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Packed like sardines. Busting at the seams. Maximum capacity.
Whichever way you spin it, we’re full! Small house, big family means it can be crazy, chaotic, and… interesting? We may very well be packed like sardines, but we aim to be content in our sardine-ness.
Almost twenty years ago, when we bought this house, we assumed it to be a “starter house.” We had no idea that we would still be living in the same 1500 sq ft house eight kids later. Honestly, we’ve tried to sell it, but so far that hasn’t happened. Instead we recently added on about 280 square feet. It gained us a bathroom, a bedroom, and a larger dining room. Whew!
There are times when it feels really tight. Truthfully, it can be downright frustrating with ten people, especially when eight of them stay home all day most days. And then the rainy days. Oh, dear Lord, the rainy days!
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A Call to Be Content
A few years ago God so strongly urged me to be content in my current stage of life that He might as well have been sitting on the porch swing with me. Such a calm came over me, and I realized that this is what He wants for us: to be cozy and content in our small house.
How can you be content when you feel like you live in a can?
I must confess, that I don’t always feel the calm that I felt that day on the swing. And sometimes, I still want to sell and start over.
But we are choosing (continuing to choose) to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t. When you live in a culture in which things are very important and label who you are, that’s tough.
Think back to your grandparents’ house, your great-grandparents’ house. Typically, houses were much smaller. Actually, 100 years ago, the average house size was 700 to 1,000 sq ft with one or two bedrooms and maybe a bathroom. (Chicago Tribune) Couple that with the fact that family sizes were typically larger, and you have a “sardine can.”
I remember my mom telling a story about how she and two of her sisters shared not only a bedroom, but one full-sized bed. The house did have three bedrooms (parent room, boy room, girls’ room), but it was small and didn’t have a bathroom for many years. And yet, she remembered fondly and enjoyed telling me how they were content being sardines.
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Bottom line: Focus on what you do have!
A Gentle Reminder
When I struggle with wanting more, God gently reminds me to be content in this cozy little house. He reminds me of the warmth, the laughter, the comfort, and the love. We brought all eight of our babies home to this house, and right now, I want to enjoy those memories right.here.
What about you? Where are you in your journey?
Listen, it’s okay if you have a big house, but it’s also okay if you have a tiny one. What matters is that you are content with where you are. I know that’s hard! If you are feeling uncertain about where you are in life, take a step back and try to be thankful for where you are.
Let us find joy by remembering God’s promises, remembering the blessings, remembering what we do have, and remembering where we’ve been. And don’t forget that while you are trying to be content wherever it is you find yourself, seeking joy, I’m right there with ya!