“You’ve got champagne taste on a beer budget,”
my sweet stepmom would say to me. Born and raised in Mississippi, she has some great one-liners. 🙂 We were pretty poor when we were growing up + lots of siblings = shopping at Goodwill. But, I craved nicer things. I wanted New Balance sneakers and Generra jeans. (How much am I dating myself right now?!) She wasn’t into name brands and still isn’t. And, she certainly wasn’t going to buy me those name brands. She and my dad are still thrifty, even while being very financially comfortable. They still clip coupons for restaurants. They refuse to get a cleaning lady, a lawn service or pay for garbage pickup. I really need to do a post solely dedicated to living a “farmers” thrifty life like my parents! It’s seriously hilarious.
And, let me just clarify, there is absolutely nothing wrong with nicer (or name brand) things. Or with Goodwill, for that matter!
But, to be honest, I did have a shopping addiction when we me and hubs were first married. Many years, fights and bounced checks later, I felt like, “Ok, God has really helped to break that addiction in me.” Then…as I’m reading through the book of Romans, I stumble on this…
Romans 1:29 – “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness…covetousness…”
It’s not a word that we use anymore, so I read some more about it in a commentary. The word literally describes “the itch for more.” Ahhh, now THAT hits me. I may stay in my budget and have an outward self-control on my spending, but I get bit by the “itch for more” more than I would like to admit.
Do you always have a home-improvement project dangling in the back of your mind? Me, too! My hubs and I often say to each other, “If that was done, what would we want then?” Those conversations help me to realize that there really is no end to wanting more. If I had what I wanted, I would just want something else.
Isn’t it funny that the fruits of the spirit are diametrically opposed to the spirit of coveting?
- Peace – it’s not about world peace, man. It’s about having a sense of peace (no matter what the circumstances.) It’s about being OK with where God has you.
- Patience – it’s not about having something immediately, but being able to realize patience in every area of our lives.
- And of course, self-control. To attain any of these qualities, we first must have self-control. With no self-control, we are bound to our own addictions, selfishness and getting our own way. In general, we’re putting ourselves first.
This is what a lack of self-control may look like in your life:
- Can you go into a store without purchasing something?
- Do you “lose it”, in traffic? with your kids? or with your spouse?
- Can you waste hours on social media?
- Do you have trouble implementing a healthy habit?
- Do you feel regret after you consistently overeat/overspend/overwork/over-anything?
- Are you shopping out of your financial status?
- Do you resist having a schedule?
- Does seeing a food commercial make you feel compelled to make/buy/eat it right away?
There are lots of ways we struggle with self-control…what is yours?
Self-control takes a hefty amount of effort from ourselves. (2 Peter 1:5-7) But, it also is a gift from God. Check out these encouraging scriptures:
- 2 Tim 1:7 – “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline…”
- Gal. 5:22-23 – “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…gentleness and self-control.”
- Titus 2:11-13 – “For the grace of God…teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives…”
Take some time to mediate and talk to God about self-control this week. When that little old “itch for more” rears it’s cute little head, squash it! 😉
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Do you struggle with self-control? It’s something I want to encourage in you and you to encourage in me. I would love to hear your comments.
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