The Root of All Evil?
One result of my husband’s retirement was financial decline.
I don’t usually mention it – it’s not a primary issue. Yet, it is a fact that affects us . . . and not a fun fact.
We never actually had lots of money, but there was enough…and a little extra. A bit more than mere survival . . . and we were content.
Between my husband’s retirement and disability pay and my full-time clerical salary, we could continue to make ends meet, but the strain of working full-time while caring for my husband and three children proved too overwhelming for me.
My blood pressure settled into the danger zone, which is risky for anyone, but the clip in my brain makes high blood pressure potentially deadly. I could not get mine under control until I dropped to working part-time.
That’s when things got interesting.
I never considered myself a “materialistic” person. My idea of a good house is one which has enough room for the family, preferably in good repair. A good car is one that also has enough room and is reliable, preferably with good gas mileage. I never desired a big “fancy” house or certain types of cars. When people start talking about cars, I sort of glaze over . . . I just don’t get it. It is transportation . . . it gets you from point A to point B . . .
In regard to possessions, my view is equally utilitarian. Why do I want a 60” T.V.? I can see the show on the 15”. I like to have things that are useful . . . but I have no love of “stuff”. My husband and I see eye to eye on this . . . although I would say he assigns a higher value to sweets, tools, and weaponry. I probably assign a higher value to clothes, personal care items, and home décor than he does. But overall we are right on the same page.
Still, when the budget no longer balanced and I knew I would have to truly trust God for our “daily bread” . . . I did not like it! I seriously wished we could go back to having our “monthly bread”.
It has certainly been an exercise in faith.
You know, the results of exercise are awesome! But the actual exercise can be grueling and exhausting . . . I usually spend my workouts counting down the seconds until it will be over!
And I feel the same about exercising my faith – except I don’t know when it will be over, if ever. One day I am calm and peacefully counting on God’s provision; the next day I am distressed over something we can’t afford. God has certainly never let us down, but I have felt let down a time or two . . . perspective.
My mom used to sing, “Oh be thankful for the good things that you’ve got.” She only sang it when we complained.
I always hated that song.
As God provides month after month, I am reminded of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Every day they depended on God to provide food and water just for that day . . . they could not save up. Nowadays we need food, water, and gas . . . but same principle. I find I am a lot less critical of their flair for complaining and doubt.
Of course Mom was right; being thankful for God’s care is actually the only way to “let patience have its perfect work.”
James 1:2-4 “2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
What I found is that I can place too much importance on money, even if I don’t have a lot and even if I am not particularly materialistic. The question is: Where do I put my trust? What is my source of security?
“Financial boot camp” has been interesting, challenging, and rewarding. Although, I don’t think I will ever call it “fun”.
Our kids are also getting a work out that we probably would never have given them. It is so easy to get carried away with giving kids everything they want/need . . . unintentionally spoiling them. Good thing we were not given that opportunity. Instead we were given the opportunity to demonstrate faith along with a healthy view of money.
Matthew 6:25-34 “25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
As always, God already had a better plan . . .
He provided a way for me to support my family by working from home. Even when I can’t see the way, God always can.