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Guest Post: A Testimony on Simplicity

I asked Candy to share her testimony because she has been used by God as an instrument in my life and hopefully others as well.  This testimony speaks volumes and I know other's hearts will be touched by her story.

Bev has asked me if I could do a guest post for her about my husband and my life and our choosing to live simple. It is a pleasure to be able to share a little about how we came to live simple.

Both myself and my husband grew up with frugal parents. My Dad was a pastor, so growing up he always taught us to be a giver. Whatever money he had, they lived simple and frugal, and gave and helped everyone. My husband's family are the most thrifty people you will ever meet. They save every penny and rarely spend. Both of our parents live modest and humble.

Even so...  :)    A few years into our marriage, Rob and I started to get caught up a little in living like our friends. We started to feel like everything we had wasn't good enough. Our friends from church were getting the big homes, luxury cars, etc. And every couple years they would get an even bigger home, and even better car. Meanwhile, we were living modestly and simple in cute little homes that we had built. They were cute, but very small. We actually liked our small living, but started to feel though that maybe it was time for us to build a bigger home too, and have a better car.. So, that's what we did. We built a huge home.... it had every luxury from top of line appliances to professionally built-in ceiling speakers in every room, to telephones in all the bathrooms, etc! To most people, it would be considered a 'dream house'. However, it never really did impress Rob or I.  It made us feel phony. Not because we couldn't afford it. Don't get me wrong, my husband makes a very good income. Money actually wasn't an issue, unlike many people who actually get homes like that who live way above their means. We could actually afford this home. And the nice SUV parked in our driveway, which of course had the works and leather interior as well. But here we were, after moving into this luxuriously large home, sitting in one of the massive living rooms, on one of the leather sofa sets, looking at each other one day and began to talk about it. Were we happy here? No not really. This doesnt impress us. And really, we don't care one bit if it impresses anyone else. In fact, we would rather not have attention on us. We are both rather shy, quiet people. Who were we kidding. This type of living was not for us! 

I also felt that it wasn't the best testimony to be living so grand. While most of our friends were living the same, we still had many other friends who were struggling to make ends meet. I could sense the envy from them and I didn't like it. I wouldnt want to be the cause of my fellow sisters and brothers in the Lord, going into debt or having marriage stress because they were trying to catch up with us. It actually bothered my conscience. Plus, I want people to feel comfortable around us. I want them to feel good about their life. I want others to look at our lifestyle and say 'you know what, material stuff isn't all that for Rob and Candy' and 'it's ok to live simple'. I want Christians especially to feel like they don't have to live like the world lives, even if the world means their church friends, or even siblings who may be flashing their wealth with material possessions. 

I'm not saying that living grand is bad, or that we must all live simple. I'm just saying that it's really ok to live simple. And that however you live, be true to yourself, and be sensitive in your heart towards others. 

Given the choice to have a huge home and luxury car, or use that money to help my in-laws, missionaries, give to friends, etc, I would rather not have the house and car!  One day we will meet our Lord Jesus face to face and have to give account of what we spent the money on that He blessed us with. 

We currently have a nice home, it is not a house but a small condominium. Just a 2 bedroom, 1050 sq ft home. It has some little luxuries in it but otherwise it's pretty plain and very small. Most people don't want to live in a condo like us! And for the most part, our place looks like a regular apartment. Even our choice of furnishings are no big deal, most everything bought from Ikea :) I feel good about our choice to live small and simple. And to be able to give more to others. My conscience doesn't bother me. And we're not competing with anyone or trying to keep up with "Jones' ". We're happy, we live below our means, and maybe we can be example to others or an encouragement.  Be content. You can make any space homey and beautiful by giving away all the stuff you don't need, all the clutter. And live only with what you need or what is beautiful to you. It is much better to live a life where you have the ability to give freely and abundantly than live a life where your overwhelmed by stuff and don't give or help others.

Make sure to read another guest post by Candy about how to simplify your home:
http://www.christianhomekeeping.com/2009/06/guest-post-simplifying-home.html