Yes, it has been over a month since I posted last. I temporarily took on some additional responsibilities at work which have left me with virtually zero free time in the last 5 weeks. The good news on that front is that as of Monday, reinforcements are on the way and no one is more grateful than I.
Working extra hours has certainly helped in my quest to spend less, spend what I do with full awareness and give more more willingly. It's like a God given restraint. When you don't have time to take a lunch, you certainly aren't going to spend money on it. When you leave work long after the sun has set and when the stores are nearing closing time, the danger of spending at all is lessened. When you arrive home to a stack of mail you are too bleary eyed to spend much time on, it's a lot easier to toss the catalogues from favorite retailers without so much as a glance.
All that to say, I am still on my quest to spend less and be more aware when I do part with my money. Thanks to the aforementioned circumstances, it's actually been something of a breeze lately. But, to quote an old platitude, "God isn't finished with me yet." Just when you think you're handling something pretty well, you get taken to the next level and things start heating up again. Hence, the great, green wallet scenario unfolds.
A week ago last Friday we went to church. I opened my purse and removed my wallet to take out a check for the offering. I re zipped my purse and then I placed my wallet on top of it. I had a momentary thought that I should put it back inside immediately but, quashed the idea and there it stayed. An hour or so later, services ended and we got up to go home. I grabbed my purse and we were off. If wasn't until much later that night I realized my wallet never made it home.
I mused to Mike the next morning, that if you're going to lose a wallet, a church is the best possible place to do so. This despite my knowing that a stranger to our congregation entered our building a few months ago, ripped an offering box off the wall and made off with it's contents lickety split. I was still pretty confident it would show up. I called my friend, the always helpful Nancy, who intervened and was able to reach one of the stewards at our church building. I drove there and was met by Roy, a steward who is also deaf. The sad expression on his face and his shaking head made it very clear that the wallet was gone.
My beautiful, soft, classic emerald green wallet, gleefully found on a sale table at Nordstrom many months ago, was gone forever. That along with sixty dollars in cash, ATM cards, credit cards, my driver's license, a thirteen dollar Ralph's voucher and two full Pinkberry punch cards. All MIA. Ugh.
Do you find it as interesting as I do how God makes sure we hear what He has to tell us? I begin a new year quest to spend less, give more and be a better steward of what God has given me. Next, I'm preparing to lead a small group of young women in a study on money. Then, my wallet disappears. As Alannis Morrisette said, "Isn't it Ironic?". Yes it is. But, more to the point, what I refer to as a divine co-inky-dink.
As I've prepared for our small group study, I've been reminded that money is not the root of all evil, as the scripture is often misquoted. 1 Timothy 6:10 actually says, "..the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil..." The truth is, my attitude about my money is more important than how little or how much I have. Larry Burkett, in his workbook, "How to Manage Your Money" suggests we USE things, LOVE people and SERVE God. I hate to admit it, but, sometimes I get that a little confused. Too often, I love and serve things that were meant to be used. Sometimes I use people when I should be loving and serving them. You get the picture.
Losing a wallet is really no big deal. Even a pretty green one I really liked. It's an inconvenience but it's not the end of the world. No tears were shed, except for the sad individual who is so miserable that they'd go to such lengths for a relatively small amount of money. What a sorrowful thought that is. But, I'm thinking it's just as sad if I'm working too much and hence not having the time and energy to serve God by loving people. If I work to provide things I can use to serve and love, I'm on the right track, but, it's a tricky road.
I'm still learning, still stretching and still trying to spend less, give more, and spend with KNOWLEDGE-fully cognizant of how I'm using my resources, and, to what end.
I haven't had a mani-pedi in nearly three months. I'm using generic products more often and have discovered some of them are more than adequate at lesser prices. I actually bought Folger's coffee last week instead of my usual Starbucks brand. (I know-I'm a bit spoiled) I'm not saying that all of these changes will stick for life, but, I am in a constant state of recognition that I should really know exactly how I'm spending the money I give so much time and effort to earn.
There's the challenge. The KNOW spend zone. Get in it.