Quit Your Job. Live Simply.

“It all seems so pointless.” I am sitting at the dining room table at 9 pm, watching my husband finish the last of our dinner- instant lasagna and coke. It’s the beginning of May, the start of a new summer of long days filled with sunshine and happiness… and I’m stuck in a factory, working twelve hour nightshifts, making baby wipes for a living.

“You could quit, you know.” Michael finishes his last bite and leans back in his chair, regarding me with a challenging gaze. “Just don’t go in tomorrow night.”

I laugh. Right. Quit my job and live off his paycheck alone the rest of the year. Sounds enticing, but not practical.

I got my factory job eleven months ago when our bank account was slowly slipping away. Between my job and Michael’s promotion, we were able to bring it back up to something comfortable and manageable. We’ve also been able to afford luxury items: new computers, new phones, a new printer, a new car, new clothes….

But we weren’t happy. 

With my night schedule and his daytime schedule, we were lucky to see each other three days out of the week. Even then, we only spent a few hours together between when I woke up and when he went to bed. But hey, we had our fancy iPhones and computers, so we should have been happy, right? So why did the idea of quitting my job and living a simple, thrifty life sound so tempting?

“Okay. I’ll quit,” I say, stealing at glance at his reaction. He smiles broadly, not a hint of fear or anxiety crossing his features. Hmm. Quit my job. I can do this.

Can’t I?

It’s not that I don’t want to work. I’m not lazy, I promise, and my job isn’t really that bad. I just don’t like not seeing Michael for 2-3 days at a time. I don’t like staying up all night by myself on my nights off, knowing I can’t call a friend or go on a walk in the park because it’s 3:00 in the morning. I don’t like looking at my bare backyard, wishing I had time to plant and tend a vegetable garden. I don’t like eating instant frozen dinners because I didn’t wake up until 4 pm and really don’t have time to cook dinner in the two hours between waking up and going to work.

And now that our bank account has reached a comfortable level, and Michael’s making enough for the two of us to live off of (in a very simple, thrifty sort of way), I don’t really need a job for us to live. Not unless I want to afford expensive luxury items.

But we Americans have easily gotten caught up in the mindset that to be truly happy, we need a lot of money. And to have a lot of money, both husband and wife need to work. We want to make a double income so we can afford the things we want.

But what if the things we want never fulfill us? 

Too often, both husband and wife come home from work tired and worn, eat their microwave dinners, and go to bed so they can function at work tomorrow. All this, so they can afford that new car or the newest iPhone. Is it worth it? Couldn’t we be just as happy (if not more so), living a simple, thrifty life enjoying home-cooked dinners made by food grown in our backyards?

And how much more could we impact the world in a positive way by finding time to recycle, garden natural foods, and compost? With Michael and I both working, we didn’t want to use our little free time to do these things.

I believe God wants us to be happy.

He doesn’t wants us to dread work. He doesn’t want us to rot away by sleeping, working, sleeping, working, until our souls have been sucked dry. Some people love their job (like my husband) and I think God delights in that. But if you hate your job, don’t do it. There is another way to make a living by doing what you love. (Unless what you love is sitting on the couch watching t.v. all day…)

I don’t believe God ever intended us to want more money than we need.

As Matthew 6:25-34 puts it:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap to store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

That verse is not saying, be lazy and God will place your food on your lap. But it says not to worry. He may not want us to labor at a job we don’t like, but He does delight in hard work, even from a housewife/husband, as it states multiple times in Proverbs 31:

“She works with eager hands.” v. 13 

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” v. 17

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” v. 27

I believe by hard work at home, one could live a thrifty, simple life and enjoy it to the fullest.

God favors family and community above high paying jobs and riches.

If both spouses have full time jobs, how can they find time for each other or their children? And if they can’t find time for family or community, how can they experience true joy? (Unless, of course, they both love their jobs.)

And so it begins…

a learning process where I’m developing skills on how to make up for my lost income by living a budget-friendly, eco-friendly, self-reliant life. When you picture me living it up as a homemaker, don’t imagine me sitting on a couch watching Desperate Housewives and eating twinkies. Imagine me outside working on our vegetable garden, hanging clothes on the line instead of using the dryer, (which is one of the worst household machines for the environment). Imagine me cooking healthy meals from scratch and repairing old clothes so we won’t have to buy new ones. Imagine me making the world a better place, not only by recycling and composting, but by making time for others and building a community focused on God.

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8 thoughts on “Quit Your Job. Live Simply.

  1. A side note… I know I wrote a blog about not quitting your day job a few months ago, and I’ll stick by that by saying, DON’T quit your job thinking you’ll make up for the lost income by becoming a famous writer. It takes years to make a manageable income by writing, and even then, you have to be a really good, consistent writer.
    But if you can make up for the lost income by living a simple life and working at home as a homemaker (read Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes), then, by all means, quit your job. 🙂 (Unless, of course, you love your job.)

  2. So…you quit? If so, bravo my friend! God calls your crazy boldness and raises you some crazy bold blessings–at least that’s how I’ve seen it work out. So here’s to crazy bold awesomeness!

  3. I quit my job last year to be a stay at home mom, also because it was costing us more in childcare than I was making in a paycheck. I’ve been feeling really useless lately watching my husband go to work every day (hardly getting to see his family because he walks to work, a four hour walk to and from so a total of eight hours) and I see him for about five minutes as he’s leaving and occasionally five seconds when he gets home at the wee hours to crawl into bed for a few precious hours of sleep. He says I help, by keeping the house clean and taking care of our daughter, but I feel like I should be do more financially. Now we have another baby on the way and I feel even worse about not contributing financially, but working isn’t an option for me. I have to be here to put our daughter on the bus and be here to pick her up. We live in the middle of the mountains and have no vehicle as it broke down for good last year and we haven’t been able to afford a new one. I have been working on a book, but as you stated that takes time, and so I’ve been looking for something I can possibly do from home, but seem to only find scams. Any advice?

    • Sylina, I think it’s more important that you contribute to being a wife and mother (which is what you are doing) than to contribute financially. I don’t think you have anything to feel guilty about, since you are actually saving money by not sending your daughter to daycare. Especially if you’re preggars again! (Congrats, by the way!)
      I’m pretty new at all this homemaking stuff myself. You said you live in the mountains… do you have a yard that gets some sun? If so, plant a vegetable garden! I don’t know if it’s too late to start one now. I know you live farther south, so it may be a little late in the season, but you can plan one for next year! That will save you money on some foods, and if you grow a big enough garden, you can sell some veggies at the local farmer’s market if you have one. Of course, that won’t make enough to buy a car…. if you live in the country, you can also raise chickens (which is what I’m trying to talk Michael into letting me do). They lay eggs almost every day, which will also provide a healthy meal and save money.
      Other simple things that I’ve recently learned to save money are- At night- turn your air conditioning off and use fans with the windows open, make sure you keep lights off that you’re not using (and use those compact fluorescent light bulbs- they save $). Hang clothes on the light vs. using the dryer, try to cook meals from scratch instead of buying expensive microwave dinners, buy your clothes at goodwill or the local thrift store, use coupons when you go grocery shopping.
      You may already be doing all this, and good for you if you are! Some books I’m reading right now that are full of helpful information are Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes and Go Green Save Green by Nancy Sleeth. They have a lot more solutions than I do.
      Also, your hubby is telling the truth when he says you’re helping out a lot. I think most normal men enjoy coming home to a clean house and a good mother/wife than they do to a large paycheck.
      Good luck!

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