I enjoy saving money and there is a satisfaction I have felt in making things stretch. But, I also have watched God urge me to guard my heart. I am in the midst of reading a really good book about prayer called the Praying Life by Paul Miller. In the book, he mentions his frugality in this quote:
"Even my frugality was a form of the love of money. The obsession of saving small amounts of money isn't that different from the obsession of gaining large amounts of money. In both, money is the center."
I thought the last sentence explained everything. Is the goal of my frugality saving money or is it being a good steward or is it providing for my children for fear they will be looked down upon as I was as not having the right clothes? Or is it what it should be--to glorify God by seeking HIM in all things?
That was what I liked best when I read Matt Bell's book this summer--he started out stating very clearly that our finances are not separate from our faith in God. In fact, they should not be separated at all! Having faith in God and trusting the Lord means walking with him in all things.
I had two times in my life while living on my own which I had just enough, literally, to pay my bills. Both times were while I was in school--one in undergrad and one in grad. One time was 4 months and the second was 20 months. I am so thankful for those times--I try never to forget them because that was when God taught me most about not holding on to the little I had. I had to trust him to provide. To provide when I played broom hockey and had to go to the hospital and get 4 stitches. To provide when I needed new glasses. To provide when emergencies came up. A friend told me about an unexpected surprise she was given yesterday. It was such a blessing to her! And it was a blessing to me to hear about it! It reminded me of a blessing that I received when I was working for the church I attended back in Denver. I was given an envelope with some money from someone anonymously. It has a huge blessing to me! I can't remember what I needed it for, but it gave me room to breathe. I was working 2 jobs and in grad school full time and living on my own.
I'm never been crazy about the phrase Random Acts of Kindness. It's a very nice idea, but I feel like it is the Holy Spirit working in our lives that prompts us to bless others by loving and serving them. It is the way that God's love is made complete in us (I John) Calling them Random Acts of Kindness takes God out of the picture for me--and I don't want to do that.
This entry is a long way from the point where it started, but hopefully, it is still all connected together!