Monday, February 28, 2011

My Chains Are Gone; I've Been Set Free....

I've never been addicted to drugs or alcohol but God has broken the chains that used to bind me to material things and a small piece of plastic called a credit card.
This weekend my friend Shelli and I went to the mall because I had a gift card to Macy's that I wanted to spend.
As we roamed the store looking at price tags I couldn't bring myself to pay what they were asking for clothes. $70 for a pair of blue jean shorts, $50 for a shirt, $100 for a dress.
The old me wouldn't have hesitated to spend that kind of money on clothes but God has changed me. I used to not think twice about swiping my credit card - I racked up $15,000 in credit card debt in college because I was trying to find happiness in the latest trends.
I used to leave the mall feeling down and frustrated that I didn't have the money to buy all those expensive clothes. Saturday I left the mall irritated that a piece of fabric costs so much.
I left the mall Saturday with one small bag of new underwear. They were not a splurge but a necessity considering most of mine had holes in them. Happy Birthday to me!
We live in a world that says we have to have the trendiest clothes and the latest and greatest stuff in order to be happy. I spent years buying into that lie, desperately trying to find happiness in the clothes that I wore or the material things I paid for with a piece of plastic.
God's Word says, "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."  (1 Timothy 6:8)
It's taken me a long time, but I think I'm closer to this kind of contentment than I've ever been before.
I have a new friend named Abby who lives her life following 1 Timothy 6:8. I desire to be more like her.
She took me shopping at Good Will on Friday (that's where she buys a majority of her clothes and she always looks cute). I told her I wanted her to teach me the tricks to shopping at Good Will. She told me "You can't look at the clothes for what they are but for what they can become."
She turned a long floral skirt into a strapless dress just by adding a belt. I want to be more like Abby! She has such a heart for Jesus and she does a great job of not living for the things of this world.
I do not want to live my life falling for the lies of this world that say we must have name brands to be happy, feel beautiful or feel good about ourselves.
My mother-in-law usually takes me shopping for my birthday and in the past I have always ended up with a lot of new clothes. This year as my birthday approached I felt very convicted about our annual shopping trip. I think when you are in the process of adopting a baby from a country where most people live on less than $2 a day, your desires change.
I sincerely appreciate my mother-in-laws generosity and her willingness to take me shopping but I couldn't let her spend all that money on "stuff" when John and I are trying so hard to live different from the worlds standards. I would have been a hypocrite if I would have let her buy me a bunch of stuff when John and I have been trying to be a good witness and steward of what God has given us.
We are rich compared to many parts of the world - blessed beyond words. As I walked around the mall I didn't see a single thing that I NEEDED or even anything I really wanted for that matter.
I did get a pair of TOMS and that was the perfect birthday gift. I haven't worn another pair of shoes since Karen bought them for me.
God has changed me and He continues to change me - giving me a heart that desires the things He desires. Not the pricey price tags at the mall that will only bring temporary happiness.
I like the way Abby thinks. She told me the other day that clothes just cover your body so there's no need to spend a fortune on them.
When we have a personal relationship with God, when we are filled with His love, peace, joy and hope, we really do start seeing life the way Jesus did.
"But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that."
As Christians life isn't about bigger houses or how much stuff we can collect. We are supposed to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23)
I do not want to stand before God someday and have to admit that I spent my resources on temporary things instead of eternal ones.

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