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  • Natalie Maxwell

Not buyin it.

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

This past weekend Ryan and I did something we've been wanting to do with the kids for quite some time...


but before I tell you about it, here's a little backstory. A couple years ago Ryan and I watched a documentary on Netflix called, "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" and God really used it to challenge us and to change us. The months following our random late night selection we got rid of anything in our 1,500 square foot house that we didn't

1. Use on a semi regular basis

2. Really enjoy or

3. Didn't foster a sense of togetherness (how we justified our huge collection of board games haha).

We went from being frustrated about the size of our house, focusing on all of the reasons it wasn't ideal for our family and painstakingly planning our next move to realizing how blessed we were to live there and pretty much losing all desire to move.


When we started to really challenge our cultural entitlement mindset and began to see the benefits of living with less and the fruit of contentment, Ryan and I started having conversations about how we wanted to be more mission minded in how we modeled and taught this way of living to our children. We took a good hard look at the world our kids are growing up in, how the message to consume is everywhere, and we started to ask ourselves the question.


How can we combat this message in our children's hearts? How can we teach our children it's better to live with less than to constantly chase after the mirage of more?

It's been two years of our 5 kiddos watching us model living with less (we're still happily living in that little house we couldn't wait to get out of) and nugget conversations with each of them (Our oldest is the most grateful human you will ever meet and most days we're the ones learning from him in this area) about earning money, being stewards, giving, contentment, and gratitude and we'll continue to have those conversations hopefully for the rest of their lives, but sometimes a good visual example can speak volumes so we had talked about taking our kids on a little field trip with us.


I knew it was the right time because the other night I found our 4 youngest huddled around a Target magazine that had arrived in our mailbox, filled with every kind of toy imaginable. I saw how their eyes glistened with excitement with the turn of every page, how they drew circles around the toys that peaked their desires, along with their exclamations of "I want this" and "I'm going to get that for Christmas." and it filled me with a mix of emotions. On one hand it brought me happy nostalgic feelings because I remember doing the same thing when I was their age and I can still recall the excitement and anticipation of it all, but it also made me weary because it reminded me how strong the message is to consume, to have, to own things in our culture and although we really try to keep that message out of our home, it so easily finds it's way in when we're least expecting it.


So the arrival of the Target Christmas (it's not even November yet!!) catalog reminded us once again this year of our need to be ever so intentional to send our children a different message then the one they receive from the world.


Enter our first family outing to our local landfill.


I've visited this place on numerous occasions as it seems we are always finishing up some kind of house project and the welcoming of new usually requires the disposal of the old. I enjoy throwing things away. I really do!! I find the process of chucking items out of my vehicle, then driving away with emptiness where there once was clutter very cathartic and rewarding. Ryan has found my relationship with the landfill really odd, but I kept telling him that one of these times he and the kids need to come with me and take it all in for themselves.


We knew our kids would find the mountains of garbage and the bulldozers that constantly drive around moving said garbage absolutely fascinating, but more than the fascination we were hoping that we could use this family outing as a way to further walk down the conversation about contentment vs. the love of stuff. Also with Christmas around the corner we figured now was the absolute best time.

We really could only fit one old metal patio table in our minivan since it's already filled to capacity with children, but we stuck it in between them and off we went. We ended up paying $5 to dispose of that one small table, but we figured that's a small price to pay for a life lesson, right?


They look thrilled don't they?

Once we pulled into the landfill they all started squealing with excitement. They couldn't believe that people had made mountains out of garbage! One of the highlights was seeing a big boat just perched up on the side of this trash mound.



This is when we turned the radio down and began to explain to them that everything they saw once belonged to someone, this was stuff that once took up space in someones mind (we spend a lot of time thinking about things don't we?) and once took up space in someones house or yard, once was something that someone spent money (sometimes a lot of it!) on. "Everything we own guys will eventually break. Nothing you can own will last forever and that's why God tells us to be really careful about what we focus our hearts and our money on. What does God want us to focus our hearts and money on? Stuff or people? Five little voices from the back of our mini van resounded at the same time with a truth that is so much easier to say then it is to live out loud.



But that is what the Mission Minded Life is all about, it's about striving to live with an eternity perspective and a daily passion. It's a life of intentionality. A life that rejects the lies of this world and embraces the promises that outlive our last breath. For our family that looks like living differently than the culture outside of our door and one of the ways we do that is by choosing to live with less so we can give with more.


My hope and prayer for this blog and all that it will become is that by sharing our story and the things God has taught us along the way, He would encourage and inspire others to seek mission minded living (whatever that may look like for your family). And for those of us who have little eyes on us, that we would find encouragement from each other to live this out bravely and therefore send our children a message in our homes that speaks louder than the one they receive outside of it's doors. #missionmindedmotherhood Let's raise kids who aren't buyin' it. The blaring message of consumerism that is, but also so much more.


This will be somewhat of a lifestyle blog as I don't tend to separate the mundane from the miraculous parts of life, but rather believe there's glory and growth to be found in all of it, if we're looking. So if this sounds like something that you want to be a part of, something that could add value to your life, subscribe and share with your friends.


See you next monday!

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