How to Not Get Discouraged When Striving for Self-Sufficiency

I know of some homesteaders, I mean real homesteaders, who live a life completely off-grid and utterly detached from industrialized society.

They live a simple, Christian existence surrounded by like-minded people and are dependent on no one except the Lord.

Before you start frothing at the mouth, you need to know they have given up many creature comforts that most of us wannabes would never dream of going without.

And honestly, I’m a little envious.

I remember reading that they were helping their neighbors thresh their own wheat field.

Can you imagine threshing your own wheat field? The only other time I’ve heard of threshing wheat was in the Bible.

Then again this is coming from someone who became confused when she saw little white flowers on her first tomato plant instead of tomatoes- she had no idea that the vegetable grew out of the flower!


I often wonder, “gosh, will I ever be so self-reliant that I’ll thresh my own wheat?”

And the answer is no, I don’t think I will. Even if I wanted to, I don’t how I could ever come to owning my own wheat field or even knowing anyone that does.

And that question begets other questions:

If I don’t live completely off-grid then does that mean I’m not really self-sufficient?

How much can a person straddle the fence of modern life and true self-sufficiency?

Are the two diametrically opposed?

Is it a waste of time if I don’t go “all the way?”

What is True Self-Sufficiency?

While my ultimate goal is to be self-sufficient for all the important things (food, energy, shelter) I cannot afford to be paralyzed by the possible combination of answers to those questions.

I do NOT believe the world is going to end on December 21, 2012 but I know things are changing. Time is of the essence and those who are prepared will be better off.

But what does “better off” look like?

I’ve realized that everyone has different ideas of what self-sufficiency is.

Some think it means detaching oneself from the debt-based financial system we live in, while others think it means having a working homestead regardless of the mortgage. And then there are those who think threshing wheat by hand is the ultimate sign preparedness maturity.

Is there only one accurate description of true self-sufficiency?

I don’t know.

I’m a wannabe, remember?

But here’s what I do know- you are here because you possibly have an interest in becoming more self-sufficient. Maybe you know how fragile our industrial, consumeristic system really is and you dream of greater personal independence.

Whatever your vision of self-sufficiency is, you need to follow that dream. As you progress, you’ll discover where you’re lacking and make the changes as your ready to.

Don’t Get Discouraged

But if you fantasize about bee-keeping and root cellars but keep finding yourself in the Wal-Mart produce aisle, don’t give up.

It’s easy to look at established homesteaders and assume you’ll never get there.

As Simple Mom says, “don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20.”

She’s talking about blogging but I think this statement can apply to all kinds of situations, including the journey to self-sufficiency.

Like anything actually worth it, the self-sufficient, homesteading lifestyle takes a lot of work and depending on your current lifestyle, a lot of patience and sacrifice.

To achieve a greater level of independence, you’re gonna have to do more. Prepare yourself to work for the things you may currently take for granted: running water; electric heat; food.

It’s a physical and mental  journey. Let yourself take it.

Drown out the background chatter and naysayers. Focus.

It may sound simplistic but write down your homesteading and preparedness goals. Seriously. There is something powerful about writing your aspirations on paper.

You may not have all the answers right away but that’s okay.  Remember, “problems are opportunities in disguise.”

Find like-minded people who have the same goals as you. Work together and encourage each other.

And above all,

Commit to the Lord, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  -Proverbs 16:3


Photo Credits: Victor Bezrukov and Julie Jordan Scott


  1. I’m just getting started myself. Oh, I’ve had a small veggie patch for as long as I can remember, but I’m getting more serious about preserving and storing what I grow. I’m also starting to get better about stockpiling supplies, It’s a good thing, too, as we’ve had both medical and income issues in the past few years. We still live in the city, but we’re going out to visit my in-laws in the Midwest next summer to look for our retirement home/homestead. For me, the REAL life will begin at retirement. In the meantime, I’m learning everything I can: growing and storing fruits and veggies, propagating fruit trees from cuttings and/or seeds (from what I understand stone fruits will produce true to type this way), raising chickens (we’re in our second year of this adventure), heritage livestock, saving seed of heirloom crops, baking from scratch (I hope to have my first bread within the week, depending on how much other stuff I have to do), and fiber livestock (I’m thinknig of using this as a small income source after retirement). I’m learning all that I can about making sausage, curing and smoking meat, raising rabbits, beekeeping, dairying, herbal medicine and every other kind of knowledge I can think of. I doubt that I’ll ever know everything I want, but I’m going to continue learning for the rest of my life. For me, that’s what the adventure is all about.

    1. Sounds like your on a roll, Doreen! Good for you!! For us, it seems our REAL life will start when are debt is done and paid (this December). Then we are going to venture into everything you’ve described! Can’t wait.

      When do you plan on retiring? The midwest sounds like a nice place to be. We will probably stay here in north FL (don’t want to be in south FL), although my family is looking into prepsteads in other locations.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. I’m, also, a wannabe (literally JUST getting started, but having grown up in an agrarian household I feel like I’m a little ahead of the curve), but my concern in the deal is how often people attach religion/faith/god to the equation. I’m a committed atheist, there is nothing that will ever dissuade me. I am quite off-put by all the religious talk involved in just about every published work I’ve found on the subject.

    I definitely don’t mind that you include your faith in your blog, and I think it’s great that your faith is a big part of your toolkit for success. I just get frustrated when it’s such a large part of the homesteading lifestyle. I CAN’T find like-minded (aka atheist) individuals to share my goals and work with and I don’t enjoy the success nearly as much if I am sharing it with people who are giving all the credit for MY hard work to THEIR deity.

    Again, I think your blog is a great tool, and I DEFINITELY don’t have a problem with you sharing your faith through said blog. I’m pretty much just venting about homesteading culture in general, so please feel free to ignore/disregard/delete this as you see fit 🙂

    1. I’m sorry about your predicament. But I have some family members who are not ‘religious’ at all and they have a huge interest in the agrarian lifestyle. I’m sure they are out there, it’s just finding them is the issue.

      I have noticed a lot christian homesteading blogs but they are just that- personal blogs on the subject. But I’m sure there have to be a ton of homesteading books that have no religious reference. ? is a very popular homesteading blog and I don’t think I’ve noticed any religious undertone (I think. I could be wrong tho..).

      I’m not going to delete your comment. I appreciate it. Thanks for commenting.

    2. Hey Chad,
      I know what you mean. As a fellow non-religious sort, I have actually noticed that going back to the land is a bridge between the religious and the non-religious. A desire to get out of our screwed-up food system spans religious and political affiliation. It’s one area we can all use to try to cut the divide often thrust upon us.

      You reminded me of an article I saw calling all Christians to move to the mountain states together, leaving the rest of us behind. While I think that’s a fringe thought, I was thinking, “Yes, that’s just what we need. Let’s just keep dividing ourselves up into we and they.”

      Great post! We’re planning on starting our homestead ASAP. First, we have to find land. =D

      Scott Kustes recently posted..Yes on Prop 37 Giveaway: Win A Case of Outta The Park BBQ Sauce – $84 ValueMy Profile

      1. Also, I didn’t mean for that to come across as only Christians trying to separate themselves. It’s a fairly universal thing across the American political spectrum now. Sorry if it came across harshly.


        1. No problem, Scott. I understand.

          My hope is that everyone, regardless of religious identity, can see the benefit of a self-sufficient, prepared lifestyle. I hate that word ‘religion’ because of the negative connotation it stirs up in people, but I am a Christian so it’s hard for me not see things thru the lens of a biblical worldview. I’m surely not trying to alienate anybody.

          With that said, I would love for all of us to come together and take our lives into our own hands and break free from the “system” that we live in.

          Thank you for your comment and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Stephanie, this was well written sage advice! If every homesteader would take these thoughts into consideration and have the right perspective, there would be a lot less frustration, I’m sure! Thanks for linking it up to the Barn Hop.

  4. Stephanie, I’ve had the goal of loving off grid my entire life, but I know I can’t do it alone, so I’ve been looking for a like minded Mr. Right, to no avail. I’m 56 years old, attractive, intelligent, and with a good retirement income. In other words, I have a lot to offer, but I haven’t been able to find a man interested in living this type of a lifestyle. Any suggestions for me, as I am becoming very discouraged, and I’m starting to think I may never realize my lifelong dream?

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