It all started with a picture and comment my friend and coworker, Connie, put on Facebook.
I like my little “Living With Less So Your Family Has More” car, but honestly I get razzed about it all the time. “What CEO drives a 23 year old car?” I’ve been asked dozens of times, along with other comments and questions like, “Don’t you think it’s time for you to get a grown-up car, Jill?” or “If you add water, maybe it will grow!”
The other day at a speaking engagement, my assistant and I pulled the boxes of books out and didn’t shut the back hatch. We noticed it when we got inside the church. Someone said, “Don’t you have a button on your keychain to close it?” My assistant Mel said with a smile, “There’s nothing automatic on that car…you even have to crank the windows up and down!”
So in the midst of being teased about my little old Mitsubishi Mirage, you can see why it was nice to read Connie’s positive comment.
I’m also fine with the green gingham wallpaper I hung in our kitchen in 1997. It’s not falling off the walls. There’s nothing wrong with it. It covers the rough plaster walls in our 100 year old farmhouse we live in.
Then there’s the bathrobe I had for nearly 30 years. No holes. It wasn’t even threadbare. But my family insisted I needed a new one.
My ability to be content with what I have is most often seen as something bad. Something negative. Something that indicates that I’m not “up with the times.”
But last week when my friend Connie put the above post on Facebook, it was my friend Marianne Miller’s comment that just blessed my heart in a huge way. She said, “Someone gave Jill “The Gift of Enough.” She was actually referring to the title of her new book, but I read it in a different way. I read it as “Someone gave Jill the gift of enough.”
When I read those words that way, I wanted to cry. Happy tears. Tears of relief that my old car, my dated wallpaper, and my purple bathrobe were okay. They were simply representative of something inside of me that says that “enough is okay.” And I can tell you who gave that gift to me…my mom and my dad. I grew up with “enough.” Not more than enough…just enough.
Marianne also indicated that it was her father who gave her the gift of enough when she shared this story in her comment, “My dad’s car got towed once from the vice-president’s spot because no one thought his rusted car could be a vice-president’s car.”
I. LOVE. THAT.
Years ago when I traveled to El Salvador with Compassion International, our trip leader asked the question, “What is the opposite of poverty?” Most of us in the group answered, “Wealth.” The tour leader corrected us that actually the opposite of poverty is “enough.” Enough food in your tummy that you don’t go to bed hungry. Enough healthcare that you don’t have a family member who dies of a disease that could have been prevented.
Honestly, we all live with more than enough. Even those of us who were given “the gift of enough” and drive old cars and lived in outdated furnishings. We even have more than enough.
Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying it’s bad if you’re driving a new car or just redecorated your kitchen (we actually are planning on stripping wallpaper and painting our kitchen this summer). That’s not the point.
Today I just want to affirm others who are content with enough and withstand their fair share of criticism for not having “up-to-date” items.
Today I want to affirm those parents who are concerned that they can’t give their kids a trip to Disney or the opportunity to go to any college they want. I want you to know that you are giving your children “the gift of enough” and that is powerful.
And I want to encourage us all to consider what “enough” looks like and recognize that we really live with “more than enough” each and every day.
Do you have something you live with everyday that is not the latest and greatest but is simply “enough?” I’d love to hear about it!
I’m giving away a copy of Marianne’s book The Gift of Enough: Raising Grateful Kids in a Culture of Excess.
Leave a comment before noon on Friday 5/29/15 to be entered into the drawing!