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Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday's Musings: Week 8

This was my highest spending week of the year. It's probably no coincidence that it came on the heels of my lowest spending week of the year. 

Here's the spending breakdown for Week 8.

Groceries/Food                            $130.75
Piano Lessons                                 $10.00
Gifts                                                 $95.53
School Expense (Leah)                  $10.00
Toiletries                                            $5.02  
Total                                               $251.30

Here are a few things that contributed to my increased spending.

  • Overconfidence -- Considering myself an expert "non-spender" because of the previous week, I let my guard down. 
  • A major case of writer's block -- A serious misunderstanding regarding one of my current projects may have some serious financial implications, not only to our family, but to others I hold near and dear. The gravity of the situation really knocked the wind out of my sails. I spent hours last week staring at my computer screen, unable to produce anything of merit. Criticism of my work led me to doubt my abilities as a writer. 
  • Worry -- I began to worry about our future financial condition. As we're going through Financial Peace University, Syd and I are changing some spending patterns and setting short and long range goals. We've determined that I am at a place where I can contribute more to our finances by working part-time from home. When the above-mentioned fiasco happened, I began to worry that I had really messed up the great opportunity I have to do work that I love from home. 
  • Conflict -- Relationship struggles that are inherent with raising a large family (especially when dealing with adoption-related issues) reared their ugly heads, and I spent most of the week feeling like the poster child for "Worst-Mom-Ever."
  • Time Constraints -- 3 nights of basketball games, dentist appointments for the entire family, Syd and David being at a conference on Friday and Saturday, a wedding to attend, school work for my 3 home-educated children, helping my older three with their school-related needs, and running our household were just too much to handle. I realize we don't just have too much physical "stuff." We have too many demands on our time and energy. As much as we all enjoy basketball, I'm really looking forward to the season's end on March 1. 

With everything that was happening this week, I just didn't have the energy to fight the battle against consumerism. As a matter of fact, it actually felt good to spend money. I was trying to make myself feel better by indulging in spending. Bad, bad idea.

What I'm realizing is that this is a spiritual battle we're waging. Cutting our spending and getting on top of our finances will free up resources that will allow us to give more of ourselves to things in life that are really important. Not being owned by our possessions will help us gain an eternal perspective on the pressing needs of the world's poor and oppressed. Not being tied to our comfort level might even allow us to one day answer a call we both felt when we were in college -- to serve in the mission field where Syd can help bring clean water to villages and I can help in educational efforts, all the while sharing the love of Christ with others.

Our challenge isn't just a simple little social experiment. It has eternal implications. The forces of evil will seek to destroy us, to make us despair, to cause conflict within our family. And so, in the midst of our efforts, it is imperative that we find our strength, our hope, and our help in the Lord.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for He grants sleep to those He loves.
Psalm 127:1-2

As I first sat down to compose this post, I felt like a defeated and weary failure. In my dark place, God reminded me of some very important truths. If I try to complete our challenge in my own strength, I am doomed to failure. If I try to have a sanitized blog that won't offend anyone because of it's Christian tone, then it is worthless. This battle is not mine, it is the Lord's, and He deserves all the glory. I don't want to live a life filled with vain efforts. Instead, I want to live in the house that HE builds, and have HIM standing watch over the affairs of my life.

2 comments:

  1. If our defeat, our weary failures, and our dark places can produce truth like this, then bring it on!! As I've said often here lately, true fellowship is found only in truth....not in painting a false picture of perfection. Beautiful, honest, real, and worth not only the read, but the eternal lessons learned.

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  2. I love reading your posts Kathleen. I am not particularly eloquent but I just have a little comment on something in your last paragraph...I would call your blog "sanitized" because of it's Christian tone and I love it because of that! You all are in my daily prayers. Amen amen!

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