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The Freedom Not To Grow Mung Beans

I am in the middle of reading one of the most awesome memoirs, which is really a series of blog posts, that I will probably ever read. The author may be better known as her blog name, “Journey Mama.” The book is Trees As Tall As Mountains, and if you happen to be a woman who has dealt with her own mental illness while raising children (heck, is there such a thing as a mother who is completely sane?), I cannot recommend this book more highly for its insight, encouragement, and faith-building words.

But I didn’t start this blog post to do a book review. Something I just read in her book spoke to me so loudly that I had to put it down and share my thoughts.

Here’s what Rachel was writing about: a twenty-eight hour long power outage, in which she has a revelation that she loves electricity, and all the appliances that go with it. She makes the confession that she would make a lousy pioneer.

Why would that make such an impact on me? As I was listening to the book (I almost always listen because reading makes me so tired), I was shelling mung beans. I ended up not harvesting very many – probably just enough for two salads, once sprouted. But here’s the thing: I did not water any of the mung bean plants this summer.

Not once.

They are extremely drought tolerant, and I wasn’t about to bust my hind end watering One More Thing (and in the case of the beans, it was more like thirty-six more things. At least). However, as I picked the beans that I did, I noticed that many of the pods had not developed properly. Then, as I sat there shelling the beans, I noticed that many of the pods that looked healthy released shriveled up and deformed beans.

And there was Rachel Ford, talking about not being pioneer material.

I looked at the (dozens) of pods left in the bags. I looked at the pathetic beans in the bowl. I thought about how extremely cheap mung beans are to purchase, even the organic ones.

And I decided that I was not self-sufficient-in-food material.

Oh, and did I tell you that I ended up ripping out all of the plants a couple of weeks after that first harvest? When I knew I could have gotten at least two more harvests among all the plants over the next two months?

The mung beans are just a symbol…

I haven’t blogged for so long, that you don’t know about the revelation I had this summer:

God did not call my husband and I to try to be self-sufficient in food.

Let me be even more specific:

God never called me to try to grow a huge garden. The calling on both our lives revolves around writing (and, in Jerry’s case, I believe painting as well. But I think Father’s going to have to use a club to get that through his head).

We also have a child to raise.

But the long and short of it is, every single step we have taken to establish the garden, as well as to purchase and plant fruit trees/bushes/vines, has felt like getting our teeth pulled.

Yes, I can be very clueless and stubborn sometimes, thank you very much!

Walking into my purpose

Very soon, I am going to be writing about the purpose to which Father has called me at this point in my life. For now, let it be known that letting go of the need to be perfect has freed my mind to live without my own, heavy yokes.

Such as trying to be self-sufficient in food. Especially dirt-cheap food like beans.

And as those yokes fell off, my mind was suddenly clear enough to see that there are many “right” ways of living. And for most people, any of those ways will work, as long as they are walking out the purpose on their lives.


…it’s okay to have electricity – even (SHOCK!) to be on the grid.

…it’s okay to depend on other people for your sustenance.

…it’s okay to spend money on nice clothes.

…it’s okay to drive a BMW (uh, not that we ever would, but I’m just saying – the judgment against expensive cars has gone).

…it’s okay to travel by plane.

…it’s even okay if you choose to bottle feed your baby! (I can’t tell you what it takes for me to write that – like somebody yanking a rope out of my insides!).

Freedom is sometimes in the eye of the beholder

I once watched a video about some guy who was totally off-grid and (I think) living in a tiny house. He probably grew his own mung beans, too. I remember how someone commented below the video that this guy had REAL freedom.

She can believe whatever she wants. And if Rachel and I tried to talk her down from her high horse, she probably wouldn’t listen.

I know, because I used to think exactly like that commenter.

So we won’t try to talk to her. We will simply continue walking in our freedom. Rachel, her freedom to use electricity. I, my freedom to look forward to a monthly Whole Foods visit (and occasional calls to place an order with Sunorganic.com).

Okay, and to use electricity and a car and a computer and so on, but you know what I mean.

We have the true freedom that comes from knowing our Creator. And that’s more important than trying to live anyone’s ideal of the perfect life (which, of course, does not exist).

P.S. – I supposed I should tell you: upon hearing Rachel’s words about not being a pioneer, I promptly tossed the mung beans aside. Later, I dumped them all in the woods.

Freedom, people, freedom!

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