Yeah. I did that.
So in all of this getting out of debt and swimming in the pool of Freedom and being intentional about all things Finance, I somehow ended up with a pair of Prada sunglasses. I didn’t pay cash for them, but I ended up with them (I promise I didn’t steal them lol). And I felt SO GOOD having something NICE because for so long, we had pretty much tried to stay low key and #notfancy.
And I’m not fancy. I kind of trained myself to not want to be. Romans 12:1-2 and all that. But sometimes I want to be.
But having something nice made me feel a little bit like I had some value. Like maybe I wasn’t just dingy and poor. (Which is a big warning sign that I was broken inside! Because as soon as I start gaining my value from things, it means I’m not getting my value from Christ. Which is a recipe for a poop pie #TheHelp) Because when you make yourself look like you don’t have any money, all of a sudden, people think you don’t have any money. And that’s great! I wanted to go there. But in going there, I got sad. Because people *treated* me like I didn’t have any money. Which is a by product I wasn’t prepped for but looking back: duh.
The great wonderful by product is that now I am even more careful about not judging people.
Jesus was poor by our American definition. By the way. I mean, culturally rebellious mom (ish), manger, no room to lay his head, sandals, no ipad, no Cadillac, the list goes on. And I wanted to identify with that. And in encountering the hurts and pain in our world, I’ve seen that (spoiler alert) the people around us lack funds as well. The Bible says the poor will always be with us. So I wanted to identify there. Because how can you have real empathy for someone until you have walked in their shoes? So we started ditching stuff and we started ditching the desire to acquire more stuff.
Sidenote. I grew up with lots of love and amazing memories and a great dose of Grit … but I’m not sure if we had any money. Ha. Of course I didn’t *know* about our money situation. And that zings me still. I think that’s part of why God has called us to this Money Journey. To help me weed out the issues of my past. Which have nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with the fact that I’m a human who is ridiculous. My parents were great. And my childhood was incredible. But I think we had “no money.” It’s in quotes because, even though we spent some time doing long term “camping” and living in some boarding houses and having some donated Christmas gifts a year or two and occasionally eating “free and reduced lunch”… we also still earned more money that most people on the globe. And my parents, bless their hearts, didn’t know we had no money either. HA. Love it.
And my parents led us to believe we were FRIGGIN RICH. Because they weren’t sorry people. My mom could always find people worse off than we were that we could help out. Funny but we were always the ones doing the volunteering in our community. It’s a mindset thing. The year we had the donated Christmas gifts, we walked into our house with surprise gifts under our own tree and it was kind of like… WTF. Couldn’t they find other people who needed these gifts more than us? I remember crying and asking my mom if we were poor. And she said “HECK NO! They’re just doing something nice for us” But she was also crying a little because I imagine it lifted some weight off her shoulders.
But it felt sh*tty, being the ones receiving charity. So since then, I’ve been pretty careful about how we dole out “charity.” Basically, I don’t. We try to build relationships with people instead and give our friends food and give our friends coffee, because that’s what you do with friends. But we try not to bandage things in people’s lives so that they can just look a little more like us, so that we can feel better about ourselves, “doing our part” and whatnot. Gross.
I didn’t know we were poor until I was in college and someone explained it to me with math and graphs. HA!
SO I ended up with these Prada glasses not long ago and felt like I was a grown up. And it was like LOTR and I was holding them and turning all greedy and weird and American! Because I think we do that quite often in America, let our precious stuff control us and turn us into Gollum. Or Sméagol or whichever one it is. Because I fall asleep during LOTR. So I’m on this hike and my leader talks about materialism and how materialism can turn into greed and it can just sink us. So I looked over the edge of the cliff, this hundred foot raging waterfall, and just kind of tossed them in.
Freedom again. I tell you! Total freedom! I haven’t looked back.
It’s about having a mindset that’s READY to ditch all our STUFF at any moment — not necessarily ditching it, but being okay with the possibility of ditching it…and sure as heck ditching it if there’s someone I come across who needs it more than I do. And making dang sure I *do* come across people who need my stuff/money/time more than I do. And if I don’t come across those needs often enough on Main Street USA, then I can always flip on my trusty HP and see bajillions of people all over the world who need it — time, money, stuff (mosquito nets for one). Having a mindset that doesn’t begin and end with myself.
That mindset — the “I am really blessed and I am blessed SO THAT I will bless others who need it” seems to be the thing that has helped me most to drop the debt and to be okay living a life that looks different than the Shiny American Dream Way.
and then there’s that underlying pulse-verse: “I’ve learned, whatever state I’m in, to be content.” — Paul, the man who #NailedIt 🙂 🙂