Last week I had to face one of the discouraging realities of living with less…disappointment.
Three weeks ago, my daughter invited me to take advantage of a promotion at the gym where she has a membership. They were offering two weeks of free admission to the gym and their classes. I decided to join her for those two weeks and we took class after class together. I not only enjoyed the time with my daughter, I found that I LOVED kick-boxing (and I absolutely hated step aerobics)!
When my two weeks came to end, I knew that I couldn’t afford the $45 monthly expense to continue. I went into it knowing that. But that didn’t make the disappointment any easier.
Yes, I know…I could have said no to the two weeks to spare myself from enjoying something I knew I couldn’t have. However, I don’t regret in anyway spending that time with my girl. We had fun!
And honestly, it wasn’t for nothing…it inspired me to exercise more regularly and it introduced me to kick-boxing which I surprisingly enjoyed. Even if I do kick-boxing at home with a DVD, my world has been expanded a bit.
But disappointment was still real. It’s a part of the living with less journey. Like Mark and I said in the first chapter of our Living With Less So Your Family Has More book, “Honestly we’ve struggled to fulfill our commitment to provide our family with the things money can’t buy when we’ve wished our family could have some of the things money can buy.”
Like gym memberships.
Disappointment is very real. But we can’t let it skew our perspective.
You see, I don’t want a gym membership bad enough to sacrifice time with my family.
I don’t want a gym membership bad enough to hardly see my husband because we’re both working so hard to provide materially for our family that we can’t provide emotionally for our family.
I don’t want a gym membership bad enough that we increase our monthly expenses and increase our stress trying to meet our financial obligations.
It all comes back to vision and what we determine are priorities for our family. We’ve determined that we want to live with margin in our time and margin in our finances. We’ve decided that providing emotionally for our family is far more important than providing materially for our family.
We have to keep that overall long-term vision in front of us to make the sometimes challenging…and yes, disappointing…decisions that help us live out our vision.
What about you? Have you experienced disappointment in choosing to live with less?
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Yay – I get to comment! What I was going to say earlier today was that “I really appreciate your heart.” Thanks for sharing so openly.
Thanks so much, Beth. (And thank you for letting me know that my comment settings were messed up, too!)
Thanks for your honesty here, I think it is so important. Somehow we think in our culture that if we feel disappointed about something, we must be doing something wrong. It is hard to sit with disappointment, but it is not wrong! Denying ourselves is hard, but eventually we reap the reward!
Yes Erika, I think it’s important that we “normalize” the real feelings that are there even when we know we’re making the right decisions for our family.
Actually, no, I can’t think of a time when I felt disappointment by choosing to live with less. (My memory is poor, however.) I CAN remember feeling other things:
– freedom: saying ‘no’ to magazine subscriptions or bookstore-bought books has brought a narrowing of options and freedom from clutter in our home
– delight: being frugal is a game I’ve been playing for over 20 years! i love to get a good deal, whether it’s a sale, a free community event, or low tech board game time with my kids…
– pride: (i know, that sounds bad) I’ve felt proud of myself for choices made in consideration of others.
Your article is well-thought and well-put; thank you for it, Jill.
That’s another perspective…thanks for sharing that!
This is wonderful. As a young family surviving (and thriving) on one income, I can completely relate to such sacrifices as you mentioned. I had not heard of this book that you wrote but will definitely be checking it out! It is the a topic that is near and dear to my heart and that’s why I blog about it!
Thanks, Jill, and you’ll probably be hearing from me via email as I want to connect to find out more about your ministry! God bless!