Contentment

“Whenever I go on a trip, I think about all the homes I’ve had & I remember how little has changed about what comforts me.”             –Brian Andreas

Once again, I have found a quote by someone I’ve never heard of, that exactly fits what I need to hear right now.  God works his magic in many ways!  I’ve had “house-buying fever” for a few weeks now.  This is about the fourth or fifth time in the last couple of years that I have gone through a phase of wanting to buy a house so badly.  If you know me, I’m sure you know there are many mixed feelings along with this desire.  I think my sister Sarah pointed out the most obvious one this afternoon–I just don’t like living alone!  Getting a dog didn’t fix that, buying a house certainly won’t.  Then, I’ll just be living alone in more rooms, with more responsibility.  The fact is, God has put me in this situation, right now, for some reason.  Even if I never know what that reason is, I want to trust that God knows what is best and what I need.

And then I found that lovely quote.  How true.  Whenever I move to a new apartment/dorm/house, the first things I do reveal the things that comfort me about home.  I make my bed with clean sheets.  I arrange the kitchen stuff.  I put up at least a couple pictures.  I hang curtains.  These few things make it feel a little like home, no matter how uncomfortable I am. 

And as the author of the quote, when I think about the homes I’ve lived in over the years, the same things make me feel “at home,” no matter what the location is.  Clean sheets.  Towels, sheets, blankets dried on the clothesline.  Clean, vaccuumed floors.  Lots of fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge.  Open windows, if it’s warm enough.  Open curtains, at least.  Homemade bread.  Homemade soup.  Homemade quilts. 

I am my mother’s daughter, after all!  🙂  More on that in a later post.

The point is, being content with where I live has nothing to do with where I live.  Yes, I have seen the light that renting is basically throwing my money away.  But also, no it’s not!  For one thing, at this time I can’t afford any sort of house that wouldn’t be a fixer-upper.  I have no opposition to fixer-uppers, but I also can’t afford to fix it up!  And I believe it would be in my best interest to wait for that sort of project until I have a “buddy” (aka, “husband”) to share the responsibility. 

Another reason I believe that renting is just fine is something that I ran across today.  My apartment has a much lower impact on the earth than a whole house would.  It uses less energy to heat, for example, and less electricity to light.  I realize that notion is a bit hypocritical, in light of the fact that I drive 20 miles each way to work, and other non-earth-friendly things I do.  But every little bit…

The thing that pushed me over the edge to really convict me of being too materialistic?  I ran across the blog of a woman who, with her husband and her three-year-old daughter, moved into a 382-square-foot apartment.  BY CHOICE.  They wanted a smaller, simpler lifestyle, and they love it!  (In case you don’t have a frame of reference, my current, one bedroom/one bathroom, apartment is about 724 square feet!)  She posted lots of pictures of the different nooks and crannies, and I can’t believe how joyous and peaceful…and functional!…her home looks.  I can’t believe how her comments make it so obvious that this is exactly what she needed in her life.  I wish I had seen something like this when I wanted to move out of my old, 550-square-foot one bedroom!  🙂  My apartment feels big and empty, now.  (Tara, Chad, Sarah, Mom, the rest of the family, don’t worry!  I’m not going to ask you all to come and move me back into the little apartment this summer!!!)

I am inspired to make peace with the “wants” in my life, and decide if they’re really worth it.  The car wasn’t worth it…who’s to say that draining and stressing my budget for a house would be worth it?  I’m praying for patience to wait until it’s REALLY the right time for me to buy a house, whether I’m single or married when that time comes.  I’m also praying for peace and contentment with the “stuff” of my life, here and now. 

“I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

Philippians 4:12 (The Message)

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