We’re Not Naked: How to be Content with Less

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wall destroyed by flooding

Three weeks ago, the Western Cape in South Africa experienced unprecedented flooding in which our only vehicle was damaged. We consider ourselves fortunate as many homes were entirely flooded to the point of needing extensive reconstruction, or a total loss.

Now, one of our family values is flexibility so we just sort of rolled with this inconvenience. Gert started riding his bike to the grocery store, we began to walk to church, and he found lifts into the city to the Operation Mobilization office. Not a big deal, cause you know, we’re flexible.

We are on week number three with no car, and I’m afraid my sense of humor about the situation is on the downturn. And yet, the Lord is speaking to me on a new level about being content with less.

1. Identify with the Poor. We have been able to identify with the poor in a new way. Suddenly the kids and I relate to the majority of people in the world who do not own a car. Overcrowded taxis, busses, and hours of walking are part of daily life for most in Africa. “Wow,” my kids realize. “We are actually very rich!”

2. And God says: If you have food and clothing, be content with that.

A verse I was not in the mood to hear at church last Sunday. Rather I thought it should say ‘food, clothing, and a car.’ Or, ‘food, clothing, and all the other stuff we think we need.’

God’s word slices and dices right to the core!

I remember a time, living in the woods in Alaska, with no running water and an outhouse and a wood stove. No car. Showers were few and far between. Yet that time of simplicity was part of me not being conformed to the pattern of this world. I learned to do without, and some of my best memories are of drinking hot tea and tending the crackling fire and listening for moose calls, all out in the glorious companionship of nature…and my roommate ;-).

No, we’re not naked. We have food–lots and lots of food. A Thanksgiving bounty full with one piece of pumpkin pie left that I have hidden in the fridge.

3. It’s All Part of the Plan. It simplifies life to know this, doesn’t it? God has our lives mapped out for us…we can liken it to a treasure hunt. He has surprises and provisions and cliffs and traps to avoid. Places to rest and custom-made tools for us. Works prepared waaaaaay in advance for us to do. I can be content with food and clothing and whatever else he chooses to bless me with.

4. Enjoy the Seasonal Blessing. Have you ever noticed how we never seem to have it all at once? There are some seasons we are blessed with family. There are times of plenty, of abundance. Times of a spacious home or a nice car. Times of health and peace. But rarely…maybe never…do all those blessings coincide with each other. We can learn to enjoy, savor and rest in the way God chooses to bless us in each season. Knowing we don’t need to ‘have it all’ to be content, we can trust the perfect wisdom of God as he changes the seasons of blessing in our lives!

I’ll let you know what happens with our vehicle. We are praying it can be fixed. In the meantime I am rejoicing even though the garage…our cattle stall….is still empty.

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2 thoughts on “We’re Not Naked: How to be Content with Less

  1. Edward Grim says:

    The insight that I especially was struck by in your blog was that God doesn’t give us everything in all seasons…that we should look at the bigger picture when things and events in our lives fall short.

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