Saturday, June 21, 2008

Follow-up Post (needs/indulgences)

Thanks for all of the great calls about my "5 for 50 post." since I know you read it, here's my question: Have you decided on any items to move from your "needs" list to your "indulgences" list?

We can all answer easy ones like excessive dining out.entertainment.cherry bon bons...but what else? Is anyone giving your life a good hard look to see where you might cut back so that you can give more? How will you practically apply to your life what you know to be true in your heart?

One item that came to my mind right away for me was bottled water. My mouth thinks our tap water is DIS.GUST.ING. I mean it can thoroughly corrode a faucet in seconds flat so to think of what it does to your innards creeps me out! But I know that I have no clue what disgusting water really is. So I bought some sturdy reusable bottles to use in place of the case of water we buy each week. In total that could save $15-20/month...which would mean a month of meals for 3-4 orphans through Five for 50 or a donation to Living Water International.

A small start? Yes....very small. But I trust that God can take that small thing and multiply it for good.

In my post "in love", I mentioned that I love young adults who live passionately for God. Case in new friend Hannah. She is utterly adorable...funny, fashionable, and on fire for God. Hannah took part in the World Race 2007 and currently works for Children's Hopechest. With her permission, I wanted to share some wise words from her last email. Oh, how I wish that I would have loved God...and had this perspective...when I was Hannah's age!

Like you, I am grateful and excited about the way God changes hearts and shifts perspectives for us in our time of selfish obliviousness. Every now and then, He gives me a wake-up-call that jolts me back into the meaningful, eternal realm of life as opposed to the shallow, petty one. I know that makes sense to you, since you have experienced that shift from sponge holders to suffering children. Smiles. It’s easier to focus on the foxy cream high-heels I spotted last week rather than the overwhelming specifics of human pain and injustice that extends to the four corners of the earth, ya know? : ) But, naturally, thoughts of high-heels and sponge-holders are empty and soul-less and dully disturbing at the end of the day; we’re not meant to be mesmerized by that nonsense. So that’s when God comes in just in time with something more difficult but ultimately more joyful to the core of our truest selves, the part that was created in His image, the sacrificial and compassionate and intensely loving part that reflects Him. God is genius!

OK, so here are my two requests:
1. If you know of any young adults who may be interested in joining the World Race, direct them to this web site: click HERE.
2. Leave a comment to this post sharing your plans to put true indulgences in their proper place. What have you discovered to be the indulgences on your needs list, and how will you give 'em the boot?

Like I've said before, I'm not suggesting that we can't go out to eat or buy a new skirt or rent a movie, I'm simply hoping that we will be mindful that the money God has placed in our hands is for greater purposes than our own comfort, enjoyment, ease...and indulgences! baby is getting too big for his crib:


Jenna said...

It's 1:18 AM, and I can't sleep. This is a RARE occurance for me. So, I'm catching up on blogs, what else? :)

WOW- Hannah said that all VERY well. I'm impressed- and in such agreement.

For us, this has meant very thoughtful house-hunting. We could- and almost did buy a house that would very much have been our "dream house" (note: OUR dream house would generally not fit the description of a typical American's dream house, but still). It was quite spacious due to a finished basement, very "New Englandy", and with a large, beautifully landscaped yard. And, lo and behold, we could even afford it, BUT at what expense?

What we finally realized was that it would take us every last free amount of our income....PLUS it would sap all of our extra time. Now, you get people who would rationalize that in a couple of years, it would have been more affordable to us and it wouldn't be as bad, etc, etc......but I really felt the Lord prompting me to give up what I really, deep down wanted (this beautiful house of my dreams) for His sake: meaning that Scot and I would have extra time and resources to use for HIS glory instead of our own.

I had a good cry over this when I realized that God wanted us to absolutely say "NO" to something it would have seemed perfectly obvious to everyone else we should say "YES" to. I said distinctly, "But, I WANT it Lord" (much like my 5 year-old, I'm not happy to admit). Then, I just said goodbye to the house and didn't look back. Truly, I'm SO glad we did and completely at peace.

However, when you start thinking this way, you suddenly become aware of things you use your money on that are just SO wasteful and excessive. And, things you spend your time doing that are just so meaningless in light of eternity.

Anyway, you got the LONG answer because it is 1:30 AM, but we have really been thinking so much about this very topic as we look for houses and wanting our purchase of a house to be very purposeful in glorifying God with our money and our time through it! It just makes me realize how every decision in life- even ones that many people, even Christians, would think don't have much to do with living for the Lord instead of for yourself- needs to be framed with the thought of "How am I going to bring God glory through this and serve Him instead of myself in this decision?"

That's just the lesson I'm learning in this season of my life. It has been a hard one, but has brought me more peace that I think I have ever had!

Hannah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hannah said...

Tish, I am blushing - I don't think I've ever been quoted on a blog before, except my own of course. ; ) Seriously. And thanks for promoting the World Race. Smiles.
I must say, you write a mean blog, girl! : ) Love it! I'm still pondering what needs vs. indulgences means for me....
with joy,
ps. so you know, i deleted my last blog post because of a really illiterate-sounding misspelled word. : )

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

I recently emailed back and forth a bit with Hannah as well. The World Race sounds incredible.

As for making some sacrifices and learning to live more simply, this is something that I am really trying to process and pray about. I can't give one item right now, BUT I am working on it!

Tami said...

Wow, I just read your 5 for 50 post and then finished this one. How eloquently both you and Hannah spoke.

I don't think I'll quite beat the length of Jenna's post (love ya girl!), but I may come close:-).

It's so true that we as Americans have SO MANY blessings we take for granted, and unless we spend time in an impoverished nation, we really don't truly KNOW what it's like.

This all reminds me of one of Rebecca's posts, where she posted an entry about the first billion dollar house and all it's amenities. As I read, and looked at the pictures in awe, I was saddened at the same time that there's actually something out there like that, and that someone spent all that money.....I thought exactly about what you've just written about.....Think about how many people in the world would look at what WE have, and how WE live, in the same way???? It's all relative and even small simple changes we can make could make a huge difference to someone else.

On a side note, missionaries from our church who do work in Africa had some friends visit them here in the US for the first time. After touring the city, grocery stores, malls, and taking in all the comforts and choices we have, they made a very profound statement. They said that in all, they felt sad for us because we have so many choices and distractions here that keep us from concentrating on God and our families.

Not quite the reaction expected.

Living simply would not only help others, but it has an inherent gift to the giver.

Very thought provoking and humbling.