My friend, a gracious and generous person, LOVES to shop. For herself. For others. For special occasions. For no occasion in particular. She is giving to a fault. In other words, she'd rather give away than save for a rainy day.
This year, she has been attending a financial class at her church. The gist of the course is to get to the root of your finances; tithe to the church and other charities; live within your means; put enough away for later in life; and stop frivolous spending (that may or may not be) driven by a "lack" in other areas of your life.
You know the kind - because we all have them:
lack of faith...to name a few.
We all handle these traits in different ways. Some of us overeat. Some of us drink too much. Some of us compulsively exercise. Some of us are workaholics. And some of us shop! (Myself included.) Whatever method we choose to cover our sadness, we are called to address the reasons for our compensations, so He can help us rub them out.
My girlfriend has shared what a difference this course has made to her and how she is trying to change some things about herself. She wants to be more giving to others in volunteerism ways, not just monetary ones. She gives so much of her time to worthy charities. She is a beautiful soul.
Sometimes, it's difficult, though, to see the road ahead and the stress of our realities becomes too much to bear. One day, she was telling me how upset she was feeling that she couldn't give more to her church. That one of the course objectives was to make sure each person was seeing the value in committing to tithing. She was a wreck!
So I told her, "I don't think God would want you wasting alot of time stressing out about this. That energy is better put to use on constructive things. And we are not called to Heaven by our good works. We are called by faith. He knows the mistakes you've made in the past and knows that you are working to correct them. When you are able, you'll catch up and the do the right thing in your tithing. He will bless you abundantly if you stay on this path, and make your situation such that it will be easier for you. He knows you're trying."
(Okay, okay, all of you devout tithers, pastors and preachers, and financial advisers...I'M SORRY if this was not the advice you would have given. I know it's important. I know we're called to give. But if you had seen her anxiety, maybe you'd lighten up a little? Cut a girl a break, would ya?)
Anyway, she has doggedly continued on the right path. I've told her over and over how much I admire her and how blessed she will be because of it.
Yesterday, I stopped by for a short visit with her, and as she was walking me to my car, she exclaimed, "Oh, I forgot to tell you...I got a promotion and a raise at work!" (I won't disclose the amount but it was definitely worth the announcement.) We just looked at each other, and I burst out, "I told you! I told you that you would be blessed! You know what this is, don't you? It's God increasing you because of your honest intentions." We just laughed - and I asked, "Hey, can I blog about this?"
I had to share it. I had to tell this world of blog readers. I had to encourage you as I was encouraged by this event. Because it proves what I know to be true but is heartening to be reminded of occasionally in the flesh...
That He is in our corner.
That we are His children and He wants the best for us.
That, in our transparency, we are slowly becoming in His image.
And that, by endeavoring to be like Him, our rewards...our increase...our promotion...will be experienced and revealed to us in everything that we do.