10 Great Reasons to Live with Enough: A Book Excerpt
Top Ten Benefits of Living with Enough
Before we answer those questions, let's think about some of the advantages of living with enough. How can mere daily provisions really be better than surplus? Why shouldn't we want a little more of what we have? For folks like you and me, who most likely will never be really rich by our culture's standards, but who know that having a little more money in the bank would be very helpful when paying bills, a life with more than enough can sound downright dreamy.
So why downsize? Why scale back? Why pray for just enough like Agur did? Let me state the question in a more contemporary way: If you choose to pursue the elusive concept of enough, if you limit how you live and what you spend, what's in it for you? Why should you and I embrace the radical lifestyle of living with less? Here are ten great reasons to live with enough:
1. You'll have more time. Stuff and money require managing. Things break or need cleaning or dusting or servicing or upgrading. Money requires management. It has to be invested and reinvested. And all of that takes time. The irony of having more is that when you finally get what you think you want, you still won't be satisfied. And your "stuff" will cause you to spend more of what you can't get back—time.
2. You'll have more peace. Curiously, having more than enough rarely brings more peace. Money can't shield you from cancer and wealth can't prevent a miscarriage. Living in a nice house or driving a new car won't make your marriage better. In fact, having more than enough often increases your stress and distracts you from the things in life that really matter—pursuing God and loving the people
3. You'll help your relationships. Living with enough will actually help your relational world. You'll have more time and emotional energy to invest in your loved ones and even in those friends, neighbors, and co-workers whom God might be calling you to serve. Think about it—if wealth and material comfort really brought happiness, then nations that enjoy prosperity ought to have the healthiest relationships on the planet. We all know better. Couples with six-figure incomes typically have the same or higher divorce rates and the same relational difficulties as those with smaller incomes. Susie and I have watched our income increase dramatically over the last twenty years, but it hasn't helped our marriage one iota. If anything, our increased earnings have increased our stress and conflict.
4. You'll be more content. Are you tired of trying to keep up with the Joneses? (By the way, have you ever talked to the Joneses? They're not content either. If they were, they wouldn't need to be kept up with. Think about it.) If you're in the habit of collecting, chasing, pursuing, and admiring more stuff, then there is always going to be something else you want. There will always be something messing with your contentment. But when you declare that you have enough, suddenly contentment will become much more second nature to you. When you stop looking, stop longing, and stop lusting for other things, you set yourself up to be much more at peace with where you are in life and with what you have.
5. You'll have less or no debt. If you stop spending money on stuff, you'll have less debt and eventually will be debt free. If you're not buying things and spending money all the time, you'll have the cash reserves necessary to fix the broken dishwasher, replace the dead hot water heater, or even handle the college tuition for the kids. Less spending means less debt, and less debt means less stress.