I’ve been a renter for ten years now, renting apartments & homes all over the country.
It all started after high-school graduation. I spent four years at Central Michigan University (2003-2007; where Zack and I met/fell in love) renting dorm rooms, an apartment, and then a house just off-campus. After that I lived in Lansing, MI for almost a year (2007-2008). Zack and I were married June 2008 and shortly after that we moved to Detroit, MI where we lived for a year (2008-2009). We then moved to Minneapolis, MN for three years (2009-2012). And now we’re to the present: living in Los Angeles, CA for almost two years (since 2012).
Most of the places we’ve called “home” have been small and perfect for a him & her. For two years we lived in a very generous-sized house in Minneapolis complete with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a backyard, patio and private driveway. At 26-years-old we felt like we hit the rental jackpot.
But towards the end of our time in that large house Zack and I traveled to Tanzania, Africa with Compassion International (truly one of the most life-changing events I’ve ever experienced) — we came home, and pretty much everything about our lives changed.
The amount of space we live in…
The number of physical “things” we own…
The answer to a 14-month prayer of growing our family: your womb is full…
The yard-less yard… (This one is still hard.)
All of these things were suddenly not as they’d once been.
When we decided to move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles the size of our home may have shrunk nearly 75%, but our hearts grew immeasurably.
Living in a small space has been really hard for me at times. It’s even hard for me to write that out! :) But it’s allowed me to look deep and hard at what I consider most important in this life…
I don’t share often enough about the struggles that come with living in a small space, but I’m inspired to change that.
Because as I’ve learned: where there are struggles there is also beauty.
We were not created to be defined by the size of our homes or the number of adventures we’ve been on. We are not defined by how much gorgeous sunlight pours in our windows, or the thick never-ending grass that grows off our patio, or by having a (unachievable) large social media imprint.
There is so much beauty, even in the small spaces of our home, and the best way to find it is to know the asnwers to these questions:
- what is your purpose for this season of life?
- what changes do you need to make so you feel satisfied with the everyday?
- what internal changes would help you feel more confident with where you are right now?
- are you giving your most important people first priority?
From there, however life sorts itself out (in a way that feels totally natural to you), is what you need to be doing. Don’t worry about what your neighbor is doing or what their life looks like.
When all think alike, then no one is thinking, –Walter Lippman
If you’re going to worry, worry you’re missing out because you can’t stop your mind/eyes from wandering elsewhere.
It’s perfectly wonderful to be different, to be brave, to be dancing to your own life beat. And that’s something living in a small rental has taught me.
to be continued…