The Common Good

A Lifestyle of Enough

About two years ago, Minhee and I made one of the hardest decisions we've made thus far in our marriage and in our calling as parents.

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In our hope to honor a conviction of the Holy Spirit to give up a year's salary, we had begun the two-year process of saving, selling, and simplifying in 2007. Our goal was to come up with our then year's wages of $68,000 -- in order to launch One Day's Wages. With only a few months left to come up with the total sum, we were a bit short and decided to sublet our home for a couple of months and asked some friends if we could stay with them on their couches or their guest room.

Needless to say, it was a very humbling time.

Our instructions for ourselves and our children were very simple: Each person gets one carry-on bag for their belongings.

I still remember crying the night I told our kids of our plans. This wasn't what I had signed up for; this was by far more difficult than I had imagined. Had I known, there is no way in Hades I would have agreed to this conviction.

But as I look back now, I'm incredibly grateful for this experience. We simplified our lives; sold off belongings we didn't need. For about 2 years, we agreed as a family not to buy anything beyond our necessities. When we stayed with friends, we were reminded what was most essential in our lives:

It was the people right in front of us, faith and hope in Christ, my marriage, my children, and my community.

In our 2500+ square feet home, it was so easy to get lost in our stuff, our possessions, our rooms, our floors, our gadgets, our TV sets, our personal music listening devices, etc.

We can get so lost in our stuff that we forget -- or take for granted -- the most important things: relationships.

Two years later, I worry that the invaluable lessons we learned during our season of simplicity may be getting lost on us -- again. As most of my readers know, I'm currently on sabbatical. It's something I treasure every three years. During my sabbatical, we usually leave Seattle and during our tie away, sublet our home -- if we can find renters we trust. While it's not something we particularly want to do, it's an important source of income that allows us to travel without financial worries. But in order to sublet the home, we have to minimize and clean up the home

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