Less Is More

After we made the decision to move to Haiti we realized very quickly that our current lifestyle would need to change. Brian and I have both made several trips to Haiti; both being impacted and humbled by our experiences and what little was needed to survive. We became very aware of how distracted we were and self-focused we have been.  For me personally, I have always gotten what I wanted and rarely had to go without. Even if my mom said no, I found ways to get my way. Destructive I know, but it brought short-term pleasure and a {false} sense of control. A lifestyle centered on how to get my way created bad habits hard to break and very self-absorbed thinking. There is no joy or contentment in the lust for more, however I believed the Lord was working these things out in me over the past 12 years of knowing Him.  I have quickly learned on this  journey to Haiti:  He has been faithful to do His part, but I was unfaithful to do mine. We have made very few sacrifices in our life; since my mindset has been centered on consumption.  I was seeing very little freedom from stuff and worldly pleasure in my life….which also lead to fearing what others thought of me.

In an effort to chip away at our habits and mindsets; November of 2013 we moved down to our basement and rented out the top portion of our home. We did this for several reasons: to knock out debt, work on changing our lifestyle as well as our relationships with one another (our children are 5, 6 and 7).  Although most of our debt was from student loans, regardless, going debt free to the mission field was a non-negiotable.  Giving up the first level of our house was the beginning of making uncomfortable sacrifices; something we needed to be comfortable with. Moving from 4 bedrooms to 1 was definitely a stretch, but it was the best thing that ever happened to our family.

As I sit and reflect on the transition from a large space to a smaller one and how it impacted us….it is a change we desperately needed. We found that the more space we had upstairs the less time we spent together, making it difficult to cultivate relationships with one another.  I was more consumed with myself and the kitchen. It was difficult for me to manage my home when the kids were on one end of the house and I was on the other.  The basement only had a wet bar, so we had to create a make-shift kitchen. I realized I did not need all I had before and it just consumed my time and energy anyway. I spent less time cooking/cleaning and managing our s-t-u-f-f. 

Upstairs kitchen:

Downstairs kitchen:

We spent more quality time together. Since we were all in the same small space we had to deal with things as they came up. We found that our children’s behavior greatly improved and I was less frazzled when their behavior was out-of-line.  We could not check out as easy when we had less space.

An amazing thing happened….because each of our sin was exposed, we saw how much our poor choices negatively impacted everyone else. We could either ignore character defects (the easy way) or deal with them….immediately and effectively (the narrow road).   We chose to deal with things instead of checking out.  My kids felt more loved and cared for and I could tell.   I began to like who I was as a mom. My husband and I became closer and we had to learn how to work together in our parenting. I flew off the handle less and allowed the love of the Lord to change me. Letting Him love me….has brought freedom from stuff, freed me of condemnation, and is changing how I view myself.

I am confessing my sin of self-absorption; always wanting more and always trying to get my way (a.k.a: CONTROL)  This didn’t just manifest in material things….it showed up in life situations and relationships. Confession brings true freedom and authentic joy.  Confession means I am am choosing to agree with God on what He sees in me and partnering with Him to make changes in my character.  It frees me and creates a lifestyle of humility and need. “His strength is made perfect in my weakness” It is no secret we are weak. Trying to use worldly things/possessions to cure me of my weakness only makes things worse and perpetuates authentically getting well.

Through our journey to Haiti the Lord has overwhelmed me with his love in awakening me to the dark valley of my heart; while allowing me to experience the comfort of his rod and staff. His light shines in the darkness of Nations, Cities and our own hearts. How beautifully intimate and comforting that He doesn’t run from the truth of what He sees, but actually provides a solution for it? That is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  "Let any one of you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)