If you cannot have it new do you weep?
Seriously? How conspicuous is your consumption?
I am not talking about socks and underwear, I am talking about the big ticket items. The conspicuous, everybody can see them items – houses, cars, dresses, suits, shoes, tech, furniture, cabinetry, windows, vacations, decks, and the size of things.
Have you ever wept because you might have to settle for a previously built house instead of building your own? Have tears welled up because you might have to purchase your kids clothes that are not necessarily in season this year? Has the thought that you might not be able to go on a tropical vacation this year sent you spiraling into depression?
I am guilty of some of these things (most of these things…ok maybe all of these things).
I have to say if any of this is true of you than you need to know that something is wrong.
Why do we feel that larger, shinier, more costly items are somehow on par with breathing and food? That something inside of us will die if we have to settle for normal or, maybe more aptly, what is needed?
Is it possible to be satisfied with 800 sq. feet instead of 1,000? Is it possible to be satisfied with 1,000 sq. ft. instead of 1,500? Is it possible to be satisfied with 1,500 sq. ft. instead of 2,000? You get the idea.
Can we live with a used car for 15 years or do we need to purchase a shiny new one every four? Are we capable of being happy in a house that we did not design and build or will the thought keep us awake at night?
These are important questions because they get to the heart of where our hearts are. I had a very wise seminary professor once tell me a deep theological truth – he said that if you want to know where the heart of a church is look at its budget. Where it is spending the most is where its heart is. I believe this statement is true of all organizations, especially the family.
Where are you spending the most money? This is where your heart is. You may deny it up and down and cite all forms of necessity etc. but this is the truth.
So where is your heart? Where is my heart?
If my budget is accurate my heart is wrapped up in my external payments. It is my largest expense, then my mortgage, then food, then the kids (various and sundry items), then various utilities expenses (read house here)…and so on and so forth.
These things are realities. I look at them on a pie chart in my head and wonder if I am managing appropriately. Perhaps. I would like to shift things around a bit but I am rather comfortable with the split.
My goal is very simple…do not spend more than I earn. As simple as that goal is it can be very difficult because the heart can get in the way. My heart would like to spend more on technology than would be wise. I have to guard against it and I often fail.
I have to teach myself daily, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second, that my happiness cannot be based upon the tangible things of the world, upon stuff and ownership and size etc. It must be based ultimately upon love (but not love of money).
What do I love? This is a bad question…rather the question should always be whom do I love? If I can keep it there than I will be ok…over time I hope that my budget reflects the whom more than the what.
When it comes to love in your life is it a question of what or whom? What do you love? Whom do you love? The latter is infinitely more than the former.