Monday, April 2, 2007

Contentment

While I was hardly poor, I grew up in a home where there was some financial struggles. The majority of college was funded by me through scholarships, work study, and loans. After I graduated from a Big Ten university with a degree in video and audio production, I made a whopping $5/hr! LOL Got laid off, had to move home, and finally found a job as a 911 operator for what seemed like a fortune: $16,000 a year! I earned some raises and promotions but went to back to school to be a teacher (Like I should have done in the first place! LOL But, that's another post about ignoring God's giftings and His plan! *wink*) As we all know, teachers are instant millionaires...NOT! So, I struggled after getting my first teaching gig as well. Then, I met Da Hubby.

He had been living the DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle with his ex-wife. Big new cars and monster, loaded trucks. Jet skis. Power tools. You name the toy and he/she/they had it. But it didn't work out. Along comes me. Made a leap of faith I felt God was indicating and moved across the state to be near him and then found myself unable to get a full-time job. So, he supported us both. So, money got tighter. Then came Flicka and my choice to stay home with her. A little tighter. The, Pojke arrived. Bigger house (we were in a one bedroom "bachelor bungalow" until Flicka was 15 months old) and eventually a van. Now, money is *really* tight. Like running-into-negative-numbers tight.

I never experienced that stage of "having extra" like Da Hubby or even "having enough." There's always been things I've had to go without or delay getting. Now, as a mom, I've never worried much about the whole keeping-up-with-the-Jones scenario because most of the "stuff" that's considered "in style", "cool", "hip", or "needed" simply haven't been interesting to me. But, my inferiority complex is rearing its ugly head again lately. And, now I'm wondering about the true root of my "financial inferiority" complex!

One of the MOMS groups I'm part of includes playgroups and other activities hosted at other mothers' homes. And, Da Hubby and I were extremely fortunate to purchase a fix-'er-upper in what's consider a good area around here plus we are within a half hour walk to Lake Michigan. However, this area is also the location of Whirlpool Corp World HQ. So, easily within 10 miles of here are multiple new subdivisions with houses in the 500K - 1+ million range. And, every time I've gone to a MOMS group function in the last few months, I come stunned and/or saddened. Stunned by how people who seem no different than us are making what appears to be boat-loads of money and saddened that our little house I was so proud of nearly 2 years ago seems small, junky, and rundown compared to the others I've seen. And, that we're just barely eeking it out each payday while others are talking about $3000 patio furniture and vacations to Europe. Admittedly, many of our troubles are of our own making. Primarily a problem with credit cards when money's been scarce and something major had to be done. But, we have hardly been living extravagantly.

All this explanation to say this: I had a big revelation two weeks ago. On the way home from a MOMS activity, feeling inadequate and bummed out, and it came to me...It's not important! We don't need much and what we need God will provide. All this stress and worry - useless! The devil is simply using it to get between Da Hubby and I and my new MOMS friends and I. He is trying to distract me from things I should be focusing on and things I should be doing.

Now, I'm not advocating throwing up my hands and our checkbook up in the air and saying "Dear Lord, it's all up to You. I hope it all works out" since we are told to be good stewards of what He provides. And, if don't do well with these "small things" He's given us, there will be no greater blessings given. I simply had a flash, a glimpse of contentment. I'm happy with where I am now. I really am. I'm doing just as I want to be doing at this point. And, I feel strongly that this is what God wants me doing right now as well.

In addition, all this was confirmed when a friend last night pointed out "those people's kids are no happier than yours." And, confirmed again by a book I just finished for Katrina's Spring Reading Thing...don't judge by the world's standards. Judge by God's! What is your ultimate goal? Godly kids!

So, what is the problem with me? Not enough faith (yet!) and not enough discernment (or at least not enough soon enough) to see what the devil was doing. Not anymore, devil! No spirit of poverty is allowed here! I'm a God's child! He will provide for me! My job is stay focused on Him, use what He's provided faithfully and effectively to further the Kingdom, to tithe, and listen for His voice when making financial/job-related/family decisions. The rest will take care of itself.

Amen!

Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conduct [be] without covetousness; [be] content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

5 comments:

Laurel Wreath said...

Now, I'm not advocating throwing up my hands and our checkbook up in the air and saying "Dear Lord, it's all up to You. So that is what I have been doing wrong ;))

Beth, I too have struggled with this. Financial things are my thorn. I wish I could say we struggled, we conquered, we are free. But Satan knows my weakness, and it keeps me on my knees to God.

This was a beautiful, heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing it.

Unashamed said...

There's such beauty in the honesty here and honey, I pray that one day you'll have that "glimpse" of contentment 24/7!

But, listen up to Mother Anita for one minute (I know I am older than you!) I recently reminded another blogger/friend, who was struggling with what she saw as her lack of faith, of this truth: Your Faith Is Not Lacking. That is the evil one trying to discourage you. Your faith was GIVEN to you, the gift of God (Eph. 2:8) in exactly the measure He desires (Rom. 12:3) and when, because of your human brokenness it appears that it isn't enough: His Grace Is Sufficient For You. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Just as an aside - we've been there too. And He is faithful.

jana said...

Hi Beth,

I've been dealing with some of the same issues over the last several months (as we went from 2 incomes to 1 when dd was born). Know that you are not alone in these struggles; Satan does all he can to keep us in the mire, but God will lift us up.

Thanks for sharing this.

Karen said...

I have occasions when I go through the scenario in my mind of what it would be like to live a DINK lifestyle. Although there would be some 'things' to make me happier, it would be a lot more lonely and a lot less joyful.

Those things will be useless and worthless in a few years, but the memories you make with your little ones and the relationships you build within your family are timeless.

And, you never see the behind the scenes stress that a mortgage that big causes!!

Lisa said...

6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7

I'm praising God with you that you have seen His Hand in your life and know that everything we need He will provide!!

Have a blessed day!