Generation Cedar

There is so much irony in prosperity. Prosperity is often the enemy of simplicity. Prosperity easily breeds apathy. And as it relates to our stuff, it creates in us a disposable attitude.

If you live in America, you make up the top 6% of the wealthiest in the world. The majority of the world’s inhabitants don’t have running water or electricity. The MAJORITY.

Contrast that with us…people who have such an abundance of things that thrift stores and yard sales are an American icon while many countries can’t fathom such. (I’ll never forget the summer my parents first began keeping foreign students. We had a yard sale and the teen, Russian boys could NOT figure out what we were doing or why.)

We are a culture that idolizes more stuff, more gadgets, more everything. We are “stuff gluttons” (and still claim we can’t afford more than two children, which will forever baffle me).

The phenomenon caused by too much stuff is that we don’t value any of it. I’ve often wondered how “once upon a time” each child in a family only had one pair of shoes.  My children lose shoes constantly. And then I realized that if you only had the one pair they would mean something to you. They would be valued.

Applying this concept to our lives as families really changes the way we should look at our things, our activities and our choices. Everything becomes disposable–devalued–when we have too much of it. Even vacations and recreation lose their luster when we are engorged with them.

So we end up stressing ourselves out with more things that we value less to take care of, more activities eating up our time and money, the physical and financial stress of it all and in the end, we are only more busy, not MORE happy.

Simplifying begins with getting real about our priorities in life and saying “no” to the things that detract from those.

I want to challenge you to take inventory with me. Inventory of our things, our activities and our pursuits. De-cluttering our lives means bringing back value and enjoyment. Less IS more.

Find out how our family paid off $38,000 of debt on one (low) income in our ebook, How to Get Our of Debt & Live Financially Free.

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14 Responses

  1. “My children lose shoes constantly. And then I realized that if you only had the one pair they would mean something to you. They would be valued.”

    I can SO relate! Our “middlers” (6 boys ages 3-11) are limited to 1-2 pairs of shoes each. It definitely saves on the hunting when it is time to go somewhere. (:O

  2. Ah Kelly, your last couple of posts have been right at the heart of what I have been thinking upon lately. Thank you! Enjoy hearing your heart….such an encouragement! God Bless you!

  3. We are a nation of stuff, aren’t we. We value junk over God, over relationships, over life so much of the time. Another sign of this obsession? Storage units. Really, unless you are in a special situation with moving, or with donations like you might have received in an emergency, why do we need little rooms that are in other parts of our city to lock up boxes full of things we never use and don’t even look at? GET RID OF IT and don’t replace it.

  4. I’ve always thought that hell is going to be one big shopping trip with everyone buying, buying, buying, brand new stuff and then looking over at their neighbor’s garage sale and haggling over stuff over there….and then having their own garage sale so they could go buy more stuff because they are so unhappy with what they have and they want more!

    (I am not against garage sales…I love them but if we constantly make a lot of money having garage sales we may be buying too many things!).

    Jill Farris
    http://www.generationalwomanhood.wordpress.com

  5. It’s not the stuff that’s evil, it’s the love of stuff. And boy do I love my stuff. This hit a little too close to home, but thankfully I have already been working on it. I just started a weekly women’s Bible study in my home, so every week when I am getting ready for it, I purge more stuff. I needed something to give me an extra push to get things out of my house. That’s not why I did the Bible study, just an added benefit. Thanks for the encouragement, even with all you all are going through yourselves.

  6. You are so right about this Kelly. My children, especially my oldest son who’s 8, don’t value what they have. They break things and don’t care. They have more. I want to work on simplifying my life. I’m working on de-cluttering, but it’s hard. Especially when I was brought up with the Depression Era mind-set that you don’t throw anything away because you may need it sometime. I’m also working on de-cluttering the things I do and also doing some emotional de-cluttering. It’s amazing how exhausted a person can become when they hang on to things in their head and can’t let them go.

  7. This is completely how my thoughts have been lately. We are in the process of doing some cleaning out and getting rid of some “stuff”…and I know even then we will still have “too much.” So glad I am not alone in this line of thinking, as I have felt so often lately, about all sorts of things. :/ I always feel a little more encouraged after reading your posts. Thanks.

  8. Simplicity is the name of the game in my house! The game where I’m pretty much on a team by myself against my husband and kids ;o)

    This series reminded me of an old ‘challenge’ I had read about several years ago. It can be found here – http://30daysofnothing.blogspot.com/

    It is a challenge that and I, and many of my friends have never been 100% successful at completing – but practice is important!

  9. I don’t think most of us know what it is to really *need* something, so we overuse/misuse the word to say we want or would like something. Doesn’t the Bible say, having food and clothing that we should be content?
    Enjoying this series and looking forward to the upcoming the posts!

  10. I was recently very convicted about my attitude towards all our stuff. I am so ungrateful for the pile of clothes that were given to me free that I now had to sort and put away. I was ungrateful that our kids have way too many toys and we’re constantly having to give stuff away. I was ungrateful for the problem of abundance.
    I almost never have to buy clothes for my children. They are given to us all the time. My kids are never lacking in toys. Never. And I didn’t buy hardly any of them. We get frustrated when our power is out for more than 12 hrs (speaking universally, we rarely lose power where we live), but three of my children lived most of their childhood without electricity. I whine when my fridge door handle falls off, but one of my children used to open the fridge and just stare. He had never seen a fridge until he was 6 years old. He was amazed!
    It’s easy to be ungrateful in America. Very easy.

  11. Kelly, Thank You. You are a blessing from God. The holy spirit has used you to voice ideas and feeling that I just could not form into utterances.
    My dear parents are cutter lovers and know not the ways of the Lord. I struggle with worldly habits that I learned as a child and now trying to run a household of my own is so painful. I have felt despair and shame over my home. It is not as my parents homes are but it hurts me to compare it to them because for me it might as well be (emotionally speaking). I am excited to sit at your feet and let to teach me in a Titus 2 / Spiritual Mother kind of way with this series of posts. Thank you, thank you, thank you… Blessings to you and your family, may simplicity be a way of life every day for now and always for you all. Hope that little one is growing bigand doing well. Stephanie

  12. I was very glad to find this site.I attempted to thank you for this cool read!! I definitely enjoying every part of it yet i maybe you haven t gigs to find new stuff from you post.

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