Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keeping Up with the

My husband likes new things. Truth be told, so do I. Really though, who doesn't? I don't know a single person who would claim that he/she dislikes the smell of a new car, or the feeling of new clothes. There's something exciting and wonderful about having something you didn't have before, especially if no one else has had it before, either.

But sometimes, in our ridiculously prosperous nation (still among the world's wealthiest 1% even in the midst of a recession), we get a little carried away. We buy things we technically can't afford or don't need, sacrificing our family's well-being for the sake of a thrill or a status symbol.

Which brings me back to my husband and his affinity for new things. Our neighbors (both sets) recently purchased new cars . . . to replace the other new cars that they already had. This means the one set has had 4 new cars in the past 2 years. My husband had a hard time with this. Truth be told, so did I. These neighbors are of the DINK (Double Income No Kids) variety, and it's hard not to feel deprived in the face of our now and future SILK (Single Income Lots of Kids) status. Yes, we do own a "new" car, almost 2 years old, only purchased because our (inherited) car died, paid for half in cash, and in the bottom of the commuter car price bracket. Definitely not a status symbol. Adrian and I worked hard last summer, not so we could finance a swanky car, but so we could afford to pay his student loans on one income. It looks like he will spend the next few summers in the same way, for the same reason. And what will he have to show for it? Nothing, if our goal in life is keeping up with our Joneses.

If not for Jesus and the change He's made in Adrian's life, he would own a much pricier car, a brand new sound system, very swanky clothes, probably an iPad, and I would be preparing to go back to work immediately after Tadpole's birth. This, we've been told, is the "American Dream". But we know it's not God's dream for our family. God's dream makes us look radically different from our neighbors. Is it restrictive? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

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