Monday, May 2, 2011

Head vs. Heart Fight

I struggle with contentment. There. I said it. I wish I had this contentment thing mastered. I've studied Scripture. I know that I should have contentment in God alone. But I get so distracted with the ways of the world, so caught up in the materialism whirlwind that our society has created.

And I admit, I fall prey.

I shouldn't. In my 15 years as a financial advisor, I saw people struggle. I saw the way the world spends money. I saw the way debt overcame people, how it became such a normal way of life that it didn't matter that they were up to their eyeballs in debt and didn't know how to get out.

On the other hand, I've seen people with money. They have the big house. The fancy cars. They could get everything their hearts desired. And yet they were still missing something. All that money couldn't fill up the hole in their hearts that only God can fill.

In Scripture I see people who have nothing. Nothing but God. And yet they are content. Even Soloman in all his splendor - in all his wealth - realized that all that was meaningless and all he needed was God.

I know all that in my head - yet I still struggle with it in my heart.

Joe drives a 1996 Ford Taurus. It is time for a new car. Or is it? It still drives. It isn't in the greatest shape but it works. Do I really want to drop $20,000+ just because it is a 1996?

We're getting crowded in this house. I have a bad habit: looking at bigger houses. I look online. Go to open houses. Do I really want to spend how many tens of thousands of dollars because we're getting a bit comfy here?? Maybe we should just cuddle instead. :)

So then I think maybe we should build an addition. Or at least a patio. That would give us more living space. But again - we'd probably face a debt of bookoo bucks.

What about a new lawn mower? Ours is really old. A shed would help with the storage problems around here. New furniture would be nice.

Can't I just be content???

Is it okay to want to make the best of what we've been given? But at what cost??

Should I be content with the 1996 car that has lasted longer than it should? Is our old furniture fine? How old is too old for a mower? A patio would be nice....

I know we are all faced with financial decisions every day. We've got to balance our needs, our wants and our over-the-tops with the amount of money we've saved. Yes, I do save money for these kind of things - but I certainly can't afford everything I think about!

Because the bottom line is: God has given us all a certain portion to manage for Him. It's all His money anyway. I don't have the money tree in the backyard that I can just go pick when I want something. I've got to balance our wants, our needs and our over-the-tops.

What's most important, I guess???

I honestly believe when we make financial decisions that are pleasing to God, He will provide. I teach others that; yet I struggle with it myself.

Kind of reminds me of an episode of Hoarders. A woman was an inspirational speaker and spoke on how to make your life less stressful. Then she went home to a stressful MESS.

Interesting how easy it is to tell others what to do, but yet we struggle to listen ourselves.... I suppose we could ALL do a better job of making God-pleasing decisions. The world pulls us one way but God tells us there's a better way.

I'm thankful that although I struggle with financial contentment I am able to take a step back before I act. And I rarely do act out. Praise God. I realize a sin is a sin is a sin - even if my sins are in my head. But I am thankful beyond belief that in my weak moments I don't overspend and put us in debt.

I'm thankful for my financial advisor background where I could see the ways of the world and the damage those ways cause first-hand. I'm thankful for my Bible study background where I have raked over the Scriptures to see what they say about money. And I'm thankful that God has blessed me with enough self-control to not act on my thoughts.

But if I could just clear my head of this nonsense, that would be great. Maybe the first step is to cuddle with my family or take a drive in the 1996 ride.

No... probably not the 2nd option. ha.

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