Why am I blogging for 31 Days about minimalism? Find out HERE.
Yesterday my Hunky spent some time reorganizing the budget. We’re having another child this month, so we needed to figure out where that money would come from.
Oh, I’m sorry? Did you not know I was expecting?
We won’t actually bring a baby home from the hospital at the end of the month, but we will become financially responsible for our third Compassion child. This may seem off-topic for a minimalist series, but the truth is, I can’t fully explore minimalism without talking about the financial bottom line. There are many reasons that we have wholeheartedly embraced the benefits of this lifestyle, but one of the most compelling reasons for my family is what it allows us to do with our money.
We essentially live debt free. We’re working hard on one pesky student loan from a masters degree that is dormant now that the Hunky is in ministry, but other than that, we don’t owe. We rent our home and continue to feel that home ownership is not in the foreseeable future for us. We seldom buy new things; we seldom have a need for them. We drive cars well into their second and third decades of life. We choose this lifestyle because for us, the bottom line is about giving back.
Money, like time, is a finite resource. We can only make it go so far. We can bend the rules a bit, maybe even use another institution’s money, but in the end we’ve only got so much. One of the most appealing aspects of the minimalist lifestyle is the self-examination that accompanies life stripped of excess. The more I have scaled back, pared down and thrown out, the more my priorities are revealed. It’s easy to say something is a priority when it’s so obscured by the details and busyness of life that no one, not even we, can be sure whether or not it is true. But in a minimized life, it’s easy to see what we hold most dear.
I read a statement several years ago made by Jennifer Hatmaker: If we truly lived like we love our neighbors as ourselves, wouldn’t we give away half of what we earn? (paraphrase). That struck me hard. I say I love my neighbor as I love myself, but am just I saying it, or am I living it? The bottom line will prove if my words and my life match. We don’t give away 50% of our earnings, by the way. We aren’t able to do that, yet. But we are trying every day to ensure that our lives align with our words and our faith. Because we examine our lives closely, we are able to make choices that reflect the type of people we profess to be.
Not every person has the same bottom line as we do. My point today isn’t to heap judgement on anyone who has debt, who barely makes ends meet, who doesn’t have any idea what is they want or believe, or who knows what they want, and it doesn’t have anything to do with giving away money. My point is to say that you can have the freedom to live an authentic life and for my family, minimalism is a tool to accomplish this. A minimalist lifestyle isn’t one of stringent rules and constant sacrifice; it has proven quite the opposite. Because of our choices we are able to be extravagantly generous.. We have not only financial security, but abundance to do with what we choose.
This month, we’ve chosen to have a child with Compassion.
I can hardly wait to see his or her little face for the very first time.
(If you are interested in learning more about Compassion International, feel free to leave a comment, or stop back by tomorrow when I will talk a bit more about it. I’m always happy to answer any questions.)