I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’m living out my faith in my life and how I can find balance between living as a follower of Christ in a way that is glorifying to God while living frugally, living green, and living responsibly. It’s a really big question with probably lots and lots of different answers and I’m sure that I’ll always be searching for the absolute best answer, one that I’m completely content with. But, I know that it is important for me to at least try to answer this question, in the best way I can, for this season of my life. This is the story of my search for that answer.
Here’s where my problem began. Around the end of last year, I started reading, mostly on different blogs and websites, about living frugally. Cutting coupons, watching the sales, stockpiling, etc. I started trying to play the coupon games of getting food and other household stuff very cheaply by using these methods. I saved a lot of money on things, sometimes things that I might not have otherwise bought, and weren’t necessarily good for me. But, it seemed like a good idea because we were in a tough place financially, and I like to save money – who doesn’t?
It became apparent to me, after a few months of trying to live this way, that the main focus of this style of living “frugally” was still consumption. Buy lots of stuff, even if you don’t really need it, for as little money as possible. And it’s okay if you have a ton of stuff that you may never use, because it was very cheap, or even free. I also got very overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all of the deals and make sure that I didn’t miss getting things for the cheapest price possible. I started to realize I was being consumed with getting stuff, and I don’t care how cheap or free something is – I didn’t want to live my life that way.
On top of that – what about all of this STUFF I was getting?! I needed more stuff to keep my stuff organized. And what about the waste that all of that stuff was creating? Sure I got disposable razors for super cheap after a sale and a coupon, but why in the world do I need to be throwing a razor away (not to mention all of the packaging for each razor) after only a few uses, when I have a perfectly fine razor that I can just replace the blade on? Not to mention the environmental effects of the material, manufacturing and shipping needed to produce those razors. Everything about it started to seem so wasteful to me.
And what about the large amounts of (mostly processed) food that I was getting cheaply and stockpiling? I started having a hard time looking in my pantry and freezer and seeing A LOT of food, that it would take us months to eat and knowing that there are people in my community, my state, my country and especially my world that don’t have enough to eat today, much less tomorrow.
I decided I was not happy with this way of living frugally. I was not okay with the continual focus on getting STUFF, the amount of waste that I was creating, and the seeming selfishness that was represented by opening up my pantry and my freezer. God was beginning a work in my life, and I started thinking about finding another way of living frugally, a way of living more simply, of not being consumed by stuff, even if that stuff was cheap or free.
This is the first post in a series on Finding Balance. Stay tuned for parts two and three!
Image by dnnya17