Two weeks ago we went to Disneyland. We spent 3 days there and we loved it.
Last week my husband went to California again, for work. He does not have to travel often (thankfully!), but sometimes he has to. This time it was for THREE DAYS. Yikes. We missed him!
While in California, this time, my hubby spent time with other managers from his company and got to hear a little about their lives. We all have many choices to make in deciding how we will live. One night, on the phone, my husband was saying to me that we could:
- Live in California
- Make a lot more money
- Have Disneyland passes and go anytime we want
- Own multiple houses (like a vacation home at the beach)
- Travel a lot
- Have a tiny yard and hire professionals to landscape it
- Buy everything organic. Maybe even have it delivered.
Wow! Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? His answer? My answer?
“I don’t want that.”
We don’t want that.
Do you know what my husband wants to do?
Quit that job and work with dirt.
Quit that job and work with pigs.
Quit that job and work with chickens!
Yup! My software, techy, smarty pants husband wants to farm!Â See, here’s the deal: we could live a plush life, and not really know a thing about our life-giving food. We are not ok with that.
We could have a ton of money and use it all for our own pleasures. We are not ok with that.
We could live a life of entertainment–Disneyland passes plus Netflix plus Cable TV plus a movie collection plus video games plus iPads and iPods and a computer for everyone etc., etc., etc. But where would our hearts be??? Where would our children’s hearts be? In justÂ three daysÂ at Disneyland (though we loved it!), our kids were drawn to commercialism–characters–stuff. Can you imagine a lifetime of this?
We could own multiple houses, but why? We can only live in one house at a time. And one is enough to keep clean, anyways!
We could travel a lot. That might be fun. But, besides the time we spend with each other, when we are on vacation, do you know what is missing? Authentic relationships. I know, authentic relationships are missing from most of America anyways (sad!). But if you settle down and plant some roots, you can create them where you are at. A life of travel will always be lacking in these honest, real connections. At Disneyland (and other tourist places), everyone seems to have the right to be self-focused. Nobody cares about anybody else. Everyone pushes. Everyone wants to be first. We don’t want that kind of life. We don’t want to be thoseÂ people.
We could have a tiny yard and never have to touch any dirt. But then we’d be missing out on real life, so why would we want to do that??
What kind of life do we want for our kids? The bigger question is, who do we want them to be when they are grown?
Entitled, selfish brats who keep their noses in technology?
We could hire a housekeeper to clean our house so that our kids can enjoy their livesÂ or, we can teach them, as my friend Beki says, life skillsÂ and train them how do do a job well. We can take over those jobs ourselvesÂ because you know, kids don’t do things as perfectly as we might want them done, or we can let them practiceÂ and prepare for their futures.Â Too many adult women my age came into their role as a housewife feeling totally inadequate. Partially it is because most of our mother’s generation worked all day and we never saw the housewife role in action. And partially, it’s because they did not take the time to train us. We need to think about our kids’ futures. What do we want for them? A house wife who feels inadequate in keeping house will either:
- Spend her days trying to soak up as much information as she can about how to do her job well. She could have had those skillsÂ downÂ by the time she was 15, and could be using her adult hours more wisely, but nevermindthat.
- Give up. Quit. She was trained, in 13 years of school, how to work outside of the home. It’s easier, it feels betterÂ to do what you know how to do.
My kids could spend their free time playing video games and watching TV. Or they could go out back and build a tree house, collect salamanders, build a teepee out of broken tree branches and a sheet, plant an orchard, start a “business,” etc., etc. What kind of life do we want for them? What kind of memories do we want them to have of their childhood?
I recently spent a weekend at an adoptive mom’s retreat. Many of the women at the retreat are much older than me (their kids are my age or older). They’ve adopted. They foster. One takes in medically fragile babies. Who knows how many sweet babies have come through her home. One takes in handicapped teenagers and has adopted children from Romania. There were several women with similar stories. These women amaze me. They are gemsÂ in their generation. They are are living lives of service, instead of feeling entitled. They might feel entitled to travel, live a life of pleasure, buy whatever they want, live for themselves. The saying “I’ve worked hard, so I deserve ____” is a load of crap (excuse my language ;)). We deserve what? Â N O T H I N G. Â What did Jesus deserve? Everything. And yet, He came to serve. And do you know what? Service is addicting. These women served, and they loved it. And they couldn’t help but serve some more. They’re living the life! They are real life super heroes that are worth looking up to!
The life of service is not an easy road, though. For the last 14 months of our lives, we devoted ourselves to taking care of 3 sweet orphans whom we were told we would be able to adopt. We were lied to. 3 weeks ago today, we had to have them and all of their things ready by 8 am so that they could move back in with their birth mom. We waved goodbye as a volunteer/social worker drove them down our long driveway and then we went into the house and broke down in tears–all of us. A friend who faced a similar loss described it well–it is “worse than death.” It is not like they are at peace with God. They are very likely in danger; being malnourished and neglected, and I know that they are crying for me and I can do nothing about it. It aches to see my 4 children grieve over the loss of their siblings. They were hard kids–yes, life is easier without them. And yet, all of us would rather choose a life withÂ them than a life without them. Our certifier says that this placement with birth mom will probably only last a few weeks or maybe up to a few months. But how much damage will be done? Will they be able to attach after that? And the waiting, for our family, is unbearable. A life of service makes you vulnerable. It puts you in a place where your heart strings are pulled and all you can do is trust in God. (Contrast that with a life of entertainment, which is easy, does not require any thought about God or having to face any big emotions).
I want to set a couple of things straight, for the record, because I may have offended some of you.
- I’m not saying that we ought to be Amish and avoid all technology. Technology in and of itself is not bad. It’s the attitude that we deserve it and that we needÂ it that is wrong.
- I’m not saying that everyone who works a desk job and isn’t a farmer is sinning.
- I’m not saying that living in a neighborhood and having a pretty yard is wrong.Â I am saying that we should check where our focusÂ is.
- I’m not saying that owning a vacation home is wrong. It’s a matter of how it is used, and what the heart attitude is around it.
- I’m also not saying that traveling, in and of itself is wrong. I like to travel. We dream, with our kids, of places we might go someday. Farm Boy 2 is reading about Paris, because he wants to go there someday. That is ok. It’s the attitude. It is the life of travelÂ with no connections, no responsibility, no opportunities to sacrifice for othersÂ that I don’t think is healthy.
I know I’ve rambled, but I have a main point. I really do.
Look at your life. Is it all about you, or are you thinking about things that are outside of you? Do you put yourself in positions where all you can do is trust in God, or do you take the “easy” road?
Look at your kids. Who are they becoming? What do they spend their time doing? Where are their hearts? What are their skills? What strengths will they bring to their adult family, and what hurdles will they face because of their childhood?
Look at your time. How do you spend it? For you? Being entertained? In a life of self indulgence? Or in serving others? How’s that workin’ for ya?
Who do you want to be, and are you living in a way that will make it so?