Once upon a time, I was an ordinary housewife, living in suburbia with my minivan and my green grass and my bushes. I was normal. Or at least on the outside. But on the inside, I was lost. Because while I was doing everything I thought I was supposed to do, I was never really happy, and I couldn’t figure out why!
It was a vague sort of unhappiness. I loved my house and my husband, my kids and my community. But I felt out-of-place somehow. I wanted a life that inspired me. One that made me want to jump out of bed in the morning. But I dismissed these thoughts, because I figured it wasn’t normal to expect mountaintop experiences on a regular basis! Some parts of life are going to be just plain dull, right?
Through my time as a full-time traveler, I have become thoroughly convinced of one thing. God has a plan for all of us that involves earth-shattering, mind-blowing awe-inspiring experiences. It requires risk and will challenge ever fiber of your willpower. But it is there. Waiting for you. In your own unique story, on your own unique path and in your own unique ways, you were created for greatness.
If you are stuck in a rut, and longing to feel the joy that comes from living out your true purpose, here are five things that were keeping me from mine. Perhaps they are keeping you from yours as well.
I know firsthand the debilitating effect fear can have on a person. But over time, I realized that favoring fear over growth was robbing me of a fully-lived life. It does that to all of us to some degree. When we feel fear, it is often because we have an opportunity for growth. Embracing that opportunity is hard, but it is only then that we start to see our own potential, and live the life we were truly meant to live.
Something about having possessions makes us feel safe. We acquire and accumulate, to the point of overfilling closets, stuffing garages and even sometimes renting out storage units. Then eventually, we seek out ways to organize our stuff, spending more time and money to organize things that we really don’t need and wouldn’t miss! The insanity of it all!
I was so overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” I had when we downsized our life, that I resolved never to buy anything unless I absolutely needed it and totally loved it. It has completely changed my life. I see now that most material possessions are just money and time-sucking distractions that cause us to lose focus on what is truly important. The more we can move away from our attachment with “things” the better equipped we will be to embrace a joyful life.
Dave Ramsey once said “the larger your debt, the smaller your life”. I believe that to be true. We are a family of seven with a budget of $4,000 per month, and because we own our home-on-wheels, we are able to use that money to travel the country and have an amazing joy-filled life! Our life is much bigger than it was when we were living on twice that much, but racked with debt!
#4 The Joneses
For the first 30+ years of my life, I measured my success by the approval of my peers. I lived in a brand new house in suburbia with a green lawn, a shiny car and fancy neighbors. But I was never really happy…partly because I was in debt up to my eyeballs trying to impress the Joneses, but also because I wasn’t listening to my own inner voice that had been urging me to choose a different path. I was going through the motions trying to be what I thought I was supposed to be.
Eventually, we took a good hard look at what was in our hearts and what was best for our children, and decided to pursue our dream. Ever since downsizing our lives to a 400 square foot 5th wheel to pursue a full-time travel experience, I have felt the kind of joy that brings tears to my eyes on a regular basis. Good tears, happy tears. It has not been without it’s challenges, but I now feel at home more than I ever have before. The moral of this story? We are not all cut from the same cloth, and when we try to make ourselves like others, we rob ourselves of the joy that comes from living out our own unique purpose. I think it’s time to ditch the Joneses!
One of the big questions I get when I talk about following our dreams, is from folks who have yet to discover what their big dream is! They are frustrated, because they want to experience a joy-filled life, but they don’t know how to find their center. I can relate. It took me 40 years to finally start listening to my own heart and realize what I was supposed to be doing. I think if I could go back in time and speak to my 20-year-old self, I’d tell her to spend time each day writing down what brought her the most peace and contentment each day. Don’t ignore those feelings, because over time, if you pay attention, you’ll see a pattern that will help lead you to your path. The trick is to simply set aside time to focus.
If you’d like to learn more about our decision to Ditch the Joneses, you can follow us on Instagram!