through the snow in your bare feet to get the mail or morning paper?  Imagine not having any shoes.

What about running the TV simply for noise?  Ever thought about those who've never had electricity?

How about standing in a hot shower or bath, simply to relax after a stressful day.  Can you imagine NEVER having used indoor plumbing?

Can you?  Can you really imagine what that lifestyle would be like?  Do you ever stop and thank God for the lifestyle you were born into?  Even if you never had a tv, or fancy clothes, or gourmet meals.  You were fed every day, I assume.  Always clothed appropriately.  Probably had a warm, clean bed to sleep in.

I know that my opinions and choices are not for everyone.  I don't expect them to be.  You are you, and God made me to be me.  And these things weigh very heavy on me.

I remember when I got married, and I casually mentioned to a close family member that we weren't going to get cable.  He was shocked at the thought of an American not having a TV, and could not understand why I would give up such a standard item.  At the time, it was a money issue.  But the lack of it helped me to realize how unnecessary it was to my life.

Tonight I had an epiphany while trying to get my kids to clean up the family room.  They have so many toys! By the time we were done cleaning it all up, we had lost a half hour of our time and I was in a grumpy mood.  I would much rather have spent that time doing something else.  I spent the entire day today going through all of the boxes from Phil's house, and I can't begin to tell you how much stuff I didn't want to get rid of, but had completely forgotten I owned!!  I don't need any of it.  And i hate the space it takes up.

So I have decided to downsize.  I am getting rid of almost all of our toys.  My kids consistently play with the same few toys, so I'm giving away the rest.  I'm also getting rid of our TVs.  Yes, we have several.  And I have been getting more and more uncomfortable with the direction television is going.  I caught an episode of a Disney cartoon that showed a classroom full of children singing, "Evil!  Evil!  We want evil!!!"  Are you KIDDING me?????  I'm done.  I don't have the time or desire to watch everything my kids might see, and if I can't even trust the Disney channel to be safe, I can't trust anything. 

This is going to be a little difficult for me considering that I live in my parents house.  I can't exactly tell them that their TV's and DVR's have to go.  And I am fairly confident that I will get some opinions that say I am "sheltering" and "depriving" my children, when the word gets out about our downsizing.  But if these things are uneccessary, why do we need them?  If they distract us from the goal, why should we hold on to them?  My most important job as a parent is to teach my children to live a holy lifestyle, to consume the Bible from a very young age, and to set aside time every day for prayer and communion with Holy Spirit.  Not to learn Spanish from Dora the Explorer.

I want to tell you about a neighbor I once had.  She had a profound effect on me, and she probably never even knew it!  We lived in a second story apartment, and she lived in the apartment directly below us, with her 3 children.  She was a woman of God and I loved talking with her in passing.  One day, we were invited into her home.  The first thing I noticed upon entering was that she had no furniture!!  There were two bar stools at the kitchen counter, and an old rocking chair in a corner.  No couches, no TV.  They didn't even have a kitchen table.  I was in shock.

But then she walked me over to her dining room wall.  It was covered from floor to ceiling with scripture verses that she would write on paper and tape to the wall, and she and her children would read them over when life got too hard.

I thought on that for months. 

She had no distractions.  Maybe it was a little extreme, and probably due to financial circumstances she was in, but what a wake up call i received when i walked back up to my own apartment that night!!  I want that simplicity in my life!!  I don't want all the junk, all the distractions.  I want my time spent doing something useful, like learning scripture or telling my kids a Bible story.  Or having heart to heart with God because the kids are sleeping and I have finished my housework for the day.

Can you imagine how your life would change if you spent even one evening per week talking with God instead of sitting in front of the television??

It's not going to be easy.  This life is pretty comfortable, and when I'm tired, I love sitting in front of the tube watching my shows on the DVR.  And a part of me is afraid that I really will need the extra Christmas decorations if I get rid of them.  Or the sweatshirt I haven't worn in two years.  Or even the cd's I still have from high school.  It's my stuff, and I want to keep it.

But it's crowding my life.  I want to empty it all out so the important things takes center stage.

Like my neighbor and her Bible verses.



  1. Ok, I'm not TOTALLY where you are, but I will agree with the TV. We haven't had it in 3 months because of finances, and I told Greg I don't want to get it again. We really would sit in front of it all evening and not do anything. It's terrible!
    And who knows, maybe when I finally get to unpack all my stuff thats been in boxes for 4.5 years, I'll realize I don't need it since I've lived without it for 4.5 years! :)

  2. We don't have TV either. Though I do have a few shows that I watch online. I am trying to be better about that though. A few months back I was convicted that I needed to stop watching Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, and Brother's and Sister's. So I have cut those bad shows out for obvious reasons but somehow a few shows came along to take their place :( Not as bad as those 4 but still doing nothing to edify me. Hopefully I will get better now that the seasons are ending and I wont go back to them once they start up again in the Fall!

  3. Way to go Keri!! Those shows are so addicting, but there is so much content that we shouldn't be watching. I hate when I see so many women from my church, that I look up to spiritually, commenting on facebook about those same shows. Especially Grey's. The storyline hit too close to home awhile back and I had to say no. Good for you. :)