I’m not a big fan of the “tiny house movement.”
Part of this is due to having to uproot and move so many times in the ministry and military (more than thirty times). My hopes of finally being able to settle down do not align well with living in a 100-square-foot house on wheels.
Why Tiny Houses?
I also have my doubts about the motives of people who choose to live in tiny homes. Advocates of tiny homes proclaim that the movement represents a rejection of materialism, a desire to live more simply and prudently, and an attempt to have less impact on the environment. I’m sure this represents the motives of many tiny house owners.
But among some I see other motives at work. Tiny houses offer a sort of “comfortable homelessness” to people who wish to live off the grid. While their tiny home remains on wheels, the owner does not have to pay property taxes. They can also avoid utility costs and other fees by parking on the property of friends and relatives or on public lands. Plus, for that introvert in all of us, the confining space of a tiny house keeps visitors away.
But the big draw for tiny homes is the disconnected lifestyle it offers. Many “tiny homers” want to be free of the obligations of citizenship. They want to escape the “burden” of having to contribute to society. They want to come and go as they please, like Gypsies.
Downside to Tiny Houses
Recent events, however, revealed an unforeseen vulnerability of tiny houses. They can be stolen. It happened just recently to Meghan Panu, who had her tiny home parked in a suburb of St. Louis. She posted desperate pleas on social media for anyone who had seen the eight-by-twelve-foot home to contact her. Fortunately, police located her home only thirty miles west of the city.
There are certainly other downsides to the tiny house lifestyle. For instance, fears that tiny house communities may become nothing more than “shanty towns” is causing many towns to enact new zoning laws against them. Tiny houses on wheels are as vulnerable to wind storms as any RV trailer. Without any foundation to secure them, tiny houses can be easily tumbled or hurled by hurricanes and tornadoes. They constitute the proverbial “house built upon sand.”
A Disconnected Life
In a way the tiny house lifestyle pictures the dangers of a life without commitments and obligations. The person who loves their independence so much that they never commit to long-term relationships is destined for loneliness. The man or woman whose goals are only to take care of “number one” is far more vulnerable to health problems, both physical and mental. The person who goes without obligations and discipline in their lives disintegrates.
God created us to thrive by the very things we typically try to avoid—family commitments and social responsibilities. It’s kind of like a kite. The adverse winds and the string that tethers it down actually cause it to rise. Without these “burdens” the kite tumbles to the ground. On a national level a lack of commitment can bring disaster to a nation in times of crisis. Those European countries which tried to remain neutral during WWII were the first to be overrun by the Nazis.
A Christian Response
Never confuse your desire to escape responsibility with a noble quest to “downsize” and simplify your life. All of us need responsibility, obligations, and purpose in order to function properly. Being footloose and fancy free is not the path to happiness. Life crumbles under such pressure-less circumstances.
Psalm 55 describes King David’s yearning to escape the pressures and pain of the position God had called him to fulfill. He expressed the desire to “fly away and be at rest.” But he knew such an escape would be disastrous. Instead, David found relief by “casting his burden upon the LORD” (Ps. 55:22). The apostle Peter also told us to “cast all our care upon God, for He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). Don’t seek to escape your responsibilities. Simply ask God to shoulder them for you. With you and God working together, you will not only accomplish the mission. You will thrive and grow by fulfilling your obligations.
Dear Father in heaven, for Your sake I face the obligations and responsibilities You have called me to. Empower me to shoulder the burden and cause me to grow through these challenges. Amen.
Information from: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2018/12/19/Missouri-womans-stolen-tiny-home-found-30-miles-away/8951545256756/#ixzz5aETONI8B
In article photo: Tiny house in yard, Portland by Tammy licensed under CC BY 2.0