Let’s face it. The world is a crazy place, and it’s getting crazier by the minute. Between nuclear disaster, endless wars, pandemic disease, the collapse of the dollar, worldwide food shortages, and various and sundry governments (city, county, state, federal, the UN – you name it) that all want to get in your pockets and run your life, sometimes things can feel pretty hopeless from a little guy’s perspective. And believe me, I’m a ‘little’ guy. Between myself and my wife, we ‘control’ four children, a medium sized house, and almost an acre of land in a small town in Eastern Tennessee. Flyover country. Governments don’t ask us for advice, although if they did I’m quite sure I could point them in the right direction on a few things (as most of you could). They don’t care what we think. They know how to destroy this country and they are doing it quite effectively, thank you very much.
Most people, when confronted with information about just how far gone we are morally, politically and economically (you know, that gargantuan sized debt that nobody ‘up there’ seems to be willing to do anything about), choose to stick their heads in the sand. What football game is on tonight? Who is winning American Idol? What fast food restaurant can we go to for dinner? Anything to keep the ‘normalcy bias’ intact, because we all want to believe, deep down, that things will always continue as they have. Those of us who study these things in some depth, however, feel like we have good reason to believe differently. And that makes us quite uncomfortable.
So here we sit, the six of us, on our small piece of land in God’s country, itching for some way to take back some control from the chaos that surrounds us, to feel some piece of mind even though so many things could go wrong. In our experience, we believe there are two aspects to this. First and most importantly, realize that God is in control and, while we are limited, He is limitless. This is a fact, but this is also where most Christians would probably stop. Since God is in control we aren’t responsible to do anything, right? We can go to church, praise Jesus, then come home and stick our heads back in the sand, right?
God gave us the ability to discern the potential ramifications of, for example, the debt crisis eventually collapsing the dollar, or food shortages and natural disasters (drought) eventually driving grain prices through the roof. God doesn’t expect us to pretend that stuff doesn’t exist, to pretend that all will always be well for us. After all, one could point to hundreds if not thousands of examples in Christian history where things have been difficult. Why are we different? He gave us a head on our shoulders for a reason, to use! We, as Christians, are supposed to be His hands and feet on this earth, to exercise Kingdom authority as Christ’s ambassadors. Christians should have never gotten out of politics, and they should certainly have never gotten out of preparing their families for contingencies that could occur. What our grandparents took for granted as a lifestyle (preparedness), society today considers outside the ‘mainstream.’ While we look for the Lord’s return with all other Christians throughout history, we should never take our hands from the plow.
And that leads us to our second aspect – turn your home into a homestead. What is a homestead? There are many perspectives. To some, unless you have a fully functional farm complete with cows, pigs, and a rooster for your morning wake-up call (we have the kids – no rooster needed!) you don’t have a homestead. To us, a homestead is a work in progress, somewhere on the line between being completely ‘asleep’ with a few day’s worth of groceries in the pantry (if that), and being ‘awake’ and actually doing something about it. We can’t prepare for everything, but we can prepare for something. We can’t buy everything we need or would like to have, but we can add a little at a time, every so often, to help us get where we want to be.
In short, homesteading is a lifestyle. It’s the process of changing your home from just a ‘dwelling place’ into a functioning unit that can contribute to helping your family, right now, even if times don’t get hard (and especially if they do!) Every time we buy a blueberry bush and plant it in our landscaping instead of some other non-producing but pretty plant, we are homesteading. Every time we buy extra food to put away for a ‘rainy day,’ we are homesteading. When we get and stay out of debt, we are homesteading. When we grow something in the garden, or plant a fruit tree, we are homesteading. When we add rain barrels to water our growing collection of useful plants for free, we are homesteading. In suburbia. One step at a time. One plant or two a week, a few extra cans each shopping trip, pretty soon you have something.
There are limitless possibilities, and it’s both daunting and exciting. We have friends who are a lot farther along than we are. When we visit them we are amazed and sometimes even a bit discouraged that we aren’t as far as we would like to be. Friends who aren’t as far as we are in this process say the same thing to us. But it’s not about how far along the path you are, it’s about whether or not you are even making the journey. As the old saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Each time we put extra food in the pantry or accomplish any of the countless aspects of homesteading, we feel like we are taking back a tiny granule of control from the chaos around us. I know a tornado could hit tomorrow and blow it all away (if God allows it!). But we are going to do everything within our God-given power to be sure our family is prepared for what could come, to make our home a homestead.
PS – If you are interested in what we are doing, please consider helping us grow our brand-new FB page by ‘liking’ us on Facebook (see the box to the right of this page). If you do, we’ll enter you in our contest!