Over a year ago, I received an email from a reader who wanted to thank me for living an un-fancy life and celebrating it. She explained how perplexed she was by the apparent over-the-top glamorous lives other women our age seemed to lead; I think her words were something like “Where are they finding this time and money?!” She had similar things to say about clothes, jewelry, homes, etc. Her thoughts were, basically, I can’t relate to that kind of lifestyle. It’s one of my favorite emails I’ve ever received.
Our life is not fancy or glamorous. But we are blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed.
With every year, I learn more that keeping up with the Jones’ will wear my soul out tired. Constantly chasing more, more, more will often result in an empty wallet and an empty heart. More is not the answer; it never has been. Contentment is the answer. It’d be great to have this or do that, but thinking along those lines breeds jealousy and a lack of peace.
Here and now, what we have is exactly enough. It’s more than enough.
In February, we buried Riley’s sweet Granny. At her funeral, the preacher, explaining how Granny’s legacy is her family and not her material possessions, said simply, “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul.” Those words were like a kiss on my forehead. More isn’t the answer unless it’s more time in conversation, more meals with loved ones, more hours in the sunshine, more love and laughter.
It’s not that having things is inherently bad, it’s that I refuse to spend my life exhaustively chasing more. Too often material possessions and travel become idols in our lives (guilty of the latter).
At my first job out of college, the CEO once took me out to dinner with a couple of co-workers. He lamented how he’d “never have enough money” and how no matter how much he makes, “it’ll never be enough.” He was a multi-millionaire. Riley often quotes Jim Carrey when he said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
I once heard someone say that the theme song of hell is “Do more, do more, do more.” I believe that’s true. (When you see overjoyed people apparently living perfect and fancy lives online, remember that social media is often a good liar. There’s often emptiness, debt, and heartbreak behind the flashy photos.)
I’m resting in what I do have: a beautiful, blessed, simple life. I am okay just as we are. Instead of thinking what else we could have, we’re focusing on how we can use what we do have to bless others. In light of the world’s population, we have much more than most–more than enough–as it stands today. And we are thankful.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5, emphasis mine
// I really look forward to hearing your thoughts on this. How do you cultivate a mindset of contentment in a world that tells us to be more, do more, and have more?
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Your post reminded me of a quote that’s always resonated with me – “Comparison is the thief of joy.” A little reminder to always be thankful for what you have, no matter how simple or unfancy. I think you hit it right on the head in terms of the flashy ‘perfect’ social media posts; it’s so easy to compare our lives with the over-glamorized versions we see online, but we really have no idea what’s happening behind the scenes. And that simple thought has really helped bring me contentment in my current season of life. Love love love your heartfelt blog; thanks so much for sharing!
Blair Lamb says
Hey Stephanie! Yes, I love the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Lara Casey says something like, “Comparison isn’t just the thief of joy, it’s the thief of everything.” So, so true. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! 🙂
My most favorite thing you have ever posted was a picture of the apartment that you and Riley lived in before you moved into your house. It wasn’t neat and tidy and tied up with a pretty ribbon. It was messy. It was real. That photo gave me more freedom than you could possibly know. I feel like this topic goes along the same lines. Your authenticity and love for others shines is every thing you do. You are consistently bringing glory to the Kingdom of God by not being afraid to share your struggles and the hard things that you are facing. There is an group of women standing in your corner of the internet cheering you on through all the struggles and the victories in your life. Thanks for the time, effort, and energy you spend sharing parts of your life that you don’t have to so women can find freedom in their broken messiness.
Blair Lamb says
I remember that picture! It was such a hot mess! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so supportive and cheering me on through my journey. I appreciate it more than you know. Your support encourages me to be brave and vulnerable, even when it’s scary. Thank you for that. XO
I love this. I feel like presenting this overly perfect extravagant lifestyle is seen as such a norm in the blogging world these days, and it’s so nice to read someone who keeps it real and stays relatable. As a reader it can be really demoralizing to be reading blogs and constantly be wondering, “how are they affording all this?” when that kind of extravagance and luxury are so completely out of reach for me. I guess I’ve got a ways to go on the contentment thing, but blogs like yours help immensely. So thank you for keeping it real!
Blair Lamb says
Yes girl! I am constantly wondering “How are they affording all this?” with regards to bloggers and some of my peers. I’ve learned that many times they’re “affording” it by going into lots of debt. I’d rather live simply within my means. Thanks for your comment! XO
Grady Katherine Savage says
This is so apropos, Blair – my word of the year is “contentment” for 2017! Since we are working pretty tirelessly to get completely out of debt, it is something I often need to remind myself of. We are blessed beyond measure and comparison will get us nowhere.
I am also thankful for my incredibly un-fancy life! <3
Blair Lamb says
I love that word for the year so much. I once heard a pastor say that in his 30 years of counseling others, he had never heard a single person confess that they struggled with materialism, yet he thinks almost every one of us does. How true. In this age of more-is-always-better, it’s lovely to have friends like you who are content to rest in the present and be thankful. XOXO
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it and I can completely relate to it. In this day and age, it is very important to differentiate between our wants and needs and that is what my husband and I are trying to do. There is no greater joy than being content with what you have
Blair Lamb says
I agree! Thanks for reading and commenting, Varsha! xo
I love this post and your whole stance on this issue. This is something God has been teaching me slowly and steadily over the last 3 years. Happiness is NOT found in more, nicer, fancier material possessions or bigger houses. It is found in His presence and in loving and serving others. I call myself a recovering “maximalist” because I used to want more and more and more. I’m so thankful to be moving away from that kind of attitude and to have my mind being renewed to the beauty of contentment! Thanks for providing this encouragement for the journey! <3
Blair Lamb says
Thank you for reading, Traci. I appreciate your comment and love that you’re a “recovering ‘maximalist'”. Great terminology! 🙂