Writers Note : Keep in mind that I wrote this a couple of months ago after posting “Living on Faith“
We have finally secured housing everyone and what an incredible opportunity! I can’t believe we’re in the heart of where we wanted to be and have been much more blessed than I was even hoping or praying for. That didn’t come by accident though friends ~ It’s what happens when we walk by faith!
The Irony of Being Rich, The Stigma of Being Poor
So, our housing search has been a difficult one, but that’s no surprise considering we’ve chosen such an expensive place to live. In fact, it’s one of the reasons we never stayed in the Santa Barbara area before ~ I didn’t have enough faith, courage or belief in myself that I could make it here financially. Thankfully, it seems I’ve gotten over that fear now too, though. I think it’s more about how you choose to live and budget your finances ~ If you have a modest grip on those things, you really can live in paradise.
While money can’t buy happiness, nor does it make the world go round,
I won’t lie… It certainly can make things easier!
I must admit, simple things like a search for housing, was a completely different ball game when I was doing better financially. It was so much quicker and easier than too. Like it or not, doing business with upper class individuals versus lower or middle class is very different although, I’m not sure there’s logic to be found in it. I guess it’s just a different way of thinking, but I can’t say that I necessarily agree with it.
I think I’ve taken for granted in the past, the ease of being able to offer a few thousand dollars down in order to obtain what ever it is I’ve wanted with very few questions asked and little hassle. I never thought much of it before, but let’s face it, most people aren’t going to turn their heads when offered $5,000-$10,000 upfront for something. You put that kind of cash on the table in front of just about anyone and most won’t care where you came from, let alone not take it.
But, this brings about an irony that I’ve noticed after experiencing business from both ends, as well as from sitting on both sides of the table (being a business owner/operator as well as an employee; a home owner/landlord as well as a renter; and I’ve been both financially poor and fairly successful.)
The irony is that when one has money and status ~ people seem to automatically trust you and often take your money with no questions asked. Heck, they seldom even check references! When I’ve been able to afford a 3-5 bedroom house, it was usually very easy and often times, worked on a handshake even. Yet, when you’re struggling to make ends meet, people seem very skeptical and want to question absolutely everything. This has been the difference with our search for low-income housing now (I guess, the owners/landlords have to put up with a lot more crap and dishonesty.) You could even be working two jobs and be as honest as they come yet, they’ll ask for your entire rolodex of references (calling every single one of them), 2-5 years of actual bank statements, and a stupid blood sample! Gee Whiz! What’s so ironic is that many “successful” people have obtained their wealth by illegal or immoral means (remember, that’s mostly what I worked with/exposed for the last 10 years) therefore, all of this seems to be somewhat backwards.
Anyways, we have viewed all kinds of places and witnessed many interesting situations during our search thus far. Much of the population seems to get by here, because of a willingness to do house shares. Personally, I’ve not had to share a home with anyone or take on a roommate for many years. I’m OK with doing it and even welcome the idea now that my daughters gone so much of the time, but I can be picky. Trust is a huge issue for us (as you can imagine) and while I love being social, our home has always been our sanctuary, so I’m not interested in uninvited guests, parties or drama.
While being low-income usually means we have to make a lot more compromises,
it doesn’t mean we have to lose our standards and there IS a difference!
Compromises and Standards
One of the last places we looked at (when we first got here) must have had about a dozen people living in it and could have been featured on the TV show called “Hoarders.” I’m not a fickle person, as we’ve had to stay in some grungy hotels before and that’s fine, but everyone has their limits. I’d say when you’re nearly knocked over by the gagging filthiness and stench of your surroundings, it’s not good! That is not an acceptable situation, nor is there any price which would make it tolerable. I can’t believe the people who actually thought I should accept the first thing that came along, no matter what the circumstances were, just because we are more in need right now.
My girl even made the comment after we left that we couldn’t afford to be picky right now and I agreed. However, there is a big difference between making compromises and giving up all of your standards. Personally, those were standards which I wouldn’t even accept for free and the renter knew it, because he tried extra hard to make me an offer I couldn’t refuse (this is the time to run… run very fast and very far my friends!) They say that everyone has a price ~ I never have however, or none that I’ve found yet, in either direction be it good or bad.
Back in the Day
We were quite poor growing up although, we probably didn’t have to be. My parents found out the hard way that using and dealing drugs isn’t always what the movies make it out to be. I remember them sometimes even trying to make a fun game of “dumpster diving” or “cops and robbers” whenever we had to scrap for food, cans and bottles, or steal something to survive. But, I’ll never forget the feeling deep inside of being thrown into the dumpster and made to sort through the trash. Not that it was beyond me, as I can survive with the best of them and am capable of doing what needs to be done, but I swore my own children would never know such poverty or dishonesty. That’s part of what has fueled me during the last 20 years and made me the survivor that I am today. Thinking back… my parents weren’t believers either and I think there is something to be said for having faith as well.
Pride verses Integrity
I absolutely believe that while we must make plenty of compromises and sacrifices, that does NOT mean we should lose all of our standards. Compromises require one to make choices, and give up or trade certain things in order to survive ~ Where as, giving up your standards means forsaking all wisdom as well.
I believe we are still to be discerning and have a responsibility to not knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way, even during times of struggle and hardship, if we can avoid it. How would things get any better if I chose to put myself in a situation that would clearly endanger us, make things worse, or surround us with less than honest people?
I don’t believe for a second that I’m supposed to compromise my integrity to such a degree, because once we do that, it means we have given up. I think only a person who has completely given up (on God, faith, and themselves) would go so far as to chuck all their standards into the trash can as well. That’s not pride my friends ~ It’s called integrity and self-respect. Those are a part of God’s character and we were created in His image, so it’s supposed to be a part of ours too.
And I have not given up! If life has taught me anything, if my story has taught you anything over these past couple of years, it is that I will not give up. I won’t do it, nor is it in my vocabulary.
Acceptance without Boundaries
Being a good Christian or decent person doesn’t mean we’re supposed to just blindly accept any situation or trust all people out of the goodness of our hearts either and it has taken me quite a few years to learn this. That’s because my most natural and personal instinct is to just love and accept everyone simply because they are God’s creation too, no different than me. However, this pure, honest, very worldly, all-encompassing nature of mine has gotten me into way more trouble than it’s worth, because it also lacked standards and boundaries. I had to learn the hard way that I can love and accept all people equally and even help many of them, but that doesn’t mean I should allow them into my life or within my personal circle. That doesn’t mean I should trust them enough to develop any kind of relationship with them even. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I should allow them or their situation to get close enough to me that their chaos seeps into my world. Often times, this means choosing not to even associate with certain types of people and that’s where it can be tough. Especially if you have relatives or business partners who are toxic.
Thinking about it logically even, why would you choose to bring harm or anything bad around those you love and really care about anyways? It’s your job to shield and protect them just like your Father in Heaven shields and protects you as His child. “Did you get that fellow believers?” You’d better believe that God wants us to love ourselves and those He gives us enough that we will protect them! It’s an awesome responsibility that comes hand in hand with the blessings my friends. It’s why I hold the same views regarding ‘arms and the right to carry’ even. It isn’t the guns that are bad, it’s the people who make bad choices regarding them. I do not hesitate to think for one second that my loving God and Father in Heaven doesn’t want me to protect all that He’s given and blessed me with (meaning my friends, family and home.)
Letting go of toxic people is not an act of cruelty.
It is an act of self-love.
Of course, the argument some people wish to make at this point is one of forgiveness and I agree! Yes, we absolutely need to learn how to forgive (so it doesn’t destroy “us”) but that still doesn’t mean we should let those people into our lives, especially if their actions don’t changed or they have an inability to recognize any wrong doing.
Forgiveness and grace do not, in any way,
void us of the responsibility of discerning or protecting.
those whom God has placed in our care.
My point is simple… Had we accepted and lowered our standards to the degree that it would have made our situation worse, there is no way we would have been in position to receive the wonderful blessing that we have. I think that’s what it means to be tried and tested… As we have faith and believe, just know that it’s Satan’s job to swoop right in and try to destroy it immediately. The bible teaches us this. The devil will try to distract and derail us in every way that he can and most often by disguising something bad as something good. You must be faithful and see it through although, that doesn’t mean forsaking all wisdom along the way either ~ It’s about learning how to discern, which then helps us to walk by faith (more about this later though!)
Writer’s Note: The Aftermath & Update
Now, I might add that the above living situation I described turned out to be a horrible one so that’s why I delayed in posting this. But, in the end I decided to try and piece it all together anyways, because it continues to be a really great example of living by faith. Even though this situation (not to mention a few things that have happened since then) didn’t turn out to be the blessing I thought it was, that doesn’t negate anything I’ve written. All of the concepts and principles are still the same. For, even something that proves to be negative has it’s time and purpose in our life.
*Personal ~ I want to thank my readers for continuing to check in even though I disappeared again. If you’re a regular, then you know what it means and that I’ve had to be busier behind the scenes again. I very much appreciate your emails and messages checking in with us, as well as your continued support and encouragement. Obviously, we didn’t reach the GoFundMe goal to work abroad in New Zealand, so I’ve ended that Campaign and just deleted everything that was associated with it. At least we’ve finally made it back to California though! And it’s OK, because for as much as we might try to plan things, God often times has something different for us just upon the horizon!