Why I Don’t Have a Mac Book

Last summer I read Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God by Art and Thom Rainer.   Next I read Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt.   Then I read them both again.   And I re-read Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster for the umpteenth time.   But when I read Foster’s book following the other two, my attention was drawn to a chapter I’d never focused on before … Simplicity.

As I read Foster’s words on what simplicity is and what it isn’t, I knew God was teaching me something fresh … something powerful … and I continued my study.   In fact, all that studying led me to my one word for this year:  Simple.

One portion of Foster’s book has been especially helpful to me in clarifying some truths about simplicity and how to grow in this Discipline.   He offers “ten controlling principles for the outward expression of simplicity” and over the next ten weeks, we’ll spend Wednesdays looking at each of them.  As we do so, I hope to find greater clarity about what the Lord is teaching me and perhaps this will be an encouragement to you as well.   One reminder from Foster as we examine these principles:

They should never be viewed as laws but as only one attempt to flesh out the meaning of simplicity for today. (90)

Principle 1:  Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.

As the wife of a technology gadget guy and a burgeoning gadget freak myself, this principle really challenges me!   Perhaps some of my long-time readers will remember that my smart phone got dropped in a cup of Coke at a baseball game and I had to use an old “ghetto phone” for over a year.   I have to admit, I hated it!  I liked the status of having a “cool phone” and the ability to do all the fun stuff I could do with it.   Going back to an old phone that I could just talk and text on … well, it stunk!  Yeah, we could have bought another cool phone but, at the time, that would not have been wise financially for us.   So I used the clunky old phone … for over a year.

And guess what?  In the end … it didn’t make one bit of difference!  No one really cared what kind of phone I have … and eventually, neither did I.   In fact, when we switched carriers this past fall, I got the non-blackberry, non-smart phone.   Yeah, I have internet on my phone again and I do enjoy that … but I learned a valuable lesson:   I tend to allow my gadgets and technology to matter too much.

Would I like an iPad or a Mac Book … sure!  Do I need either of those things?  Nope!  In fact, I keep asking myself why I want them … and it’s certainly not because I need the functionality of either of them.  I’m not into graphic design or video editing … I want a Mac Book because they’re cool. Status.   Ouch.

Is there anything wrong with others having a Mac Book?  Not at all.  Enjoy yours if you have one!  My husband certainly does enjoy his!

But this lesson is filtering into other areas of my life … Where do I want to vacation?  What kind of car do I drive?  How will I educate my child?   What kind of Bible do I use?  What blogs do I follow?   What books do I read?

Learning to live in simplicity requires learning to evaluate ourselves and our motives carefully. And I’m finding that to be a very challenging concept.

What are your thoughts on this principle?   Do you buy things for their usefulness rather than their status?   Have you ever thought about this idea before?

{Please note, links to these books are affiliate links.}

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. It is a slippery slope and the gadgets can really get you if you don’t watch out. I regret that I wanted and got the Smart Pen last year. I really, really wanted it. I really don’t use it. If I were to go back to school, I think I would live with it in my hand permanently. But for what I do, it is not necessary. My job may begin to require some research and I will probably use it if that pans out, but could do the research without it. I have to be so careful because for the first time in my life, I really can afford some of the things I just want…and I have to remember that just because I can afford them doesn’t mean I need them.

  2. I’m grappling with this very thing right now. I want a WordPress blog! My stats don’t warrant the switch, and I’m not trying to make money from my blog, so there is no really good reason to switch. But in my mind WordPress is a “big girl’s” blog and I want to feel grown up. I keep looking at themes and dreaming. I have a big birthday coming up, so perhaps it can be my birthday present! But I do wish I had a better reason than just feeling like a big girl.
    Shelli @ Hopefully Devoted recently posted…The Words I DreamMy Profile

  3. Hi Terri! I found you through Sarah Mae. This is a very interesting subject and one that I’ve been reading about a bit. I just got the book “Pure Pleausre: Why Do Christians feel so bad about feeling good?” by Gary Thomas. It is SO excellent!

    He might add that the macbook/ipad, is something that would bring pleasure into your life and that isn’t all bad!! He makes so many points to the fact that Christians try to deny, deny, deny and never fill up. When that happens, we become spiritually thirsty, then going to drink from something nasty. I’ve highlighted pretty much the whole book, but I totally recommend reading it!!

    (Of course, he addresses doing this in healthy doses, making sure you are still giving to the church and other things so he’s not total extreme here.)

    Anyway! My 2 cents!

    • Clare, so glad you stopped by! Don’t you love Sarah Mae? I am a huge Gary Thomas fan and have read that book. In fact, it was reading Gary Thomas’ writings that spurred my interest in the classical spiritual disciplines. I appreciate your insight and agree there is nothing wrong with having things that bring us pleasure. The danger can come in using those things to fill a void in our lives intended to be filled by God.

      The Discipline of Simplicity isn’t so much about denial and it is about questioning our motives and desires and retraining our minds to seek Him first and wholly. I do hope you’ll join me for the next few weeks as we look at all ten of these principles. I’d love to have your input in the discussion.

  4. The discipline of simplicity is connected if not the same as being content. Just like Paul learned to “be content whether well-fed or hungry..”etc. Simplicity means enjoying what God has and is giving us no matter what the circumstances. Oh that we could simply enjoy the air we breathe and be all here serving Him in the present then we would see what a present now is and we could be content with simplicity.

    Thanks for reminding me of this!

  5. As always, good thoughts. I love the simple look and the idea of simple–but it’s so hard for me to decomplexify life! :p~~~
    Love you!

  6. I know you’re going to step on my toes during this series. I don’t want a MacBook, but I do want a cooler cell phone, just because everyone has a cool cell phone. Thanks for reminding me simple is better.
    Sandra recently posted…Genesis &amp ExodusMy Profile

  7. I agree with Jessica- every PC in our house has had major issues {even the brand new one we JUST bought the kids at Christmas!} and after losing over 3 years of pictures last fall….Macbook it was. My husband is a techno FREAK and already had two Macs {desktop and laptop} and I used to tease him about just wanting it cause it was ‘cool’- now I know better and will never go back!

    BUT I get what you are saying…Ethan is reading Radical on his iPad right now {lol} and I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on it. He told me last night that there is no way to read that book and not be convicted of the life we are living….and to be prepared!! I can tell it is really working on him…which is good cause he is about to kill over to buy me a Kindle- which I *want* but keep reminding him I don’t *need* 🙂 Can’t wait to see your upcoming posts on simplicity!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TeriLynne Underwood, TeriLynne Underwood. TeriLynne Underwood said: Why I Don’t Have a Mac Book http://goo.gl/fb/wUk4d […]

  2. […] pursue simple this year, I’ve come back time and again to the idea of contentment.   From being honest about why I wanted a MacBook {because all the cool kids have them} to learning to enjoy things without owning them, this one […]

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