The fact that we live in such abundance is sometimes startling to me. Some days it hits me smack between the eyes as I gaze upon the exponential growth of my material things as I leave the ‘hut’ in search of more stuff, better stuff, faster stuff, prettier stuff.
Recently I had a vision. God sometimes brings me visions and at first I may not understand “WHY”, but soon enough He begins to clarify things for me and my eyes are opened wider and wider until it begins to pierce me from the inside out.
In this vision, God asked me to physically bring everything I had bought for the past month and put it in one room of my house. Clearly I struggle with memory issues and obedience (no surprise there)…so I said: “God, get real! You can’t possibly expect me to remember what all I’ve bought for the past 30 days and put it one room?”
God was being “REAL”. He really wanted me to see, firsthand, how much stuff I had accumulated over the course of 30 days, both “needed” and “wanted” right down to “desired”. While I never did get it all moved into one room I began to think about and mentally inventory the STUFF that I had purchased over the past 30 days. I know there were things I either forgot about or felt didn’t qualify.
It was a very big pile of stuff, as you might imagine. It was OVERWHELMINGLY big. I began to think about things faster and faster as God reeled through the purchases with me. The whole thought process resulted in a pretty large mass right in the middle of my ‘envisioned’ floor.
Let me just review a few of them: clothes, furniture, paint, groceries, gasoline, car washes, gifts, décor items, garage sale ‘finds’, dinner and a movie x 2, scrapbook stickers and paper, beads, STARBUCKS, etc.
Then God asked me to review our checkbook for the past 30 days and highlight (in groupings) the things we had purchased. He has had us do this routinely over the past few years since calling us to pay off all our debt. I highlight in green our ‘giving’; in pink is décor, hobby, and ‘gifts’ (birthday, anniversary, just because); in yellow is school related purchases for Paul; in orange is food (both groceries and restaurants). There was a LOT of pink and orange.
Then I hear God remind me that ‘where my treasure is, there my heart is also’ (Matt. 6:21). So is my heart about eating out, movie at the mega-theater, and shopping for fun stuff? Apparently!
I have heard the arguments that some Christians make about being blessed with much…as God decides. I see how each week it seems I ‘need’ something. Needing something has become such a catch phrase that the word has lost much of its impact in meaning. I began to wonder what I had done “without” and when the last time I went without something I wanted, much less NEEDED.
On the heels of all this, which I was prepared to put to rest with just an internal lesson, I received an email from Jules who is participating in this ’30 Days of Nothing’ challenge in September. She has asked us to pray about our own consumerism and potential commitment to recognize the gross excess in which we live…daily! It’s really a bit of a Daniel fast of sorts and could truly be a conduit to healing the over-consumption we drown in daily.
Will I participate? Honestly…I don’t know. I can think of about 25 excuses not to, not the least of which is my own uncertainty of success in this endeavor. Could I really live ‘without’ for 30 days? Of course I know I could, but WOULD I?
Maybe this is a ‘non-issue’ for you all, but today as I reflect on the Thanks Tank, I can’t help but reflect on when/what I have gone without, to really understand thankfulness to a God who meets all our needs.
Have a reflective Thursday!