Not too long ago, I wrote a post on why I stopped hustling, and why I wish I’d done it sooner. That was a really raw post about my emotions of how I got to a place where I decided I was ready to be done, to give it all up, and walk away.
As an individual, I made intentional choices to let a lot of things go and have a Year of Rest instead. As a team, we made some really big changes to help me take a step back and create more breathing room for myself.
It’s almost July and I’ve learned so much this year that has changed me in many ways. Just a few weeks into 2016, I started to realize that I had become very addicted to being busy. This was a powerful realization.
Just a few months in, I also was acutely aware of the fact that so much of my worth was wrapped up in my work. I felt valued and validated by how much I did, how many people I impacted, and how productive I was.
I recently finished reading A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough and it challenged me to really consider the concept of ENOUGH. I think our culture often encourages the lie that more is always better.
More money. More influence. More impact. More fame. More stuff. More friends. More. More. More. More.
While there can be good things with some of those “more’s”, it’s time we stop spending our life chasing after more and really stop and ask ourselves, “When is enough, enough?”
I’ve been asking myself the following questions:
- Am I only feeling contentment when I’m doing a lot?
- Is my joy and fulfillment coming from when I am having the biggest impact?
- What does enough look like for me?
- Would I be settled right where I’m at with what I have?
- Would I be content if I knew that where I am right now will never change?
These questions can apply to so many different areas and situations in our lives. For me, I instantly thought of two areas:
1) The Number of Children We Have
I have three wonderful kids. Which I’m so very grateful for. But I always thought we’d have a big family (Both my husband and I grew up in big families and we always wanted a big family ourselves). Instead, God gave us 3 kids… and my baby just turned 7!
I’ll be honest, there are times when I see other people announcing their pregnancy or I see little babies, I feel that pang in my heart. I’ve decided, though, that I can either focus on what I don’t have or I can rejoice in the children I do have. Because so many, many people would love to have three kids!
We are so blessed. I want to pour myself into exactly where I am and be the best mother I can be to the three kids God has given me instead of spending time wishing I had something I didn’t have.
2) The House We Live In
We are committed to staying out of debt and are saving to pay cash for a house here in TN. However, because of the housing prices here, it will likely be at least another 18 months to 2 years (or more!) before we have enough saved up to pay 100% down on a house.
In the meantime, we’re back to renting again — something we did for the first 8 years of our marriage. The house we’re in is less than ideal in many ways… including the fact that all three kids are in one bedroom right now because this is the best arrangement we could come up with here.
Some people would say we are terrible parents for living in a house where they all have to share a room and don’t have a lot of their “own space”. But here’s the truth: Our kids were little when we made a LOT of financial and personal sacrifices to get to the place where we are now. They don’t remember those days.
We now have a lot more wiggle room in our budget and they get to enjoy things we never imagined we’d be able to afford for them — like swim team and figure skating and even an international trip to South Africa last year. However, we don’t want them to grow up thinking that everything will be handed to them. We want them to experience short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits.
So we’ve chosen to continue to rent a house that has less than ideal sleeping arrangements (along with a long list of other “less than ideal” things) because it allows us to be able to save aggressively and give generously.
We’re learning contentment in the house that we’re in and being grateful for the many things about it that we love — like the wonderful neighbors, a beautiful kitchen, and a great backyard. Our hope is that these lessons in contentment will be something our kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives — no matter where they live.
I’ve been asking myself: If we weren’t ever able to buy a house with more bedrooms or had to downsize even more, would I be content?
How Can I Do Less Chasing and More Embracing?
Maybe for you, it’s your income level. Maybe you are struggling with where you are living or going to church. Maybe you wish you had a better job, different friends, better health, a spouse… the list could go on and on.
Whatever those things are that you really wish you could have, I challenge you to ask yourself, “Would I be content if I knew that where I am right now will never change?”
What does embracing enough look like for you? I’m not saying you shouldn’t work on improving your situation or set goals or build character or apply for jobs or whatever it is that would help you get closer to your goals and hopes and dreams.
However, I also want to challenge you to consider if you’re just chasing after more instead of embracing right where you are. If you’re spending your days pining for more and better instead of wholeheartedly loving the life you already have.
For me, I’m throwing my energy into loving and nurturing the beautiful children God has given me. I want to disciple them, encourage them, walk with them, and be present with them. In addition, I’m seeking to embrace the home we have and make it as welcoming for my family. I don’t have to have a bigger house or a better layout in order to make this home I currently have a haven of rest.
Let’s stop spending our time and our days chasing after more and instead start embracing the here and now — right where we are!