#1: Limitations can be blessings.
There are many limitations to living tiny. Many can only see the limitations, and therefore dismiss the idea. We, instead, saw the opportunity. Not only did living tiny allow us the ability to obey the Lord, it also allowed us the opportunity to gain a clearer focus. The “extra” things we had in our lives couldn’t all fit in our travel trailer. So, we decided which extras we couldn’t live without (there weren’t many) and only brought those we had to have. In our time and culture, we have access to more of everything. More information, more products, more travel, more connection, more… Limitation is looked at as something to be avoided at all costs. Limitation is the enemy of productivity. Yet, we have discovered the exact opposite. The limitations we have experienced have been like bowling alley “bumpers”. Yes, they keep our bowling ball from going lots of places it might want to go, but they also keep it going in the direction it needs to go.
Years ago, we went through another time of limitations. Our circumstances meant that the kids and I were home all day every day. We had no extra money, so our days were rather monotonous and it got old really fast. One day as I was talking to the Lord, He reminded me that He is the great adventure. Yes, my circumstances externally were boring and frustrating, but that was just the here and now. I’m a member of the Kingdom of God, and I can live the greatest adventure ever, despite what my physical circumstances are. This time in my life actually became one of the richest times spiritually for me. So, I went in to this other season of limitation with this understanding. What I saw this go around was that limitations can actually help us progress in The Journey much more than no limitations would. It was like the Lord straightened the path for a time. We were able to progress faster because of these limitations than we would have been able to had we had more options.
#2: We really don’t need all that stuff.
I know we all know it, but it is something different to live it. When we moved into Tiny we filled a 10x10ft. storage unit with stuff. Stuff we were sure we would need again one day, or at least hoped we would. A 10×10 storage unit really isn’t that big so we had gotten rid of quite a bit. However, after 15 months in Tiny, we cut the stuff in the storage unit to half. The initial paring down of our things, when preparing to live in Tiny was more painful than I expected it to be. There was always that lingering question of, “what if I regret getting rid of this?” or “what if I need this in the future?” Sometimes it was hard to overcome these questions and let go of things. I began asking instead, “do I have something else that can serve this purpose?” This question actually turned the focus onto what I already had versus focusing on what I was giving up.
During our time in Tiny the Lord helped us get rid of more of our religious baggage as well. Again, we really don’t need all that stuff. One of the things I realized I no longer needed was to “help myself”. Here’s the thing: I knew that the saying “the Lord helps those who help themselves” was totally bogus. However, deep down, I still found myself believing that the Lord wouldn’t help me unless I was contributing something as well. You know, I had to show I was at least trying. Making an effort. Bringing something to the party, if you will. Yet, all my attempts to contribute something failed. Every path I tried to create was a dead end. Eventually, the Lord made it clear. His help comes because we simply trust Him to help. Now, His help didn’t always come the way I would have preferred but it always came. And I had done nothing to earn it, or to contribute to it.
Another religious idea I was able to get rid of was the idea that what is important to the world has to be important to me. I’m not going to go into specifics here, because truly they don’t matter, but there are many things that the world tells us we need. That we won’t be safe without. That wisdom dictates we have or work toward. Yet, this world is under the rule of the evil one, so why would I believe what it says anyway? The Kingdom of God is where my citizenship is and things in it are entirely different than things in the world. It was a relief to be able to not concern myself with many of the things of the world anymore. Now, don’t go off the deep end, or think that I am. We still live in this world and I’m not talking weird, monk-like stuff here. I’m talking about things the world says are important that would have kept us from following the Lord in obedience if we determined they were important too. There are so many things we strive toward, or concern ourselves with, simply because the world says we should, when Christ, Himself, says otherwise.
#3: Closeness doesn’t automatically equal connectedness.
Six people in 208 sq. feet. Only one or two people could be standing at any given time. Everyone else had to be in a seat waiting their turn. We got a lot of practice in patience and considering one another. but we realized that while we were physically close all. the. time. it didn’t mean that we were actually connecting with each other. We still had to be intentional to truly connect with each other. R.C. and I went on many walks just to talk or spend time with the Lord together. We would take one of the kids on errands with us and engage them in conversation while out. We stayed aware of how the kids were doing, and utilized opportunities to connect with them; sometimes through their schoolwork, or a movie, or a game.
We also became much more intentional with connecting with the Lord. We had already spent 3.5 years in a community of believers who were (are) learning to live a life connected to Jesus, and our experience of this only increased. Because of our tiny space, it was evident when someone was spending time with the Lord, and it was simply accommodated for. One evening, RC and I were sitting outside on the patio while the kids got ready for bed. After a while, I went inside to check on the kids, and Micaiah asked where daddy was. I answered that he was sitting outside, and her immediate response was, “talking to Jesus?” I was so blessed to hear that talking to Jesus was something she saw as familiar and common. He truly does make Himself that easy to connect with.
I’m sure we’ll never truly understand what all the Lord gained during our time in Tiny, but I do know that we are very grateful for it.
Has the Lord taught you similar things? Maybe through different circumstances? I’d love it if you shared.