Thursday, July 22, 2010

Be Content...

"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.  WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?"  Hebrews 13:5,6

Do you ever find yourself longing for more?  More of something material?  More money, more home, more furniture, more clothing, more cars, shoes, purses, jewelry, appliances, etc... 

I think it's easy in this world, where we are surrounded with advertisement.  Prosperity, in the tangible sense, is lifted up as "necessary". 

We pop over to a neighbors house and find ourselves admiring their "things".  I don't believe there is much wrong with that.  We pay compliment to others when we admire their taste, and the care they take in putting together their homes.  It is appreciated.  However, it's when we take that a step further that it becomes a dangerous poison ~ Envy.

"If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another."  Galations 5:25,26

I don't know about you, but I grew up having "less than".  The funny thing is, I didn't know it.  I can see it now, as I look back, especially when I look at old photos.  I understand finances now, I've been a parent, bought clothes and all the extras that come with raising a child.  When I look back now, I can see the things we "lacked", but I never knew we lacked them. 

I grew up in large family (6 kids), supported by an Air Force Dad.  Dad also worked part time at the Base Movie Theater, as a Janitor, to help supplement our income.  Mom stayed home and cared for the needs of our house and us kids, occassionally she worked part time jobs at Sears, or the Base Thrift Store, especially around Christmas.

We always shared a room, and would never have thought that it should be different.  We were family, we didn't always get along, but that's just the way "families" lived, they shared space.  It was normal. 

When I hear people complain that their homes are too small for their growing families, I groan inside. 
I think children need to learn that having their own space isn't what life is about.  I believe our society caters FAR too much to that selfish desire.  We were 8 people in a 4 bedroom house most of the time, but there were times when the 4 of us girls all shared ONE room.  Two sets of bunkbeds can do wonders!
My husband is from a family of 9.  The house his mother still lives in is the house they lived in when he was born.  A small 3 bedroom home.  Then his grandmother moved in.  Did they quarrell and fight? Yes.  Did they survive?  Yes.  Did they learn to share space?  Yes.

We wore hand-me downs, there was no shame in this; it's what "families did".  When I hear families complain that they can't afford clothing for their kids, I groan again.  Two words ~ Thrift Stores.  They cannot cover all your needs, but they CAN help alleviate the costs.  Kids need to learn that not EVERYTHING needs to be new!  Nor does it need to be the latest fashion.

We got hand-me down bikes, and hand-me down toys.  And sometimes "new" stuff of our own from the Thrift Store....each year a really new "Barbie" from the "real" store.

We had mix-match furniture that was soft and cushy, thrift store curtains, and curb-picker throw rugs.  But I NEVER thought we lacked.  Never.  I thought we had a beautiful home.  Purchasing used items has forced me to learn new things.  I have learned how to refinish, repaint, cover, staple, sew, glue, sand, name it!  It is a good learning experience and saves money.  Did you know most towns even have places where you can get left over paint for free???  If you need just a bit for a chair or table, you can usually find what you need.

My parents never owned a home, we always rented, and we always moved.  There were many times that we didn't have our own washer and dryer.  My sister and I, as young teens, walked 3 city blocks balancing our laundry baskets on the seats of our bikes to the laundry mat.  Somedays we washed our clothes in the tub with a big thick stick to stir it around!  No, we didn't feel great about this, and we were often feared that someone "we knew" would see us.  However, whenever I hear myself complain about stepping into my hot garage to do laundry, I am filled with shame, then renewed with joy.  I am blessed...for EVERYTHING that I have, and even for some things I do not have.

I am saying this not so you can feel sad for the childhood I had, don't go away with that.  The point is, I didn't know I had 'less than'.  I believe my childhood has helped me to be content.  I'm no saint, I do complain about things, I do feel "wants", I do look at new things and wonder what they'd be like in my home.  But those feelings usually pass.  The title of my blog is Blessed Beyond Imagination,...because I AM! 

If you desire changes in your home, move things around, paint something!  You'd be surprised what a difference that can make, and it all feels new!

Be careful, though, when you desire something.  Pray about it, be sure that you are not trying to fill some other need with material things.  Perhaps there is an emptiness in your soul, and you are trying to fill it up with something tangible.  When what you need is to fill it with Jesus.  Take the time to sit with Him, talk to Him, tell Him your desires, your wants your needs, then ask Him to bring you contentedness.  Allow Him to take all those things from you and FILL YOU with the desires He has for you!  He will make those tangible things seem so meaningless, they will fade away.

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:11-13
Have a beautiful, Jesus filled day!

Come back next week for "Christmas in July" week ~ we're gonna make crafts!!! :)


  1.'s Jeanine over at peaceFULLYsimple. What a great post. We just went through an "experience" that had us moving out of a larger home to a smaller home. What seemed like devastation early on has become a HUGE blessing in disguise. We love having "less." Just yesterday the kids and I, along with my mother-in-law were driving through a very old part of Minneapolis where there are gigantic old homes. HUGE! Beyond anything I could ever imagine. As we were "oohing" and "ahhing" over these massive homes, my six-year old daughter chimes in from the back seat and said, "Bigger is NOT better!" Oh how happy it made me to know that she's getting the message that my husband and I learned the hard way.
    Thanks for such a great reminder that "less is more."
    Peace and blessings to your day.

  2. This is a beautiful post that just shares a precious and content heart! While I didn't have a big family we still didn't have alot but I never knew it either.
    I am amazed @ what people think they "NEED" but are really just "wants"

    Learning to discern that is such a gift !! Awesome post Kathy!

    Love you

  3. What a wonderful post!! I grew up with a big family and my grandparents lived with us, we did the 2 sets of bunk beds too. We didn't have a lot either and like you I didn't realize it until I was grown.

    As an adult, up until 3 years ago, we had 5 kids and lived in a very small three bedroom house, we learned to share everything. Now we live in a larger house and really miss the little one. We all agree that all we need is a large kitchen and a couple of bedrooms because we all stay in the same room most of the time anyway and we LOVE that!!

    You are right, so many want for what they don't have and try to fill gaps in their lives with material things when we all just need to fill those holes with JESUS!!

    Truly a beautiful post and so my heart!!

    Love you

  4. Thank you so sharing this! It is easy to start feeling discontent when you look at all the commercials, ads, and what your neighbor has. That is why we watch hardly any tv (we have very basic cable) and the only magazines that we are subscribed to are : me - The Old Schoolhouse, Taste of Home; ds - Lego; and dh - golf and hunting magazines. I love thrift stores!! :D Thank you for sharing this!

  5. I really enjoyed learning about your childhood! Mine was similar too. I am trying to raise my 21 month old with the same principals. I'm going to see how many years I can go before she learns what a "toy store" is. God has been an awesome provider for us and the love far outweights the "stuff" anyway, as it should be.
    :) Carrie