“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?
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 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.