A lovely friend of mine made this statement as she was considering how she was much happier when she was living on a farm, taking care of the house, the kids, AND the land.
It’s very interesting to me… seems like I’m not really living while I’m trying to make a living!
The religious thing to say here would be “The woman is the nurturer and the caretaker of the home. So of course you would be happier!” [You kinda have to say that with a benevolent, sticky sweet smile and pat somebody on the shoulder while I, personally, THROW UP!] I believe that is a weak answer to a much deeper issue that includes both the man and the woman as equally responsible for their home.
Culture has defined success/happiness for us and a three bedroom/two bath home, insurance/phone/cable/internet bills, multiple vehicles plus some big toys, big money given to big churches [whether that church looks like a cathedral or a football stadium], fifty hour a week jobs, and kids with too many commitments [football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, dance, gymnastics, debate team, choir, business club, robotics club, you name it]. All of this requires funding, time invested, mental and physical energy…and rarely is it rooted in creation and/or relationship. Each commitment caries a burden, a weight, either of debt or effort, and both men and women find the burden unbearable at times.
As if that burden were not enough, some have the added weight of health issues, mental illness, grief, loved ones lost in the dark, abuse…real stresses and real truly difficult circumstances. Even the process of writing these things down brings a heaviness along with it. People who walk through life carrying these loads deserve respect!
For those of us who believed the cultural definition of happiness and went after it? Well, maybe some are happy conforming to the box designed for them, but most often I see sadness in the eyes of both men and women who have given their lives to the pursuit of happiness only to find that culture lied to them. I was miserable…sometimes without even knowing what was weighing me down.
There is so much that I would love to say, but the thing that has given me peace…finally? We took a hard look at what we owned, what it cost to own it, and what we could do without. What did we really want out of life and WHO did we want to live for. I want to travel…mountains…wherever I can find them. I want to see what only God is capable of…carving stone and ice with wind! I still want to be free of the constant weight of debt, bills, and of being chained to a desk for the sake of money. Ron wants to study…and study…and study. ? We both want to help people understand what the Word actually says, not what our traditions or our culture attempts to cage us with.
For us, it meant that we sold our 3 bd/2 bath house and bought an older RV. We will save for an incredibly small house and buy a small piece of land where the property tax is low. We paid off every debt we could get our hands on and are fighting to keep out of debt…an everyday, conscious choice. We are HAPPY!!!
For your family, I don’t know. Maybe sit down with your family and talk about what really matters…not just to you, but to the young ones. Analyze everything you own…bills you pay…assets you can sell or trade for something more important…things you spend money on that can be shifted to a more efficient purpose. Young people can come up with brilliant ideas! Make some tough choices? Look at it all as a tool to get to the place YOU want to be vs. where culture would have you be stuck. That one word…stuck. It is the opposite of freedom. It is the hinderance to play. It is the killer of movement. And it is SO easy to get stuck!
If you want unstuck, the Father of Unstuck can work miracles! It may be painful as you are yanked from the mud. You may feel dirty and distasteful to the culture He is freeing you from. It may seem like it is an utterly hopeless, crazy dream just before the slurpy, squishy sound of you popping out of the mud…and then you’re FREE!!! God can give you the desire of your heart …freedom …happiness …meaning.
I think this is why I search for mud. I drive down a rugged, dusty road looking for beauty and when I see mud? I hit the gas and plough right through it! The mud goes flying to either side and I don’t even care if I get splattered because I know that the mud will NEVER drag me back in again!