Not So Tiny Life
It has been a long time since I talked about “going tiny”. I would still very much love to convert a school bus and strike out in adventure across the country, blogging about our experience and ultimately writing a book about the whole thing. I just do not believe that is the direction God is pulling me.
Probably Not The Best Fit
Let’s check some things off before I dive into the meat of things. Yes I like small, well-organized, clean environments; however, the tiny house is too small. I keep thinking about the 84 Lumber homes we looked at a few months back. I loved one of them, but having company would be a chore. Large meals, hosting groups of people would be relegated to the warm months. (Then there is explaining a composting toilet.) I like to entertain and cook for people. The tiny house does not meet this need for me. The skoolie is adaptable. The gatherings would need to be small and intimate, unless we were hosting in the outdoors. Then there is the location thing. I love the vibe in campground. Camping people are just unique. They tend to be friendly and relaxed. I am just not sure I want to live in a campground permanently. Then there are the “what-if’s”. If my family visits I have room for them to spend the night. If my children come upon hard times and need a place to stay…I have room.
Our purpose in looking at tiny living was to reduce costs. Get out of debt faster and maybe retire before we started collecting social security. There are savings to be had, but in our current situation, it would cost us almost as much to live Tiny or Skoolie as it does to live conventionally. Our “home” payment would disappear faster, but the cost with a repair to a school bus can be outrageous. For us, at least right now, the cons outweigh the pros. Confession…it makes me a little sad.
When we first began thinking about living in a tiny house or skoolie, our lives were much smaller. We were not plugged into a church. We were not social with much of anyone, except family. We worked, or went to school, came home, had dinner, watched TV and slept. Yes, it is as sad as it sounds.
Our life…my life is bigger now. Since starting to attend my church, Centerbranch, God has blessed me with opportunity after opportunity to serve. It started with pitching in a little help here and there…now my husband and I coordinate food (or at least cooking it and serving it). We are spending time together in service, which is a bonus. I am leading a connect group and my husband is talking about hosting one of the men’s groups in the future. (you can’t see me, but I am wearing my shock and awe face.) I serve with the youth. It sounds like a lot, right. It’s not. I look forward to each of these opportunities and embrace the chance to grow.
These avenues of leadership make me contemplate the example I set. I am pretty much the same person at church as I am at work or home. I have never been good at hiding myself. I think most of us probably have our best foot forward when we are at church, but what you see is pretty much what you get…just not as polished. Any form of leadership…even a small role, puts you in a position to influence another. Even without a leadership role each of us have circles of influence that we impact daily. What message are we sending?
The Message, Not The Messenger
I am no one special. I am just like you. Flesh and blood. Body, mind and spirit. My wit, sarcasm and silliness may set me apart. I have gifts for writing, service and music. I am no better or worse than anyone who will read this blog. We all have a great potential that God has put in us, we just have to utilize it. Our gifts are different, but no less or more valuable.
I have started paying closer attention to the things I laugh at. Closer attention to the things I share on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. I am considering how I spend my time. I am re-evaluating the movies in my DVD/Bu-ray collection and the music I own. What message is it sending? Not just to others, what message is it sending to me? I believe this focus is coming from the Holy Spirit. I asked for my heart and life to be searched for things not pleasing to God. What I received was this awareness of everything I am putting out into the world. So what do I do with these observations?
I make changes. I speak life and faith into every aspect of my life. Some days this is easier than others. I am weighing out the things that are important for me to instill in others. Here are a few things I have come up with:
- Be realistically positive. We can walk in faith while addressing the problems we face. God works through us, so we have to be moving and making effort. Do not bounce around saying everything is OK, when the world is crashing in. Address the issue and be positive that God loves you and can handle even the worst storm in your life.
- Saying you have faith, being polite are not enough to show others how good God is. Part of faith without works being dead, in my opinion, directs us to live out our faith. To be doers of the Word…not just readers. An outreach Sunday School teacher from my childhood used to say, “I can’t hear a word you are saying but I can read your life like a book.” When people read our lives, they should see God and our faith without us trying to shove anything down their throats. In other words…our faith is fulltime, not just on Sundays or in crisis.
- Get over race, creed, color, disabilities, social status…etc. Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. There are no qualifiers to that statement. It does not say love your neighbor as long as they are ______. Jesus did not discriminate. He even loved the sinner. He grieved for the lost. He accepts each of us, any of us that turn to Him and accept Him as Savior.
- Stop quoting the bible in chicken nugget form. All these scriptures we love about being able to do anything with God, usually have a trailing verse that says according to God’s will or something about God working through us. If you are praying for a job, it is not going to fall from the sky into your lap…you have to look for it and apply for it. If you want your finances to improve, stop buying stuff you do not need and save. If you are asking for healing, stop telling everyone you suffer with ___ and walk in faith that your healing is coming.
- Put the material aside. Evaluate what you have…do you really need it? Could someone else be blessed by the things cluttering your home? It’s just stuff and most of us have too much of it.
- Rejoice in your salvation. (Make sure people can see that you are rejoicing. Don’t be a vinegar faced Christian)
- Love God. Love your neighbor, co-worker, boss, peers, church family and yes your enemies.
These are things I want to see in me. Some of them I have done for a very long time, others I still have a way to go to achieve God’s purpose. WARNING: these things are really difficult if you do not have the Holy Spirit guiding you; however, with the Holy Spirit these things fall neatly into place and are easy to achieve. No, I do not think I will be living tiny, at least not for a very long time. I can streamline my life. I can eliminate the clutter in my home and in my soul. I can plan for the events in life in faith that it will be a good outcome, instead of focusing on the negative. I can live a life that shows my faith and commitment to God, instead of just paying it lip service.
I have a not so tiny life and it keeps growing. I am thankful for this season of my life. I thank God for being patient with me as I catch up to all He has in store.