That’s the question I’m answering in my heart this Thanksgiving. What, truly, is my standard of living?
We’re living in a multi-family home owned by others. We only drive one car. We don’t really get to go out a whole lot. Our daughter doesn’t have a million toys. We have very simple wardrobes that only get replaced when they have to be (or someone blesses us). Our income is near the federal poverty level.
But you know what? In the spirit of thankfulness, I am noticing many blessings in our life. We live with AWESOME people who have become like family to us. Our expenses are a bare minimum. We have fun together as a family. We laugh. We eat well. Our needs are more than met.
Our standard of living really has changed. In these circumstances, we have learned to value very intangible things like relationship, love, and a heart connection with others as the basis by which to judge our standard of living. And these days, that standard is pretty high!
While some days I might pine for my own kitchen and my own house (or my own car for that matter!), most days I am so astounded by the incredible blessing we live every day. In the words of the Apostle:
“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” (Philippians 4:12).
The secret? Learning to “keep [our] lives free from the love of money and [being] content with what [we] have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
That is hard sometimes, especially in this season of “more, more, more.” But I love that reminder, that what really matters in the end is that we have a relationship with God, and that He has promised to never abandon us. He will never let us go. He will fight until He has every inch of our lives and hearts, even allowing difficult circumstances to refine us according to His great love.
Thank you, Jesus!