Monday, January 22, 2007

Choosing the Simple Life

There have been times where Rhonda and I have been forced to skimp. Forced to live the simple life. I remember our first Christmas. 1991. I spent every penny I could to make her Christmas special. Rhonda's first Christmas gift consisted of a ceramic Christmas bell, a bottle of bubble bath, and a candy bar. Grand total? Between $4 and $5. It was a simple life indeed.

Our decision to adopt has, in some ways, plunged us right back into the simple life. Money's tighter - a lot tighter. We're evaluating every decision with new eyes. What's important? The simple things. The stuff money can't buy.

What's alarming to me is how readily we humans chase after stuff. If we need it, we buy it. If we want it, if there's enough money, (or sometimes even if there's not) we go out and get it. That's how the Waal household has operated for years. I know this doesn't sound right, but that mode of operation has actually made our life more complex. The more we had, the more we had to worry about. And the more we worried about what we didn't have.

Now we're forced to simplify. We've got two kids on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean waiting for us to hop on a plane and bring them home. Simple. They're what's important.

So our thinking has changed.

Last year I told the teens in our youth group about a 14-year-old boy who took Jesus' call to a simple life seriously. He purposely went simple. For 30 days he gave away 30 of his possessions - some of them very significant! At the end he felt like he had been given something, not that something had been taken away.

Now we find ourselves in the same boat. We're giving stuff away to make room for our kids. We're practicing delayed gratification to the extreme! (Just last week I had to ask Rhonda if we had enough money for a gallon of primer). We're selling stuff, not to get rich or pad our bank account, but to do the simple thing God has directed us to do.

I don't feel deprived or cheated. It hasn't been restrictive at all. It's been liberating. This adoption thing has plunged us into the simple life Jesus calls us to live. I think I like it!


At 9:12 AM , Blogger Anita and Family said...

I just wanted to take a moment and tell you what a joy it is for me to read your blog. =-) It's refreshing to see the Dad writing a blog, and SO MANY adoptive dads out there can benefit from reading your posts. I have been sending them regularly to my husband for encouragement. Thank you.


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