Chelsea and I decided that for our first post we would try and explain some of the major “rules” our family has decided to break. This is a sort of Riedy family manifesto. It’s a stream of consciousness. This is the starting place for our blog, and for the new direction, we want our family to take. The posts we write on this blog will all have something to do with this list. This is a list that will hopefully continue to change and grow.
We don’t have any of the following figured out yet, but we’re actively talking and learning about how to make these changes. This blog isn’t about our success. This is about our trial and errors, failures and drastic attempts along the way. It’s also a great source of accountability as we forge this new path for our family.
It might sound like a cliche, but the “American dream” has become the “American Nightmare.” If not a nightmare, it has at least become the “American stressful night of insomnia.” The average family in America has over 300,000 items in their home and over $16,000 in credit card debt. Chelsea and I found ourselves working extra because of this ingrained desire for bigger and more. We are sacrificing time with our family, time for fun and relaxation and other more meaningful things. As Christians, we are sacrificing time we should be spending radically loving other people, actively serving God and otherwise following his callings. After stressing about paying for our lifestyles, there is this overwhelming and deep stress of a life cluttered with things.
We have decided that money isn’t for accumulating things or hoarding it away. It’s DEFINITELY not for paying off debt. So we’ve decided to give it all away. That’s right. We’ve got a strategy to someday get to a point where we give away as close to 100% of our income as we can. We can’t wait to tell you more about that.
3. Work Work Work Work Work
I love my job. I mean I REALLY love my job, but I don’t want to do it forever. The rule society tells us to follow is that we work our way up in our profession for decades and someday retire at 65 (if we’re lucky) with the vast majority of our life behind us. We’ve already made some drastic changes so that Chelsea can stay home with our awesome new kid. We’ve got some crazy plans to leave our careers behind us and run off to some far off foreign mission field someday. If my employer is reading this, don’t worry, it’s a 10-year plan! 🙂 Stay tuned.
It’s pretty much a rule that good Christians are supposed to vote one way and one way only. That we are supposed to only care about two or three issues and ignore everything else. If you know me at all, you know I’ve been breaking that rule for a while! It is well past time for Christians to re-think our politics.
With the divorce rate inching over 50%, its now become the rule. Whole families are the exception. My wife and I don’t have a perfect marriage but are committed to breaking that rule. We define love as a commitment and a choice that lasts a lifetime. We want our family to be an unbreakable team.
We may or may not have gotten rid of the TV in our family room… but that is a whole different post! You and I both know that our lives are way too full of distractions. We might not have a TV in the family room, but we are still glued to our phones and computers at any given moment of the day. This distracted life is weighing on us more and more every day. I predict some big changes soon. I want more time for my friends, my wife, my daughter, and my faith. I want less of a weird, compelling, drug-addicted need to check my iPhone.
7. Radical Love
If I am known for anything, I want to be known for radical love. I know that’s not the case yet, but I hope it will be one day. Our modern culture is all inward focused. Our first and last thought are our self. We are individualistic and isolated. Chelsea and I have drawn a line in the sand. Our family is going to be radically committed to loving and serving people. The oppressed, the marginalized, different religions, different orientations, those who need Jesus and those who already have him, our friends, our family, our neighbors, and anyone else we can get our hands on.
*Insert record scratch here.* It’s as if our life’s soundtrack has been playing and all of a sudden, it’s screeched to a halt. We’re standing here on the dance floor, realizing we had no idea what we were doing, but simply going with the flow. Living life the way the world was simply because that’s how the world was doing life. We’ve allowed our society’s standards to subconsciously shape what’s “important” to us. We’ve woken up and we’re refocusing. People are important to us. Not money, not materials, not work. We’re ready to put in the effort to make our lifestyle line up with our hearts.
Can you think of anything we are missing? Let us know in the comments.