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Living simply

Matamoros: As I walked out my garage yesterday en route to the airport, I stepped around three or four bags of garbage that I didn’t have time to take to the dump. I dismissed the twinge of guilt, filing it in the same dark place in my mind where I put that thought about the bills that I haven’t …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Matamoros: As I walked out my garage yesterday en route to the airport, I stepped around three or four bags of garbage that I didn’t have time to take to the dump. I dismissed the twinge of guilt, filing it in the same dark place in my mind where I put that thought about the bills that I haven’t paid that sit on my microwave. If you could access that place in my mind, you’d find it’s cluttered. I’ll arrive home on Sunday afternoon and be at work the next day – my life is full and complicated.

What a contrast with life here. The walls of the room I’m in are concrete block. The road outside is full of ruts and garbage is scattered everywhere. Cars stop working and people just push them to the side and leave them. People here in Mexico just are not as concerned with looks as we are in the States. Mothers are not perpetually thinking, “My home is so messy, I could never have guests here.” Expectations are lower – people come and go much more freely without having as much stuff to take care of.

I know what I’m describing makes many of you wrinkle your nose. But here’s the flipside: with expectations lower, people are freed to focus on the important stuff – relationships. They are connected to one another. Families and friends are a big deal here.

A cross-section of Americans was asked by Dr. John Townsend to rate how they feel about themselves on a scale of one to ten. When I was growing up, the average score was “6.” Now, the average score is 2.7. I can’t help but think it’s because we’ve made our lives too complicated. Who of us couldn’t hold an ample garage sale tomorrow with all the junk cluttering our lives?

Start cutting out stuff, simplify your life and see if God doesn’t start freeing you up. I predict you’ll be happier for it.

Comments (2)

  • having just spent 3 months there i find it funny that you think they dont primp as much as we do in fact they very seldom go out in as casual clothes as we do and not taking care of the places that they live is not a good example to me at all. American bashing is at an all time high and why not we bash ourselves on a regular basis

  • Your point of making relationships the priority and not our “things” is very well taken. Instead of looking at other cultures and seeing what we feel they may do “wrong”, I appreciate you seeing what they are doing “right” and learning from them.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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