Honestly, I have never been good with money – As a matter of fact I completely fail when it comes to saving money and using it for the “right” purposes – If I get the littlest of change, I spend it. The craziest thing about? The money that I so helplessly spent was either the light bill money or for some other bill that was “currently due” – I would spend it all, sometimes on a gorgeous pair of shoes that felt like I just “had” to have (as if the world was going to end, if I didn’t have them in my possession) I mean how many more shoes could a girl need – I already had a closet of 60 but one more wouldn’t hurt, so I convinced myself to think….
PAUSE/INTERMISSION: The testament that I am about to tell is “a true story” but then all the articles that the Lord allows me to write are, however; there are some things that are surface stories meaning they are very easy to write about and then you have those “core” stories that you don’t want anyone to know about, the stories that if you tell them; people will have a tendency to judge you and/or look at you sideways like they ain’t ever did anything out of the ordinary…well, this is that story….
I spent every dime, it was either wasted on unnecessary “fast food” – clothing, shoes, jewelry, other people and the list goes on and on; I would be the one at the end of the month looking for ways to pay a bill that I had the money for at the beginning of the month, I would also be the one at the end of the month wondering what my kids were going to eat – when I full well had enough money to buy enough groceries for at least two weeks until pay day. So what would I do? Take off work and go to the food bank just so we could have food to last until next payday…..sad, I know – Trust Me, I’ve beaten myself up many times for that one.
I would spend money on so-called friends – buying them gifts, knowing good and well I couldn’t afford it but because I wanted people to accept me; I felt like buying them gifts would surely put me first on their list as a “true friend” – I would always purchase the things that I wanted, really never paying attention to the things I needed until they started piling up against me. I took advantage many systems especially the bill payment systems; because I knew if I was late with a bill, I could make a payment arrangement to give me some wiggle room which only caused the bill to be higher the following month. Once, a friend of mine had turned me on to my local bank, at the time if you had at least $1.00 in your account – you could fill your tank up with gas, I have to tell you – I milked that to the max, more money in my pocket I thought, however the downside of that was when I got paid, I had to pay that money back and trust me $30.00 may not seem like a lot coming out of your check but for me it always happened at the most unfortunate times when something else was due and I was just shy of having the money to pay for; which went toward a gas credit that I could have easily paid for in advance.
I can’t tell you how many countless times I misused money, the most hurtful experience of misusing money for me was not when I didn’t have the money to pay the bills, or when I needed food in the refrigerator, it wasn’t even when my children had a need and I couldn’t supply it – because I misused the money on my selfish wants and needs, It wasn’t how much I needed gas in the car & it wasn’t the countless mistakes of not cooking at home just to fill up on the drive-thru’ s all week long. The most hurtful part was – Out of all the money that God had blessed me with, I didn’t have enough for him. I would go to church feeling so guilty when the plate came around knowing that I had the money (tithes and offering) to place in the plate a week or two ago and spent it on decorating a house that no one ever visited; or shoes that I had just one too many pairs of, or clothes that I wanted to look so well in just to show people that I had it like that, jewelry that was in such excess in my cabinet that it was falling out the drawers – I neglected God, I mean I gave sometimes but it wasn’t consistent with my paycheck; as most of my giving was out of a guilty conscience…..
When I was younger, I started working at the tender age of 15 to help my mama take care of the house, I never got a chance to do the things that I wanted to do with my money as it always had to go on a bill or for household purposes, I grew up with a single mom whom had to work multiple jobs just to put food on the table, so I vowed that when I got old enough to work that I would help her out no matter what and that is what I did.
However going to school and seeing girls with nice clothes, fresh hair-do’s and new shoes didn’t help the situation of working all summer and really not having anything to show for it but thrift shop clothes and shoes handed down from a cousin; while this was all that my mama could do and I knew she generally tried her best and I’m so grateful to her for that – I never really got the chance to spend my money on the things I wanted because it always went toward what was needed. As I grew older this trend continued of making sure mama had money to keep us afloat – she would suggest that I go and get my hair done or buy a new outfit and I would, but it was short lived as now I had responsibilities – A car and insurance payments to add to the bills that needed to be paid in mama’s house.
So as I grew older and moved out, I knew how to pay bills but didn’t necessarily want to do it as I felt like that was finally my time to splurge on the things that I always wanted, which again was short lived as well because “First came love, then came marriage – Then there I was with a baby carriage!” So more responsibilities were in tow but it didn’t help as my addiction with spending money only worsened as you read up top… As a cover up to my lucrative habit; I always thought of the days of not having money to spend as I wished and used that as an excuse to do the unnecessary things that I did.
While none of this was easy to say, I said it because the bible says “If we confess our sins, he’s just and righteous to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) You see when people think or talk about addictions, the first thing they think of are the “BIG” sins as we call them like Sex, Drugs & Money but there are other sins that we tend to go through that we sort of sweep under the rug, first let me say that there is no such a thing as a Big or Little Sin – Sin is sin no matter how you look at it or view it. However God is calling for us to be Good Stewards over the things that he places in our possession like:
If we’re not being a good steward over these things then we’re causing our path in God to shift, our direction is driven by the lust of the eye which knocks us completely off course in obeying God to the fullest.
We may go to church but if you’re not being a “full-time” steward then you’re walking in disobedience.
Maybe you haven’t been the best steward with the money that God has given you and maybe just maybe you haven’t been the best listener in your relationship; it could be that your timing for some reason is always off, because you can never get anywhere on time; you might even exhaust your resources every month or it could be that your words are a little harsch when you’re speaking to someone….Well Guess What! We’ve all been there and while we’re all works in progress – Don’t forget that true change only happens when you face your addiction and/or issue head on and quit denying the fact that you don’t have a problem. Once I owned up to my responsibility of being wasteful with my money – I could finally let God in to fix those holes in my pocket. I’m on a better track now and improving daily as now when I get money I consult the Lord first and ask him to lead me to think wiser and do the right thing concerning it….
While the BIG stores are still calling my name and while I may feel tempted to accept the calling, I know that I have a responsibility not only to myself but to be a really good steward for God; it may not seem like the most popular thing to digest but it beats sinking in a hole every month and crying out to a merciful God for help whom will pull you out, BUT gives us all 5 senses to do better, think better, act better & give better…