Today, I share with you, a personal dilemma. For the most part, I do not consider myself a materialistic person. I love to shop, I love cute new clothes, I love getting my nails and hair done, but I also try to live fiscally responsibly.
Garrick and I strive to live as debt free is possible, which is why purchasing a newer vehicle was a big struggle for both of us. We put it off for quite some time. I still hate that we have debt, but truly feel purchasing the car was the right decision for us.
I am going to let you in a little secret today.... though I hate debt and really strive to be a good steward with the money God has entrusted us with; I have my struggles!!
I go through seasons where I am extremely diligent with budgeting and saving and paying off debt and then I have my seasons (kind of like a woman on a diet with a pan of brownies in front her face) where I just don't care and I become a little too frivolous! I find that this season of rears its ugly head in the winter months, after Christmas.
I suddenly want to repaint, redecorate and fill my home and closet with newer and more eye appealing things. It bring me joy and I get a sense of happiness when making those purchases.
I ask... is there anything wrong with that?
As simple as this question may be, the answer is fairly complex.
No, it is not a bad thing or a sinful thing to desire "stuff." After all, God tells us in His word that He longs to give us the desires of our heart. (Psalm 37:4) Like an earthly father and child, it brings God joy to give His children good things.
HOWEVER, there is a HUGE cautionary note to take here..... and here is where my struggle lays.... it is once again.... the heart.
I have found that often, at the same time I begin longing for new things and stuff I am often struggling with discontentment in life in general. Almost as if I am searching from a way to escape reality. And if I also dig deeper, I will find that my connection with God is lacking. I am not finding my joy and delight in Him as I normally do, therefore, leaving me seeking out external things to fulfill that void.
I compare it to eating when you are really not hungry, but maybe just bored or stressed. You are trying to fill an emotional or heart need with an external fix. And as we all know, that fix is very temporary!! That is why it really is not a fix at all. It's a DIVERSION!
Now, this is not always the case! Because I have become so focused on living on a budget, I often go on what I call "starvation diets!" One of the very things I caution others about not doing in one of my blog videos! I become so obsessed with saving money and not spending any that when I do allow myself to spend a little, it is like opening the flood gates of spending hell!! LOL
I am currently going through one of those seasons and I praise God that I am able to recognize it and pray that He reigns me in!!!
My husband, being the very generous man he is with me, always encourages me to spend money when I desire to, telling me I deserve it. While I love him for this, very often, I use it to justify what I know to be wrong in my heart.
I cannot fix discontentment with stuff..... I only add to the problem. Very often, I later feel guilty for spending the money and the happiness I felt at the moment of the purchase is now a moot point. (or as Joey on Friends would say.... "A MOO point, like a cow's opinion, it doesn't matter!!) Bahaaaaaaaaaaa!!! I had to... sorry.... I couldn't help myself!!
So, my most recent purchase, I made last night! I love to get my nails done and although I will do them at home, they tend to chip fairly quickly in comparison to a gel manicure that lasts 2 weeks! Over Christmas, my sister, who does hair for a living, did my nails for me with her new little LED gel manicure light! I was hooked! I knew that long term, it would be a worthwhile purchase as it will save me tons of money on manicures. Mind you, I only get one about once every 2-3 months, but this would make is possible as often as I wanted!
This was one of those purchases that I felt was not frivolous and actually can be used to serve others and has great money saving potential!
I used it last night and I super impressed! Though I have a ways to do in looking like a professional.... I believe it is going to be well worth the $60.00 I spent on it! That included the polishes and all!!
ANYONE WANT THEIR NAILS DONE!!! I am happy to serve!!!
So here is my answer to this million dollar question..... is it wrong to want or desire stuff? No, unless it is being used to fill a void and replace the contentment we are to feel in the presence of God, which, I have been very guilty of!
God loves to give us good gifts and very often we are blessed for obedience and service to Him, however, when we choose to bless ourselves out of a selfish need to feel emptiness we are feeling, God so desires to be that filler.
I am a firm believer that most peoples mountains of debt is not due to needs or even occasional desires.... but that pile of debt is a direct reflection of the need for God in their life. That thousands of dollars of debt..... is very likely thousands of cries for God that we brought to a piece of plastic rather than God's ears.
Do you struggle with this? If so.... it is never too late to begin filing those Gaps with God's joy... that is eternal.....
Peace and Blessings
So... for years I have been hearing about the "cash envelope" system. Dave Ramsey is a huge advocate and teacher of the envelope only system and Money Saving Mom, which is one of my favorite bloggers, is also an advocate.
I have contemplated giving it a whirl on many occasions but basically convinced myself it really wasn't worth the hassle. Even though I have a grocery budget I really try to stick to, I also hated the thought of walking in the doors to the grocery store with a literal limited amount of money to spend. HOWEVER, I also could see the value in knowing this what I will spend and that's that. It does not leave near as much wiggle worm for "hornswaggle" items!
I don't know about you all, but I am notorious for sitting down with my checkbook to write down debits and have my stomach sink, wondering where in the SAM heck the money went. It is really sad and frustrating how much all those little debits add up to a big fat NEGATIVE in your checkbook.
The envelope system is a sure fire way to know exactly where your money is going and how much is going there! I really want to boss my money around and tell it where to go, rather than it bossing me!!
I recently stopped working my part time job, so as we are readjusting our budget, I thought this would be the perfect time to try and instill the cash envelope system!! I got my husband 100% on board and away we flew! Here is a video clip on how we are going about implementing this system......
Stay tuned for an upcoming review on our progress and the outcome of our trial run!
Peace and Blessings