Hi, my name is Lora, and I live in a mobile home. That may seem like a strange way to introduce this topic, but sometimes I feel like people think I belong in a self-help program due to where we live. As I was talking to a friend today, this topic came up and we began discussing some common misconceptions. She shared that she used to feel that the stereotypical person who lived in a mobile home was someone who was poor, unhappy, and had no hope of a better life. She doesn’t think we fit the stereotype. Many also hold to the redneck view of those who live in mobile homes. It also seems that some believe that where you live is directly linked to your IQ. My hope is to share my thoughts on this, and clear up some of the misconceptions.
Living in a mobile home is not something that was thrust upon us like a rare disease. It was a choice. When we sold our house in Louisiana and were planning our move to Houston, many things played in our decision to buy a mobile home, not the least of which was price. The idea of having a high mortgage was unappealing to us. We also had plans to move to the country one day, and having a mobile home would play into that. For the last 7 years, we have lived in a very nice mobile home park near Houston. There are many parks that are run down and trashy looking, but those are not for us. Our park is a very safe and clean neighborhood. It has many of the same rules as the surrounding neighborhoods and their HOAs.Alternative housing is becoming quite the trend, and there are many unique and cool options. I’ve probably considered each of them at some point. Underground homes are safe from storms, and keep a constant temperature. Strawbale homes have great R-factors and are quite lovely. Rammed earth, and papercrete homes are inexpensive. Container homes are inexpensive and unique, and yurts are just plain cool. I have considered all of these. In fact, the other day I was telling Gene all about my current choice. When he suggested we just move our mobile home to land and be free in clear in a few years, I balked, saying, “I don’t want to live in a mobile home for the rest of my life.” After he went to work, I felt very convicted about what I had said. Why was I willing to live in a yurt or a container home, which you must confess are quite unconventional, but not a mobile home? I realized that I was allowing other people’s stereotypes to dictate my choices. Alternative houses are cool…mobile homes, not so much, at least in the mind of others.
You would be surprised at how many express pity for us. Four of the five girls share a bedroom, and are quite happy doing so, though some people don’t seem to understand this. One time after a few families had gathered at a friend’s new house where each of their children had their own room, I was asked, “Does it bother your girls to be at someone’s nice house where all of the children have their own room?” At first I was confused by the question, then I assured my friend that it didn’t bother the girls in the least. Afterward I began to doubt. What if it really did bother them? what if they felt like poor, neglected children? So, I sat the girls down and asked them the question as it had been put to me. Their faces were priceless. They were completely befuddled as to why I would ask such an absurd question. I explained it to them, and they stated emphatically that they had no problems. They couldn’t understand why they should want what someone else had, instead of what the Lord provided for them. I have also had people say that they hope I’m not uncomfortable at their “house” since I don’t have one. It doesn’t bother me in the least to be at someone’s “nice” home… until they begin to pity me.
As a family, we look at our circumstances not in comparison to those around us, but in comparison to those within the world. A large percentage of people in the world would be praising God if they had a home as nice as ours. We have two bathrooms, running water, & A/C. We also live in one of the safest environments in the world. As Christians, should we be making our standard the standard of the west? For that matter, should we compare what the Lord has provided for us to anyone else?Last Sunday, Pastor Voddie preached from Matthew 6. He talked about how we should not allow our worldly possessions to rule us and be the focus of our concern. In his sermon, he told of a person he spoke to in Africa who thought it must be terribly hard to be a Christian in the U.S.. They felt that all of the material possessions would be a great distraction from the things of the Lord, and limit our ability to focus on Him. This was a very thought provoking statement for me. I don’t know how many times I have asked the Lord why He blessed me so much to allow me to be born in America. This person’s statement made me re-think my feelings, and look at material goods as a hindrance instead of a blessing. In American Christendom, I have seen the tendency to lift up those within the church who live affluently (in many cases beyond their means) and put them in positions of leadership, thinking them to be spiritually superior, all the while not considering the person of low estate to be a person of character and integrity. It’s as if they believe that being a success in business equates Spiritual success. Isn’t that the opposite of how we should be looking at things?But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. James 1:9-11
I am thankful for all that the Lord has provided for us. He has given us a sound roof over our head, walls to protect us from the elements, and much love to fill the rooms of our house. We are blessed beyond anything we deserve. I don’t want anyone to pity our circumstance. We are happy and content where we are. My name is Lora, and I contentedly live in a mobile home.