Encouragement for Today
“Confessions of a Recovering Shop-a-holic”
P31 Speaker and Author, Development Coordinator
Key Verse: “Honor the Lord with your possessions …” Proverbs 3:9 (NKJ)
To be honest with you, there was a time when I wished Proverbs 31 Ministries' Principle Five, "The Proverbs 31 Woman contributes to the financial well-being of her household, being a faithful steward of the time and money God has entrusted to her" did not exist. Being a faithful steward of the time and money God and my husband entrusted to me has not always been an easy task.
I suppose it started years ago when I rode in the Country Squire station wagon with my mother from destination to destination searching for the "bargain of the century.” My mother taught me to be an expert bargain shopper. So much an expert that even now, many years later, friends call me for shopping tips and questions about where to get the best deal on what they’re looking for.
What I believe my mother meant for good, the enemy used for evil. Somewhere along the way, through disappointing times in my life and low self-esteem, I began to see shopping as an escape. It became the way I brought myself happiness. I use the word “happiness” because happiness describes a temporary emotion based on circumstances. Joy is something deep within yourself that remains regardless of your circumstances.
I entered my marriage in debt and managed to keep us in debt during most of our early years together. The debt I accrued became my secret. I hid credit card bills from my husband, as well as new things that I bought. Each month, I would scrape enough money together from my household budget to make the minimum payments. The lie kept me from having an honest and open relationship with my husband. It also kept me from experiencing the real joy that comes with an intimate relationship with Jesus. It was a true sickness.
This first step I took to rid myself of this sickness was commit to meet each morning with the greatest financial advisor who ever lived, Jesus. This is before my shower, juice and kisses from my family. In my quiet times, I asked God to change me. I begged Him to give me a heart to know Him. I invited him to teach me, refine me, and make me pleasing and acceptable in His sight.
I also made the choice not to go to the mall or other stores unnecessarily. Something else that was helpful to cure the sickness was to see where I was spending money by recording the amount for every purchase in a small notebook. The final step I took to financial freedom was to cut up my credit cards and confess my lifestyle to my husband.
Now my joy comes from something that cannot be stolen – how about you?
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, You are Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides. Help me to trust You to provide my physical needs as well as my emotional needs. Forgive me for making foolish choices when it comes to spending the money You entrust to me. Reveal to me changes I need to make in my spending habits, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Additional Resources:Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
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Write down all “frivolous” debt you have like credit cards and department store cards. Begin praying over it. Ask God for the discipline and courage to cut up the cards and come clean. If you don't have any frivolous debt, praise the Lord for your freedom from such debt.
Are you in credit card debt?
How often do you go to the mall or other stores to "window shop?"
Where do you seek joy?
Proverbs 17:16, "Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?" (NIV)
Ecclesiastes , "Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor." (NIV)
1 Timothy 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." (NIV)
Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (NKJ)
Originally published Monday, 20 November 2006.