“You’re going to need a bigger house!”
We’ve heard some form of this statement each time we’ve welcomed a child into our family of ten.
We usually laugh it off, or say something in response that feels weak and is not at all what we truly want to say. Like, “Oh, we’re just fine in our house!” and “Are you offering to pay for a new house for us?” (insert a nervous laugh).
With some thought, and a few years to mull this topic over in my mind, here’s what I truly want to say about a bigger house.
1. A Bigger House is not a need, but a want.
If we lived in the third world, there most probably wouldn’t be talk of bigger houses if the one we currently lived in was larger than a majority of the houses on the earth. Talk of bigger houses is an “American Dream” concept, one that can be tiresome and just plain bleh (for the lack of a better word.) We generally don’t need bigger houses, we want bigger houses. There’s a glaring difference. Around the world, people don’t just want food and clean water, they need it too. It’s hard to wade through the needs and wants some times—I’m right there with you. I’m not saying moving to a bigger house is wrong, but it’s a good idea to camp on the idea of need vs. want when considering a change. We are exceedingly thankful for what we have, four kids to a room and all.
2. More time living, less time cleaning.
I’ll throw in an obvious one: Smaller house means less to clean. Because the majority of us don’t have a cleaning staff. The family is the cleaning staff, and this cleaning lady and her staff does not want more house to clean, thank-you-very-much.
3. The financially savvy choice
Keeping small keeps your debt load small or non-existent. Going bigger, unless you can pay out-of-pocket, just leads to more debt. More debt = more stress. Now, who needs that?
4. Sharing is Caring
You just can’t avoid having to share in a smaller home. It’s a true benefit in our self-absorbed culture for children and adults alike to have to share. Entitlement and selfishness can creep in when children and adults don’t have anyone to share with. We think things should be easy, convenient, and make us gloriously happy. Sharing in childhood can produce adults who more readily think of the needs of others. And if handled with care, smaller spaces can mean better manners, more empathy, stronger bonds, and better organization for those living within.
5. It changes your perspective
Living in smaller spaces causes you to grapple with the contentment factor.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:11-13
I once heard that contentment isn’t having what you want, but wanting what you have. I agree, and I’d take it a step further and say contentment is possible because Jesus gives us the strength and ability to “want what we have.” We sometimes forget we aren’t supposed to be able to be content without the help of our Savior. So I’d say, a perfect place to live would not be in a bigger or better house, it would be to live in contentment until and if we’re led to move elsewhere.
What would you add to this list as reasons a bigger house isn’t always better?