Power’s Out [part 3 of 4]
By Christian and Christie Skoorsmith of Seattle, WA, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2 NRSV
When you meet the brick wall of reality, it takes a moment to catch your breath and stop the nosebleed. Then you have to face facts:
This isn’t working. We can’t have this.
All of this stuff, this lifestyle, these priorities,
these expenses and consumption and commitments…
all of this is fiction, a dream, a fantasy we can’t have.
Once we reconciled ourselves to that, we asked ourselves two questions. First, what can we have? This is a modest departure from our culture of immediate, consequence-less, on-credit gratification where there is no line between needs and desires. Asking ourselves what we could afford could have been a paradigm-shifting question had we not already faced it a decade earlier when we read Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.
The second question is the one that really rocked our world: What do we really want?
Not what do we think we want, or what we’re told we should want. Knowing we can’t have the middle-class dream, what are our “druthers”? Don’t start with what we want to have. Start with what we want the shape of our lives to be: the values, the daily schedule, the activities, the community.
The answer was staring us in the face: something different, and a lot less.
Christie wanted to be with the kids more. Christian wanted to be with the kids less-or just have more help with them, to have real work time not peppered with nappies and potty-training, and so on. We wanted to be more relaxed. We wanted to have more fun. We wanted to build things with our hands (like IKEA furniture!). We wanted to grow more of our own food. We wanted to stress less about finances. We wanted to be financially stable on our own.
Once we came up with this list (more of a “feel” than a list, really) we had to ask: What are we willing to give up in order to have this?
No, really. Stop. Read that question again: What are we willing to give up in order to have this?
After some time, our answer was: Quite a lot, actually.
In fact, “giving things up” might actually be what we want.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.