Monday, September 17, 2012

Confession #21 - Cheap Thrills Mean Nothin'

If you grew up in the 80's like I did you may remember a song by Planet Patrol called Cheap Thrills.  Cheap Thrills mean nothing...they will tear your soul apart.  Well I've learned this lesson the hard way. 

The school I grew up in taught me if somethings broke don't fix it just buy a new one.   Cheap Thrills.  Spend money on lottery tickets.  Cheap Thrills.  Upgrade your car every few years.  Cheap Thrills.  New Clothes for every vacation.  Cheap Thrills etc....

Growing up in that kind of environment conditioned me to think that money was the only thing that mattered.   I never really put a value on money or how much stuff cost.  If I wanted something I bought it. Now that kind of philosophy might lead one to believe that I grew up in a family with means.  Not so; I grew up in a family that had nothing, but, good credit.  We could pay if off on a cc or make monthly payments so we'd buy it.  To this day many of my dads sentences start, "When I win the lottery...." 

The the odds of winning the lottery are about one in 175 million.  But one of these days dear old dad will. Not.  Sorry folks but dear old dad like the rest of us are just chasing a pipe dream if we really believe that we will win.  Playing the lottery is such a waste of the precious resources that God has blessed us with.  And when we spend our time and energy dreaming about how to spend our windfall we are actually worshipping an idol.  Idol worship is detestable to God.  Col 3:5-6  says, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming!"  Cheap Thrills mean nothing they will tear your soul apart.

Money, sex, food, lust. greed.  God puts the kibosh on it all.  As Christians we are new creations in Christ, we don't need to worship the flesh (our earthly desires) any longer.  Our God will take care of us, He will provide for us.  Matt 6:31-34 says, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or, 'What shall we wear?'  For pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough troubles of its own."

So many years I've gotten myself and my family into financial troubles because I failed to trust God with my money.  Instead I left it up to the bank to refinance my house for more than it was worth, so I could make costly improvements.  Well once the housing recession hit, I became over $150k upside down in my mortgage.  We bought and leased new cars we didn't need because my husband and I thought the other wanted them bad enough and we did want to disappoint one another.  I racked up credit cards throwing fabulous parties, and trying to drown out my depression from not being able to get pregnant.  I chased the dollar and I lost.  What do I have to show for all of this?  Not much. 

After filing for bankruptcy in 2010 my husband and I agreed, no more Cheap Thrills!  I'm officially done with major credit cards.  If we don't have the cash, we don't buy it.  That has been a very difficult rule to live by since we haven't had the cash for much over the last few years.  It's difficult to gas up the car, purchase a new mattress, throw my daughter birthday parties, and the like, but by the grace of God we have managed.  I believe because instead of gambling on greed, I started gambling on God.  I know that sounds strange, but in the midst of my financial struggle instead of spending my last $1 on a lottery ticket my husband I decided to start tithing.  We decided to gamble by trusting God with our money and let Him provide for our needs.

It worked!  I mentioned in a previous post that I have never missed a mortgage payment to date.  We have been able to pay off both our cars.  It's been a struggle and we are still trusting God for some of our needs that have yet to come but we eat three meals a day, our daughter  has new clean uniforms for school and our dogs are fed and the list continues.  God has been faithful even though we are living on 10% less every month. 

Now we pray before we make any major financial decision and stick to a budget.  A long road, may be even longer till we see the clearing through the trees, but somehow God always pulls us through the forest.

"Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for always meeting my needs and even sometimes my wants.  Thank you for teaching me to become a better stewart of the money you have blessed our family with.  Father continue to teach me and guide me in this area, and dear Lord, for my precious sisters may still be chasing Cheap Thrills, may they come to know and trust that you are our only guarantee to happiness." AMEN

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