Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kingdom is about giving - A simple life

In “A simple life…” a blog post from Life of an ordinary Aussie woman the author, Melanie Baker challenges her readers to consider if we live a simple life and even more, to consider what actually is “a simple life”. It is my way to “try to find a balance” as Melanie put it. I find that worrying about things just makes me unhappy. A finding that was confirmed in a recent article in The Guardian (here is the link) that sited many scientific studies that confirmed that materialism and wanting things just makes a person want more things, more unhappy, creates loneliness, social isolation even anxiety and depression.

I consider myself to live simply. To justify myself to the readers (and Melanie that caused this blog post) I will tell you that I am a Finnish woman, living in Ecuador. I work for Finnish Free Evangelical Church as project worker.

My job here is to help to design and implement an inclusive and special education system for indigenous kichwa children and youth with special needs. The work is developed in the Ecuadorian amazon region and even though I live in a small town, life here is simple.
Girls from Nina Rumi
John Wimber-"If you don't know how to give, then you don't understand the Kingdom. To be trusted with more is the willingness to give your best. Kingdom is about giving our best as everything we have is from Him anyways.."
My work is a mix of office work, teacher training and visits to schools in the indigenous communities, with one or two surprises thrown in just to make it more exciting.

I have a house that has high roof, so I don’t have an air conditioning, even though I live in the rainforest. I have electricity and running water, even a luxury, gas heating for hot water. I also have internet and cable TV. But to justify myself, I must add, the TV is REALLY old and the cable is for my son.

My personal luxury is a big refrigerator where I can keep my Coca-Cola zero, another luxury, cold.

I usually buy my clothes couple of years apart when I visit my family in Finland, from sales. And I use them until the, very cheap, sewing lady can’t fix them anymore.

My big spending vices are shoes (I have two pairs of original Crocs sandals and three Crocs shoes, excellent shoes both for jungle and mountain use) and books that I buy in my beloved iPad (that I got for Christmas from my parents last year’s Christmas).

Boys from Marcelo Andy
“We may speak about a place where there are no tears, no death, no fear, no night; but those are just the benefits of heaven. The beauty of heaven is seeing God.”
― Max Lucado, Experiencing the Heart of Jesus Workbook: Knowing His Heart, Feeling His Love
No manicures or pedicures here. Although they are extremely cheap in Ecuador, I just don’t seem to find time. My occasional splurge on beauty area is getting my facial hear waxed at home and getting rid of the hairy legs syndrome.

So, I would say my life is “free from frills and lavish luxuries” like Melanie says.

There is one basic reason for this, a very sensible one. I don’t have much money.
 
Then there is another one, a more profound one. I have found out that I enjoy life with less. Less frills, less luxuries, less furniture, less clothes, less clutter and things, just less. For me less is more, much more.
Girls from Antonieta Yumbo
“The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.” ~ A.W. Tozer

I do want to find balance in my life and I believe it is not found in wanting and buying more.

At the same time, living a simple life, not splurging, not spending, not owning and having less does not automatically mean “indulging in God’s blessings”, as Melanie asks us to do.

For me, they are a way to find balance and concentrate on God. I think they are good ways for everyone, at least according to the studies cited in The Guardian. Even Jesus told us how hard it is for a rich man to find his way to heaven. And after all, how many sayings there are around the world, repeating that money does not bring happiness.

But… happiness is not God. 
Boys from Guinea Chimbana
“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Let’s not make, not owning, not spending, a new god for us. Let’s not concentrate on balance (as in Oriental religions) but in our Savior. And let Him bring us balance.

I am not happy because I don’t have much. I am happy because I have God.

20 comments:

  1. So well said especially in the last few sentences.

    Michelle F.

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  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly!! The less we have and the more we focus on the experiences rather then the things, the happier we will be!

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  3. I must say I agree. It seems the more we have, the more we want. A simple life serving others is the happy way to go.

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    1. And more than happy, joyful. It brings peace that no material things can ever bring.

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  4. What an optimistic and encouraging post

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  5. I agree that a simple life is a happy life. Too often we let the things that we own consume our lives. Less STUFF and less clutter, and more about relationships and quality time spent together!

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    1. Exactly, Shannon! There is so much more in life than things. And it's good for our children to learn that also.

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  6. We're always broke, we're working class people. I have been married over 25 years and can say that we were happiest when we were brokest. Hmmm. Brokest isn't a word.

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    1. It might not have been before, Val. But it is now :) And you are right. I have had many of the happiest moments of my life when I have had the least money.

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  7. What a great post. Thanks for sharing. Your pictures are beautiful.

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  8. You've got quite the environmental change, going from Finland to Ecaudor, yes? :)
    This is a nice back-to-the-important roots post. I always like visiting here.

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    1. It was a big change but it has been gradual. At the beginning I was living in another region and had a lot more luxuries. One could live more luxurious life here, too. There are people with lot of money and their lives are very different. It just doesn't atract me.

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  9. This is very positive. I love this post. It is important to remember what really is important in life.

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  10. This is a great post. I believe in being happy with what you have, no matter how little it is.

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    1. Thank you, Debi. And I agree, better to be happy with what we have, than unhappy and wishing for something else and loose everything you already had.

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