I've been so inspired recently by the movement towards minimalism in our possessions. For example, the capsule wardrobe idea has really taken off (thanks for fueling this, Caroline!) and over the past few years, I've seen so many women drawn to the various ways we can simplify our lives (Emily Ley's Simplified Planner, Lara Casey's PowerSheets for goal-making, Val Marie's prayer journals, etc). It really is refreshing, and it's obvious we are all striving to focus our energies away from the every day tasks that weigh down our time and into big-picture pursuits we're passionate about. So... what does that mean about our stuff? I feel fortunate in that it's easy for me to get rid of things and de-clutter, but of course I'm naturally drawn to want more. Where does God fit in to how I see my possessions? I know I can't take it with me, so I shouldn't invest in wealthy treasures or hoard my savings forever. God has a bigger calling for my life, but sometimes it's hard to see it through the fog the world around me.
I was recently listening to David Platt speak on "how much stuff is enough?" and gosh, what a great question. I think it's safe to say this question is something we all think about... but often don't ask, because we know that there's not a definitive answer. David said that there are two ways people ask this question, the first of which is seeking a mental checkbox – that if they stay under a certain level of "too much" their conscience can be at ease. The second, more healthy way, to ask that question is with the perspective of "I see so many urgent needs around me in the broken world that we live in... and I've been given so much. How can I live my life in a way that finds peace and contentment with what I have, and be able to serve through what I've been given?"
When we think of all of the ways believing in Christ shapes our lives, money can often be the last area we consider... because it can be such a grey area. Contentment with money looks different for everyone, and y'all, it's hard. Thankfully, God gave us hearts after His own. We are not built to find lasting satisfaction in our possessions. Deep down, none of us want to be tied to what we have – we want to feel freedom, and we want to find our identity in something greater. God is strongest in our areas of weakness.
For me personally, I have to continually be prayerful about how I see our money. I do my best to see myself a steward of what I've been given. Dave Ramsey often talks about money in this way - that it's not truly yours, it's a blessing from God, and should be handled with that perspective. The better Chris and I manage our money, the better we can use it to serve others for God's glory. That means giving where we see need, not overspending where it's unnecessary, and making investments in things that will bring glory to God. For example, we pray that if we get a house someday, that we can use it to serve others through fellowship, share it with those who need a roof over their head, and raise a family that's rooted in the Lord. It's not just a house for us. And I'm not saying that we don't spend money for ourselves, because we do. We go out to eat. I go shopping. But it means that we share a plate, we don't buy too many drinks, and I make myself a modest shopping budget per season. Just being a good steward.
Of course, there are always areas that are harder for me to give to God. Chris and I love to travel, and would be thrilled to gain new perspective and greater appreciation for history by traveling abroad sometime in the next few years. I don't think that vacations or traveling is bad in any way, but I do question sometimes the amount that I could spend on it... and whether that money could be better spent elsewhere. There's a number that is comfortable for me to spend and feel that we could still freely give if needed, and there's a point where the number is too high. And I think that's how most people feel about their money in general :) It's a daily prayer of mine to live in contentment with our possessions.
Which leads me back to the Word: David cited 1 Timothy 6, which is about the love of money. It says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." Where is contentment for you? Being part of a generation that is always seeking the next great thing, that finds it's identity in what we have and what we wear, that is endlessly seeking comfort... it's important to begin to prayerfully question where you find peace with your possessions. Where do your motives shift into an area that pulls you away from God? And where do you find peace with being open-handed with what you have?
I don't often see women talk about this, because we don't want to ruffle feathers or hurt feelings. There's such a wide variety of perspectives. But just because we feel differently doesn't mean our hearts aren't in the same place :) Feel free to comment and continue the discussion – I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! It's such a blessing for us to be able to encourage and inspire one another.
Hope y'all have had a great Monday!
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