Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Season for Learning

Fall marks the beginning of a new school year, a time of learning from books and teachers. But fall also marks an important time of learning in the "Seasons of Humility." That is to say, "fall" is the season of life I speak of in my poem (in the sidebar) when we feel the most confused, the most selfish. It is the time when we really need to be reminded to look to God and trust in His will--to be humble before Him.

Right now I really need this lesson. Some of you may remember the "Treasure Challenge" that I set up for myself this summer. Well, I followed it for the most part, although I know I could have done better, spending less on food, games at the fair, etc. I did also get a book at Borders this summer, although it was mostly part of a gift (long story with that one!).

Anyway, the point is that I know I have a problem with greed, which the "Treasure Challenge" was supposed to help with. I still want to buy more and I keep seeing more that I want. But it isn't just that. My selfishness has extended to impatience, as well. Not only do I want more, but I want it now. And that's a big problem!

From my comments on Goodreads to the thoughts within my mind, I keep desiring the "next" thing--the next book, etc.--and I keep missing out on what I already have. God has so richly blessed me, yet I haven't been content or shown my gratefulness nearly as much as I ought to. God has His own perfect timing for everything, and I know that His will is what I should seek.

Thanks to a post on author Tamera Alexander's blog, I started getting a "Verse of the Day" sent to my e-mail from CLASH entertainment every day. This is one of the recent ones I received, and it really was a verse I needed to read:


The verse is Ecclesiastes 5:10. What a fitting description of greed, and unfortunately, what a fitting description of my own poor attitude. I have had the wonderful opportunity to read so many new books this summer, many of them from blogging friends and publishing companies. I still have a great TBR stack, so why do I have to be thinking of what books will be coming next all the time? I really need to be able to appreciate what I have!

So with that in mind, I hope to have something similar to the "Treasure Challenge" going for the school year, or at least some way to remind myself to stop buying so much! I confess to buying something for myself today, though, since summer is pretty much over. I used an Amazon.com gift card to pay for part of the package: Courting Morrow Little and a DVD copy of North & South. For those of you who follow Laura Frantz' blog, you know why I'm calling this my "Laura Frantz" package. ;) I hope to find much enjoyment and encouragement from these items, but I hope that I will not let myself get carried away with buying more and more.

After reading this I'm sure you can see why I said I have a lot to learn! May the Lord help all of us to use the resources He has given us wisely and to exercise moderation. May the Lord help us to learn the beauty of contentment and the joy of gratefulness. And may the Lord help us to trust in His timing and in His plan, that we might rest in the hope of the coming springtime season of humility.

10 comments:

Kav said...

Alas, I don't have your resolve when it comes to books, Amber, but I am very, very grateful for every blessed one of them, if that makes a difference.

In everything else I'm getting better. I love finding new purposes for old things that other people are tossing away. I converted an old metal toolbox into a garden planter this summer. And when I get in a redecorating mood, I find that switching rooms up or repurposing a piece of furniture saves me coveting something new from a store. The trendy word for that is 'upcycling', but I do it out of financial necessity.

Unfortunately, we live in a very material-oriented society and it isn't always easy to resist its demands that we have it all now! Being anchored in Christ can help. But it is a constant battle, isn't it?

Bluerose said...

I'm proud of you! I've thought about you and your effort of not buying books through the summer several times. I don't buy many, but I always want what's new. i have tons of books, mostly from giveaways, reviews, and swaptree(which I'm now trying to cut out), but I always want more. Being a Stay at home mom, I just don't have the money to buy extra stuff, but it's still wrong of me to want so much all the time. I need to learn to be happy where i am and with what I have, instead of the constant thinking of how things would be better if only I had....
Thank you for such an encouraging devotional!!! You always give me such good "food for thought"! :)

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

Wow, Amber! I can see why you wanted me to read this. You sharing about your struggle with greed and want, made me think how I was too, but I'm 10x more addicted to it. This past week I've been posting all about books I "CAN'T" wait to read, which is exactly the greedy and impatient sin you're talking about. I feel ashamed that I've been feeding a greedy desire in my heart with those blog posts. I'm honestly sorry, and I'm know now that God is using you to get to me and show me what I've let myself do and lead others into doing. I think I need to spend a few days in prayer, for sure.
Love Ya,
Ashley

Amber S. said...

First of all,

Dear, dear Ashley! That's not what I intended at all! I am so sorry that I made you feel guilty--I have absolutely loved your posts this past week. You've made them so fun, and I loved your addition of the Bible verses to remind us of what we should really be focused on! The only reason I mentioned this post to you was because *I* felt bad that I kept mentioning on Goodreads how jealous I was of you and Joy and everyone else getting the new books before me, and I wanted you to know that! Again, I apologize profusely for making you feel guilty when you have no need to! :(

Please forgive me!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Oh, I don't think I have very good resolve at all! Up until recently when I've been able to get free copies of books to review, a good amount of my books were bought by me or for me as gifts. I won some in giveaways, but I know that I've gone overboard before, especially my first year at college.

Even today I went shopping with my mom and got a few new clothes for school. I don't want to be obsessive about NOT buying things, but I also don't want to be careless to the point of spending more than I ought to and focusing on all my own wants and desires.

This material world surely does leave us in a constant battle, and I'm so glad to know that God will give us strength if we ask for it and seek Him!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Bluerose,

I'm so glad the post encouraged you, and I appreciate your encouragement to me, as well! :) Like I said, I was nowhere near perfect this summer, especially when its come to patience and such. If I didn't get free books through blogging, I don't want to know how much more I'd have spent in the last few months! I really need to work on not being so greedy.

I know just what you mean about wanting so many new things--there are new books coming out all the time that look wonderful, and I want to read them right away! But you are so right in that learning to be happy with all the blessings we have is important. So thank YOU for encouraging ME! ;)

~Amber

Laura Frantz said...

Bless you, Amber! Thanks for the mention here:) So happy you made it to Oregon and are ready for another blessed year! Will be wonderful to see what the Lord has in store for you! Bless you bunches.

Amanda said...

Amber, thank you so very much for this post, my friend, I surely needed it! I will admit that I've been on a book binge lately. Amazon just makes it so easy to "fall"- just a few clicks, and what you want is on its way! I just ordered Tamera Alexander's "Within My Heart", and pre-ordered Tracie Peterson's "Embers of Love", and Karen Witemeyer's "Head in the Clouds", AND I odered my favorite perfume in the world, Pink Sugar, all because I just signed up for a free month trial of Amazon Prime, which gives you free 2-day shipping. So, now, I want to order more stuff before my free month trial is up. I've even pre-ordered books that aren't releasing till next year- again, to lock in the free shipping. I reason that I'm going to get the books eventually, so, why not get them when the shipping is free? Goodness, I need prayer!!

I love what you said above, "May the Lord help us to learn the beauty of contentment and the joy of gratefulness." Amen!! My heart's cry is to echo the words of the apostle Paul- "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content!" I want to be content in the Lord, not in all the treasures I'm storing up on earth that will eventually fade away- because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also...

Thank you, again, dear friend, for this beautifully convicting post, and for the honesty in what you shared. You've blessed and inspired me today :) Praying for you!!

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...

Laura,

You are such a sweet and amazing person, so I'm more than happy to mention you on my blog! :) I'm looking forward to getting my "Laura Frantz" package in the mail so we can chat about the book and DVD! ;)

Thank you so much for your kindness!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

I can definitely understand why you would want to take advantage of that free-shipping! Shipping can be so expensive! ;)

Thank you for sharing that verse and reminding us of what God's Word says. I really have so much to learn about contentment and treasuring what is really important. So I definitely appreciate the prayers and the encouragement! :)

But I do also have to say that I don't want my post to take away from the blessing that we have in great Christian fiction! May the Lord use these wonderful authors and their books to reach out to others and bring glory to Him--I know that many of these books have touched my life, and I hope someday that my books might do the same for others. :)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

~Amber