Choosing Freedom: Escaping the Consumerism Myth

Jun 9, 2015, Written by Sue Miley

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Before we left on vacation last week we (my husband and I) were considering several complex life decisions.  Decisions which have the potential to steal our freedom.  If we choose wrong.  I guess everyone’s definition of freedom is different. However, statistics show that financial concerns are one of humanities’ largest forms of discontent.

Financial concerns rip holes through relationships like a machine gun.

Caustic relationships feel like incarceration, the opposite of freedom.

I have learned this lesson before.  A couple of times actually.  I refuse to learn the hard way again.

What The Corporate World Showed Me

When I was in the corporate world, our income was staggering for our age.  Our stuff grew proportionately.  The inverse to our income and stuff was our time.  We had traded our time for work and didn’t have enough left over to enjoy our income or stuff.

God didn’t intervene.  He didn’t have to.  He waited on the sidelines.  He just knew, in His wisdom that the lesson would be better learned as a consequence.

My consequence was burnout.  Burnout and loss of freedom.

I found my way to God finally and His ways freed me.  He freed me from the corporate world and all of my stuff when we downsized our life 14 years ago.

It wasn’t about minimalism that I write about often from afar.

Our excess was too great to call the remains minimalist.

It was transformational, though.

It allowed me to make new choices in life.  Choices for following God and focusing on my family.

Shifting Our Focus

We downsized.  Focused on our family and church.  I went back to school and started my own practice as a counselor.

Days became about carpool and horses and painting and playing.

Many people worry that if you give up the high income, and all of the stuff, your stress will increase.  That is a myth.  At least for me.  I was really aggravated at myself for waiting so long.  I listened to Satan telling me that my identity was in my career and my success was measured by my salary and promotions.

Yet, after the change, I was much happier, much less stressed, and felt like I was someone God could actually use for His purposes.

The story doesn’t end, though.  Like I said, the world creeps in.  Being the Type A girl God created me to be, I was going to be simple on purpose.  I had a vision in my head that simple meant country.  Land, horses, vegetables and my family.

So I made it a purpose to get all of those things.  Soon we were paying for 24 acres of land across three properties, a new tractor, private schools, and a counselor’s income.  We were fine living off of my husband’s salary until I pulled this stunt.

It wasn’t as bad as the corporate world, but when the post traumatic stress of the corporate burnout surfaced, I shut it down fast.  As fast as you can unload two separate properties of raw land in places that you can’t put up a sign.

Another several years and we were finally out of the pickle.

This meant freedom again.

This provided choices.

Moving Forward

I was able to go back to focusing on the calling God was pulling me to.  My practice expanded from helping people find God’s path for their lives to helping Christians in business build successful businesses on a foundation of their Christian values.  Both coexist under one roof.  Simply.

My kids are all in college now.  I can work more.  I can spend more.

The world is like a magnet.  Pulling me back to the myth.

A new house.

A pool.

When only last week my husband and I fantasized about paying off our house note.  Having less need for cash flow and more choices — freedom.

We could do it soon, too.  If we choose wisely.  If we don’t succumb to the magnetic pull.

As I hike through the mountains, sit on a horse again, and bask in the freedom of being able to take my whole family – six adults now, a grand baby, and two dogs – on a fabulous week enjoying God’s creation, I am thankfully reminded that it is only through Him that we find peace, love, and purpose.

[Tweet “All of the money, stuff, and chaos do not equal important in God’s economy.”]

Hopefully this time, I will save myself the difficult path to God’s perfect plan and just follow Him.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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