While I don't know if I actually fit the label "shopaholic," I know that I've been spending a lot more than necessary lately. From books (and lots of them!), to music on iTunes, to souvenirs . . . you name it, I've bought it. And I think that doing something to remind me of what I should really prioritize in my life would be a good idea. =)
So, here's my idea: For the rest of the summer, no more buying for myself!
Now, I don't want you to feel like you need to hold me to be accountable. I don't really want to put that kind of pressure on you, although it is helpful to me that others know my plan. Instead, I'm sharing this with you for two reasons:
1. Maybe by writing down exactly what I want to accomplish and why I want to accomplish it, I will have a better chance of sticking to the plan.
2. By sharing why this is on my mind, maybe you will be encouraged in your faith, as well.
Here are the only exceptions to the no-spending rule:
- Necessities: I will allow myself to buy food (even occasional treats), personal care items, etc. when I need them.
- Events: I will allow myself to contribute money if/when necessary in order to participate in events/activities with my family and friends. (This could include going to the county fair, a concert, etc.--anything I do with others that will create fun memories!)
- Giving: I will allow myself to buy gifts, postcards, etc. for others. Especially with so many birthdays coming up!
Basically, I need to stop buying books, movies, music, etc. for myself. Any more books I get this summer will have to be ones I get for free to review or ones I win in giveaways.
Now, here's the point of all of this! During my devotional time, I have been reminded of the importance of treasuring Christ above all else--above money, possessions, and even other relationships. The Radical Question by David Platt emphasizes the importance of giving our all to Jesus and being devoted followers of Him (at least from what I've read so far). It's important to remember that God comes first!
Another devotional book I've been reading (I'm now on my second time through) is Life as a Vapor by John Piper. Talk about a wake-up call! Our lives are so short; therefore, remembering our priorities is key. The reason I got this devotional book was because I saw it at our bookstore this last semester, and I recognized the author as the one who wrote a book we read in our Global Perspectives class (the book was called Don't Waste Your Life). I've noticed that in his books he often refers to our need to treasure Jesus, and by doing so, show others their need to treasure Him, as well. And Piper says that treasuring Him brings Him glory and us joy! How amazing is it that God gives us fulfillment and joy by worshiping Him?
"Deep in our hearts we know that we were not made to be made much of. We were made to make much of something great. The best joys are when we forget ourselves, enthralled with greatness. The greatest greatness is God's. Every good that ever thrilled the heart of man is amplified ten thousand times in God, its Maker." --John Piper, Life as a Vapor, p. 159-160
"The seeing of the healthy eye is not neutral. When it sees God, it sees God-as-beautiful. It sees God-as-desirable. That is why the healthy eye leads to the path of light: laying up treasures in heaven and serving God not money. The healthy eye is a single eye. It has one treasure. When that happens in your life, you are full of light." --John Piper, Life as a Vapor, p. 26 (emphasis mine)
I think The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn sounds like it promotes a similar idea--treasuring God first and using the money He has blessed us with to bless others and glorify Him. (I haven't actually read this book, so I can't say for sure.)
All in all, I know I have a lot to learn. Throughout the "Seasons of Humility," there's a lot of growth that must happen. What I really need to learn is to be thankful, content, and willing to trust it all in God's hands. May we all learn to share Job's attitude as shown in this verse:
"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)
Thank you for taking the time to "listen!" May this summer be filled with time focused on God and sharing His love with others! May we treasure Him above all!
(Pictures are from the Bald Hills area in northern California. My mother and I went there a few weeks back to see the lupines and take some pictures!)