Category Archives: Balanced Living

Do I have any regrets?

Forty will be here in a few days.

Something happens when you start approaching a milestone birthday like this one. You spend a lot of time in quiet introspection, contemplating where you’ve been and where you’re headed. True, it happens at other times, too. But as I conclude the final days of my 30’s I’ve been feeling a surge of what I can only describe as equal parts nostalgic joy and quiet anticipation.

I take great pleasure in sentimental remembrance of all I’ve experienced and witnessed in the last 40 years, knowing there’s been far more good even in the midst of pain. But I also feel a measure of satisfaction when I evaluate where I’ve fallen short and made mistakes. Because I can only regret something once I’ve learned there’s a better way.

One of the things that has never sat well with me is the idea that to live a happy and full life you need to live without regrets…that looking back and wishing we’d made some different choices somehow keeps us locked in the past and prevents us from being happy and healthy in our present. This, coupled with the sentiment that we reach a point where we’re suddenly “too old to change”, leaves me baffled. Being dissatisfied, disappointed even, in certain decisions is an essential part of the gift of life experience that shapes us and our relationships. To refuse to live with any regrets is terribly short-sighted.

Looking back on the last 39 years I can tell you without hesitation I absolutely have regrets.

I regret I spent so much time worrying about what other people thought of me.

I regret the years spent dissatisfied with my younger, stronger, more flexible body, because it did not fit into a size 8 pair of jeans.

I regret being quick to lose my temper and slow to forgive.

I regret holding myself and my loved ones to such impossibly high standards and expectations that disappointment and failure were inevitable.

I regret all the times I lost my temper with my kids, especially over the little things, instead of keeping my cool and some perspective.

I regret not spending more time actively seeking God, and instead waiting for things to fall apart before seeking comfort in His word and love.

I regret all of the time spent looking ahead to what was next instead of just being content and fully present in the here and now.

“Because I can only regret something once I’ve learned there’s a better way.”

 

I look back on the past 39 years and there is so much that I wish I did more or less of, did differently.  But I’m thankful for that view of the past because it has led to a much healthier, more content person in the present. One who has learned a lot about what’s most important in life and where to focus her time and energies. She’s not perfect, but I like this me more than any previous version.

Forty will be here in a few days. And I look forward to entering this next decade with a little more patience, a little more grace for myself and others, a little more content to be here and present, and little more reliant on God.

I expect that by the time I hit 60, 80, (maybe even) 100 I will look back on the previous decades and see the things I should have, could have done differently, because God’s not done with me yet.

Isaiah 64:8

No matter how old I get I hope I never close myself off to allowing Him to change and mold me into the person He’s created me to be. I know this body — this life — is not my final destination, but I’d like to make the most of it while I’m here.

Yes, forty will be here in a few days and I’m quite alright with that.

 

photo credit: Big Grey Mare In Love With Clay via photopin (license)

photo credit: David Grandmougin Valentine via photopin (license)

The year of living 40

I’ve never been much into New Year’s resolutions. Maybe it’s because my A-type personality means I’m always looking ahead, making a plan, and setting personal goals, so I don’t feel the need to do it every January 1st. Or maybe it’s because I know that annual resolution to exercise more and eat better will be tossed out the window within 2 weeks.

Either way, I did not feel compelled to make a list of resolutions this week just because it’s the start of a new year. However, I have been thinking about 2017 a lot lately. Actually I’ve been thinking about this year for most of 2016…because it’s going to be a bit of a milestone year for me.

This is the year I turn 40.

The gateway to middle-age.

Surprisingly, I’m not afraid of the number. I fully enjoyed my 30’s and every new life lesson and experience they brought. I did a lot of growing and discovering in my 30’s and I kind of like this 39 year old version of me…she’s definitely got a much better handle on what’s really important in life than the 29 year old version did. So I’m kinda looking forward to seeing what my 40’s will bring. However, I do see it as a milestone year and there are some things I would like to focus on as I leave one decade and pass through that gateway to the next.

So for the last month I’ve been compiling a list…a list of goals, habits, adventures, and achievements I wanted to reach by 40. It started as 10 items and quickly grew. By the time it hit 28 items I thought, “what the heck, might as well make it an even 40!” Of course, I turn 40 in May and once I finished my list I realized I can not realistically accomplish all of these things before said milestone; and I want this list to be achievable. So I’m giving myself the full year to get through the list. Making 2017 the year of living 40.

So here it is, in no particular order:

1. Get rid of 40 personal items
2. Bring total number of US states visited to 40
3. Write 40 blog posts
4. Write 40 letters/cards to friends and family
5. Lose 40 pounds
6. Read 40 books of the Bible
7. Read 40 other books
8. Serve/volunteer 40 hours
9. Run 40 miles (cumulative, not at one time)
10. Try 40 new things
11. Give up 40 minutes of TV per day
12. Add 40 minutes of sleep per night (11 and 12 go hand-in-hand)
13. Do 40 push-ups at one time
14. Make a list of my favorite 40 movies and watch them
15. Write my husband 40 love notes
16. Study scripture/pray for 40 minutes per day
17. Call my Grandma 40 times
18. Drink 40 cups of tea
19. Save $40 per week
20. Make a playlist of my favorite 40 songs and listen to it regularly
21. Limit social media to 40 minutes per week
22. Exercise for 40 minutes 3x per week
23. Take 40 naps
24. Count to 40 when I start to lose my patience
25. Do 40 nice things for myself
26. Write my kids 40 lunchbox notes
27. Hike 40 miles
28. Try 40 new recipes
29. Meet 40 new people
30. Minister to 40 different women via the women’s retreat
31. Go on 40 dates with my husband
32. Snuggle with my kids for 40 minutes every week
33. Read 40 poems
34. Spend 40 hours watching live music and/or theater
35. Get rid of another 40 items
36. Make at least 40 mistakes
37. Forgive myself at least 40 times
38. Write the first 40 pages of my book
39. Forgive others 40 times
40. Laugh, dance, and/or sing for 40 minutes per day

In addition to my list of goals/adventures/habits above, I’ve also decided to chose a Bible verse that represents where I want to keep my focus for the year. The last two years I’ve ended up with bible verses that sum up my year quite accidentally, and I’m sure God will bring a me a few this year that I don’t plan or expect. But in the meantime I’m going with “Peace I leave with you; my peace peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

I chose this verse because if there is one message God has been pursuing my heart with over the last year or so it’s that true peace comes only through Him and not the world. I’ve spent so much of my life looking for peace to come from relationships, jobs, vacations, things, etc. and always wondering why it was so fleeting. So for 2017 — and my 40’s — I plan to work on pursuing peace from my Creator and Savior, and doing so without fear or worry.

As you can see above, one of my year of living 40 goals is to write 40 blog posts — which if you do the math equates to roughly one post every nine days. So I’ll be keeping you updated on how it’s going and you can help me be accountable. I’ve already got the spreadsheet for keeping track of this stuff (remember, I did say I have an A-type personality). And no matter what age you’re turning this year, let me know what goals/habits/adventures/achievements you are pursuing in 2017.

Hello middle-age. Let’s do this.

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40 photo credit: Leo Reynolds East Of India House Number 40 via photopin (license)

A new definition of success

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. – Proverbs 3:3-4

Over the years, my view of what success would look like for me has changed many times. But one thing was certain, success always looked BIG. As in, change the world big!

As a young college freshman I decided to major in Communications and Journalism, ready to change the world by becoming the next Woodward or Bernstein. Then, as my spiritual journey went through a period of immense learning and growth in my early 20’s, I thought I was being called into ministry, specifically missions. I planned to change the world one village at a time.

By the time I graduated college I had met the love of my life and was engaged to be married. Ideas of going into ministry were put on hold and it seemed the responsible thing to do was get a “real job”. So using my Communications degree I got a job in a corporate marketing department…and I did well. Really well. I moved up quickly and had a taste of career success. Soon my plan was to crash through the glass ceiling; and as my husband and I started to discuss having kids, I was determined I would prove you could “have it all” (whatever “it all” means).

During those early years as a mother, I put much of my focus and measurement of success with my children. If they were successful, then that surely meant I was successful as a mother. But it didn’t take long before I learned (the hard way) just how much is out of my control. I realized it was unfair to both my children, and to me, if I measured my success as a mother and as a person based on their successes and failures.

By the time I was 30 I had a great marketing manager job with a global company. I was able to work from home partially and travel to places I had always dreamed about, like South Africa, Australia, and East Asia. I felt like I had arrived, this is what success must look like: balancing a family and a career, getting to travel the world.

But soon, I felt the pull for more. I took on a more senior role, one that had a lot more responsibility. At first it was great, but over time the stress began to wear on me. I started to wonder: “if this is what success looks like, why doesn’t it feel like everything I thought it would?” Simultaneous to this, God began working on my heart and re-igniting that call to go into ministry and I wondered what exactly He wanted from me. Had my pursuit of success been misguided? Had I been pursuing the wrong kind of success?

I finally decided that it was time to put it all in His hands. To stop trying to map out my career path or plan every step of my life’s journey. I knew that I needed to help people in some way and I wasn’t sure what that would look like, but I started trusting God to guide me in the right direction. I felt a push to write, to minister, and to educate. I began blogging, speaking and writing a book. I led my first women’s retreat, and led a Bible study with my husband. It felt right, like I was doing what I had always been meant to do,  but I didn’t feel successful. I thought, in order to be a success at any of these things I would have to turn them into a career and earn a living.

Meanwhile, I was feeling like a failure in my senior marketing job. Projects took longer than planned and technology issues presented daily problems. I began to feel like all I did was put out fires. Any feelings of success I had felt years earlier had dissipated.

Then an opportunity presented itself to take a different role with the same company, a role writing and teaching. It wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for, but I trusted God and accepted the job. Still, leaving my other job I felt like I had failed in my role. I wondered what was my legacy in that position where I had given so much for the last six years?

As I left one role where I felt a failure, and began to take on another that I wasn’t sure lined up with God’s calling for my life, I realized for the first time in my life I didn’t know what success looked like any more, or if I would ever achieve it.

Then in the final week of my marketing job I received an email from a colleague. He wrote: “One thing I’ve learnt from you is to always be courteous and polite – no matter what the production pressures are; because at the end of the day there’s a real person with feelings on the other end of the telephone.”

Reading that note, in that moment I realized I’d had it all wrong.

My idea of success was so misguided! It isn’t about how many projects were delivered on time and on budget; it isn’t about how many issues I had successfully resolved, or innovative solutions I’d created. It certainly isn’t about money or climbing a corporate ladder. And it isn’t even about ensuring I find some perfect job that lines up exactly with God’s call for me to be in ministry (because where did Jesus ever say we had to earn a living in ministry in order to successfully minister to people?).

It’s about love and faithfulness. And making sure I am totally and completely bound to these.

Proverbs3.3-4

 

How can I touch someone’s heart with a kind word, a patient response, or an understanding ear? How can God use me to improve someone else’s day by how I treat them, how I pray for them? And most importantly, how am I modeling what it means to be a follower of Jesus by how I treat others?

This is what success looks like to me now. Whatever happens in my professional or personal life, whatever path God leads me down, or however the world defines me, my definition of success will forever be measured by the number of lives I touch by simply being kind, patient, understanding, forgiving, etc.

But I did get one thing right in my younger days. Success — this kind of success — is big. Like change the world BIG.

16 things to give up in 2016

Did you make any new year’s resolutions this year? We’re a little over 1 month into 2016, and according to Statistic Brain Research Institute, 36% of all resolutions have already been ditched.

I’m personally not a big fan of new year’s resolutions. In general I find them to be lofty goals, like lose weight or quit smoking, at which you can either succeed or fail, with little room for anything in between. I am, however, in favor of trying to be my best self…the self God created me to be. The older I get the more I find that my journey to personal betterment has more to do with letting go of worldly tendencies and self-destructive behavior, so that I can make room for the truth of God’s promises. This is not a pass or fail exercise, it is rather a continuation of my journey to live a life of joy and freedom.

Here is my list of 16 things to give up in 2016:

    1. Trying to do it all by myself – or as I sometimes refer to it, the “I got this” syndrome.  It’s my default setting. Whatever comes my way, my initial response is “I got this.” But the problem is, trying to do it all alone is, well, lonely. And sometimes overwhelming. And almost always not what God intended for me.”For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘fear not, I am the one who helps you’.” – Isaiah 41:13

 

    1. The illness of busy-ness – A typical conversation with just about any friend or family member: Them: “So, how are things going with you?” Me: “Oh, you know, the usual. Busy!” And it’s the truth. We always seem to be busy…my husband and I juggle full-time jobs, three active kids, leading a small group, church commitments, family and friend relationships, house projects, and occasionally try to squeeze in some favorite hobbies and past-times.In the last year we have been intentional about trying to reduce the amount of commitments in our schedule, but I will tell you we still have room for improvement here. It takes a real effort to say “no” to the wrong things and “yes” to the right things. Even if the right thing is a Sunday afternoon napping on the couch.

 

    1. Self-doubt – I don’t think this one requires much explanation. but if you’re a chronic self-doubter, like I am, the good news is when we doubt our own abilities, we can turn to Jesus, who said: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

 

    1. Not getting enough sleep – Probably the single worst bit of self-sabotage I inflict upon myself is not getting enough rest. And I know better. It’s critical to our mental, physical, and spiritual health to be well rested. So giving up the late nights is going to be a priority for me in 2016!”It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” – Psalm 127:2

 

    1. Resentment – Oh boy, am I really admitting this out loud? I have a problem with holding on to resentment. It’s usually over little things — washing dishes my children forgot to put in the dishwasher, folding laundry while my husband falls asleep on the couch, compromises I didn’t really want to make — and often I don’t even realize I’m doing it. But it starts as a little seed and then grows into a heavy stone in the pit of my stomach, causing me to either withdraw from the ones I love, or get angry with them. This is not healthy for me nor my relationships!

 

    1. Rushing to everything – My family is perpetually 10-15 minutes late. It seems no matter how early we start, or how much warning we give our children, something happens — a lost shoe, bad hair day, cat vomit, etc. — to delay us. And I HATE being late and feeling rushed! I turn into mean-mommy and start yelling and it makes everyone miserable.While I don’t know that there is a full-proof way to avoid all of those things that slow us down (cats will inevitably vomit at the worst possible moment), I do know that doing less will result in more margin, and more margin comes with less rushing from place-to-place. That, coupled with a hearty dose of keeping things in perspective (is it really the end of the world if we are 10 minutes late to that event?) will hopefully help me ease up on the rush and accompanying stress.

 

    1. Time sucks – This definitely goes with number 6 and the idea of creating more margin. But to me it’s not just about doing less, it’s about doing less of the meaningless, and creating space for the meaningful. Not turning on the TV in the evening guarantees I won’t get sucked into a show and stay up too late. Not opening the laptop or picking up my phone, means not getting sucked into Facebook or Instagram.  I don’t think I’m alone when I say the FOMO syndrome that makes us feel the need to stay connected 24×7 is sucking up too much precious time! Time better spent playing with my kids, sleeping (see #4), reading the Word, praying, or talking to my husband.

 

    1. Waiting to pray – this one is somewhat connected to item one. In my attempt to try and take care of everything on my own and juggle everything, I often forget to seek God’s guidance for things in my life until they get really messy. I strive to live a life where praying before and over each decision or area of life is my go-to move.”Do not be anxious about anything , but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

 

    1. Complaining – Are you familiar with the app Time Hop? Basically it connects to your social media accounts and then every day sends you a screen shot of what you posted 1, 2, 5, or however many years ago. Having kids, I enjoy this because it can be a nice reminder of how small they were only a few short years ago. But as I started reading these posts of Facebook past, I realized I like to complain. A lot. Seriously, if I read one more “oh it’s been such a long day, work is so hard, blah, blah, blah” post, I will block myself from my news feed!This little bit of personal insight has really motivated me to start changing my tune. Not only do I suspect people are tired of hearing it, but the more we complain and focus on the bad stuff, the harder it is to look for the good stuff. And there is always good, if we choose to look for it.

 

    1. Putting on a brave face – Can we all just agree to stop pretending everything about our lives and our families is happy and perfect and clean? I mean, not only is this not authentic, but it actually prevents us from developing deeper connections and relationships by not being honest and open with our friends and family. I realize this might seem like I’m contradicting myself after reading number nine, but I do think there is a balance between always complaining about life, and being willing to answer truthfully when someone says, “how are you today?”

 

    1. Wanting to change the past – Oh gosh, do I ever need to let this one go! I kid you not, I will lie awake at night re-hashing conversations that took place 10 years ago, wishing I could have done or said something differently. Really? What a waste of energy. I cannot change the past. I can always apologize for things I said and did and, often, I can confront someone who hurt me and tell them how it made me feel. But none of that will change what happened.”Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” – Isaiah 43:18

 

    1. Wanting to change others – Can I just say, writing this list is starting to hurt a little bit? I don’t really like publicly admitting all of the things I need to work on. But the good news I can make changes in my life to correct these unhealthy behaviors. What I can’t do is make other people change theirs. And just like with number 11, agonizing over it, wishing it, obsessing over it is a waste of time.God can change people’s hearts, I can’t. And truthfully, I am not qualified to diagnose what is wrong with everyone else (except when it comes to my children’s personal hygiene habits. I will diagnose unbrushed teeth all the live long day).

 

    1. Preconceived notions – Oh boy, if I had a dollar for every time I ended up disappointed due to false, preconceived ideas of how someone or something should turn out…well let’s just say I wouldn’t be wearing shoes from Payless. I do this a lot around holidays and big events. I get these big ideas in my head of what the day will be like, fantasizing about how perfect it will all be. Then the slightest mishap or conflict will send my Utopian bubble a-bursting.In my heart, I know this comes back to the idea that I struggle with just letting go and trusting God. How different would holidays and special events look if I just walked toward each one thinking “whatever you want for me to learn, to experience, and to feel today God, I praise you in advance, and look forward to this day”?

 

    1. The comparison trap – Related to numbers 3 and 10, the comparison trap is just that — a trap. It captures your joy by making you think that you are less than that woman or family over there. When the truth is, you probably don’t see the real them anyway. And even if you do, what God has designed for another, is not what He’s designed for you. But that doesn’t make what you have any less. I need to do a better job of remembering this, especially when watching HGTV.

 

    1. Guilt – Oh guilt…my old nemesis. I am so over you! The mommy guilt, the wife guilt, the friend guilt, the daughter guilt, the employee guilt — enough already. We are parting ways in 2016.”There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

 

  1. Waiting for Godot syndrome – Remember reading Waiting for Godot in high school? Just in case you forgot, it’s a play by Samuel Beckett about these two guys named Vladimir and Estragon who spend the entire play waiting in vain for someone named Godot. Poor Vlad and Estra are not happy people and in the end as they realize that each day pretty much plays out the same way: waiting for something that never comes.How much time have you and I spent waiting for something important, something big to come that would change our lives, or fix everything that we don’t like? “Once I get that promotion” or “as soon as the kids are all in school” then life will get better/easier/etc. The problem with this frame of mind is that we end up constantly looking ahead to when we can be happy, instead of just being happy right now in this very moment. And often that “thing” we keep waiting for never comes. Or when it does we are painfully let down because the truth is that “thing” cannot make our lives whole. Only God can do that.

Do any of these ring true for you? What else are you giving up in 2016 to live a life of joy and freedom?

Living every day as the Season of Giving

This is my favorite time of year. Truly, I love everything about it — the music, the decorations, the sappy Hallmark movies, the parties, the Christmas pageants, Advent devotionals and calendars, even that stupid adorable elf on the shelf. But perhaps what I love most about Christmas is giving gifts.

I love being able to buy or make something that a dear friend or family member has been dreaming of, or perhaps something that will make their life easier, or just bring a smile to their face. I start planning what to get each person on my list two months in advance and get so excited thinking about their reaction when they finally open it on Christmas.

I tell you, with no amount of pride or ego, that I’ve always considered myself a pretty generous person. But this year I’ve been doing some soul searching, and asking myself “what does it mean to give as a follower of Jesus?”

Jesus had some very clear words for us about the relationship between giving and salvation. In fact, in three out of the four gospels this story is told:

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:17, 21-24)

To be honest, I have never given Jesus’s warning much thought because I never considered myself rich. But recently, my definition of “rich” has been challenged. While I am not a millionaire, the reality is that based on worldwide income averages, my family ranks in the top 1% of the world’s wealthiest families. In fact, anyone with a household income of $32,400 or more is in this top 1 percent. ¹

I know that number might seem shocking, especially if you’re living in the United States. But even if I look at only U.S. averages, my family still sits somewhere in the top 15 percent.² And if I take a really honest look, we live a comfortable life.

No, I don’t have a closet full of designer clothes, and handbags. Our house is modest,  our cars were bought used, and our furniture is cheap. I love consignment sales and clearance racks, and rarely pay full price for an item. But, if my kids need a new pair of tennis shoes, we can buy them. We go out to eat several times per week. We take a family vacation every year. You get the point.

Our basic needs are provided for and we have plenty of ‘extras’, as well. So does that make us rich? More importantly, do my belongings get in the way of my relationship with God? And, would I be willing to sell everything I have to follow Jesus, like He asked the man in Mark 10?

These are questions I’ve started asking myself lately. Maybe because it’s the season of giving. Or maybe it’s because our Bible study group has been doing the “7 Experiment” study by Jen Hatmaker. Whatever the reason, I think the Lord has been calling me into self-examination on this front for some time, challenging my definition of rich and what my family truly needs to live as followers of Him.

And as He often does, the Lord has shown me His way through some surprising and humbling encounters.

I want to tell you the story of a little 10 year old boy. He is a saver. He likes to put away his allowance and any money received for birthdays and hang on to it. He thinks carefully before spending money on anything, considering the cost of the item, how much he will have left, and whether it’s something he really, really wants (I can’t use the word needs because his parents provide for all of his needs). Recently this little boy counted up all his savings and discovered he had about $75.

He thought about all of the ways he might spend this money. He really wanted a fancy new Lego set. He also thought about saving more so he could buy an iPod touch, like his older sister has. But then he thought some more and he went to his mom and said, “I’d like to give my money to the church.”

His mom was quite surprised by his declaration and asked him why. He said, “well because I think the church can use this money to help people who need it.” So his mother explained the different ways the money that they put in the offering basket was used, including the various outreach ministries their church did, so he understood exactly where his money would be going. Then she suggested he pray about it overnight before making a final decision.

First thing the next morning the little boy told his mom that he had prayed and he was sure he wanted to give all of his money to the church. That Sunday when the offering basket was passed a little hand placed $75 worth of crumpled bills and change into it.

Honestly, I can’t even type this story without sobbing like a little baby. I am humbled by the generosity of this 10 year old boy. And I ask myself, would I be brave enough to pray to God and ask Him if I should give away every cent I owned? And if His answer was yes, would I then carry through with it and drop it in the offering basket with a smile like this boy did?

The raw, ugly, honest answer is I don’t think I could. But I sure hope one day I can be like that little boy.

There is a certain freedom that comes with letting go. Letting go of things we don't need. Letting go of our dependency and value of earthly things.

 

We’re making changes in our house to get there. We’re cutting back on our dependency of “stuff”. We’re paying off debt that holds much of our money hostage. We’re coming together as a family to find opportunities to give more — both financially and of our time — and not just at a comfortable level, but in a “this is hard and kind of uncomfortable” way:

If we give up eating out every week, what can we use that money for?

If we buy fewer Christmas gifts, can we afford more items for the angel tree children?

When we receive our paychecks, bonuses, allowance, birthday money, etc. are we praying for God to show us how to use the money before spending it?

Before buying that new sweater, DVD, electronic gadget, lip gloss, etc. are we stopping to ask “do I really need this? Is there a better way I can spend this money?”

It’s a process. We still have a long way to go.

But I will tell you that what I’ve seen thus far is there is a certain freedom that comes with letting go. Letting go of things we don’t need. Letting go of control of the spending decisions. Letting go of debt. And letting go of our dependency and value of earthly things.

I hope one day I can be as willing as that little boy to give over everything I have to God and live my life like every day was the season of giving.

 

¹http://www.globalrichlist.com/
²http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-is-your-income-percentile-ranking.html#.VmjnO0orKM9