Some days my house drives me nuts. Usually it’s on the days when all my kids are underfoot. It just seems that when everyone is home, we simply are low on space. But are we really? People living in many other countries would probably think I live in something akin to a mansion. By US standards, it’s certainly no mansion, but I am learning to love and be content in my little house. You see, I don’t take the concept of contentment lightly. Like probably many of you, I have struggled with contentment, wrestled with it even, many times. The world out there shouts out to us in so many ways about what we “need”–and of course it has to be bigger, better, faster, fancier, etc. Once upon a time, when we first purchased our home, it really did feel like a palace. Of course there were only 2 of us living here then–now there are 7 bodies living here! That is a huge difference. I have found that when I struggle with contentment, not just with my home, but with other things as well, I have to ask God to help me with this issue in a big way. I pray for Him to give me the contentment in my heart that I so desparately need. And guess what? Mercifully, I do receive it, and usually in a big way. I find myself looking at my surroundings and situations through the lens of thankfulness. Thankful for what I DO have, which is a whole lot–a lot of which I really do not deserve, but God has provided for me anyway. So, in the spirit of thankfulness, here are the reasons why I enjoy my little house:
* Less to clean.
Given some time with no little people underfoot, or just with little people occupied, I can seriously clean my home top to bottom in less than 2 hours. Or, if I feel particularly energetic, less time than that. You gotta love that.
* Lower mortgage.
My Pop-Pop used to use the term “house-poor” or “car-poor” in reference to someone who bought a house or vehicle that is way beyond their means. We were fortunate enough to buy our home 12 years ago, right before house prices in our area went throught the roof. Even then we chose a home that wasn’t at the top end of what we could have spent and went for a 20-year mortgage. There have been many months when I have been so thankful that our mortgage isn’t some crazy amount. As a bonus, it will be paid off before our oldest is out of high school.
* Lower utilities and maintenence costs.
Yes, I have been known to complain about my electric bill or heating costs. However, the bigger the house, the more it costs to heat and maintain.
* Less room to clutter.
I have just spent the morning de-cluttering my house, or as I more fondly call it, de-junking. Should I not do this on a regular basis, I can’t imagine the piles that would accumulate. With 7 people in our home, it forces me to keep the clutter to a minumum. It also forces me to be more organized!
* More togetherness.
As I confessed earlier, this does make me crazy sometimes. However, it is also conducive to having to get along with one another. Yes, my kids have their share of arguments and squabbles. On the whole, though, they usually play together and are creative in coming up with all types of pretend games. We have a 3 bedroom Cape-Cod style home. 1 bedroom is for Mom and Dad, the smallest upstairs bedroom is for Heidi and doubles as a home office. The 3rd and largest bedroom is shared by all 4 of our boys. Rarely do they complain about sharing a room and even though we have beds for everyone, they still choose to sleep together many nights and enjoy just being close. I have heard the expression “Love grows in little houses” and I have found that to be true.
I’m sure I could come up with more items in this list, but these are the main points I wanted to share. If you also live in a smaller home, I commend you. If you live in a bigger home, don’t worry, I’m certainly not berating you in any way. The reason I am posting this is because I wanted to share my own struggles with contentment and how God has helped me to be thankful for everything I have, the big things and the little things. Also, a house is just that–a house. It’s who is in it that makes it a home 🙂