I've had some pretty major yard sale scores the last couple of weekends, and it could not have come at a better time. The last few months have been the worst financially since Matthew and I got married [don't even mention October...which I renamed "Sucktober" very maturely!], and it is of course time to gear up for the holidays, which we are hosting for the first time this year. Then throw in the move mid-october plus a 14 month old plus my pregnant belly suddenly getting giant seemingly overnight, making me MUCH less efficient, and we have what you could call a tight spot on our hands. [Note: Shiloh is not a "tight spot"...her ability to climb on things and reach things above her head may be, though ;)]
Anyway, at times when it's tough financially, it's easy to start doubting everything you're doing, wondering if maybe you've been a bad steward somewhere and so God can't trust you with as much, so you start pulling your life apart to look at everything you've done. The problem with that is, it's not about you.
Yes, you absolutely are responsible for being a good steward with what you've been given. And yes, there is biblical evidence that God rewards good stewardship[Matthew 25:14-30]. But, when you begin to think that God's provision and faithfulness is tied to something you're doing, you're making it about you and your works, instead of the fact that God is love, and will be gracious and just.
So that's what I learned [and have been learning, and continue to learn]: it's not about me. If I would just go ahead and really learn this lesson, God could stop trying to get it through my head and work on another part of me...but I am just not learning it very quickly. I'm very grateful He loves us in our messiness.
Another temptation in financial hard times is to doubt not ourselves, but God. This is always a dumb idea. God is always God, He is always Love, He is always just and kind and gracious. But when we don't receive something the way we expect to, we refuse to receive it at all, sort of like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. If we would just step back in those moments and remind ourselves of the Truth : God is good, He is Love, He is my Father, and He will provide for me, we would be able to see where He is providing for us in a different way.
Like my yard sale scores.
We have [literally] a zero dollar budget for anything other than food for Thanksgiving. So decorations and things of that nature were totally out the window, which isn't a big deal, but kind of a bummer. It's my first Thanksgiving as hostess, and I'd like to be kind of fancy and fun about it, you know? And although this seems like a silly little desire, God knew this desire of my heart and made a way for me. He didn't give us a bigger check so I could go out and spend money on brand new stuff. He did, however, remind me that Matthew and I had seen a moving sale that morning and that since they said everything must go, they probably just put everything out by the street after the sale.
All in neat stacks in boxes was everything I needed. Platters and dishes and candles and decorative things...I mean everything I could've wanted from a store. For free. My friend Haley and I went by and loaded up the Jeep [no exaggeration...we packed it out!] and even got to meet the owner of the stuff and hear their story. And this was doubly exciting to me because I hate the idea of buying/consuming new things and increasing the need to just make more and more junk to sell in stores for way too much when there are people throwing the same stuff out every day right down the street. It's crazy to me! When did we get too snooty to re-use someone else's candle holders or board games or pictures frames [and the list goes on and on]?! Crazy.
I think that's why Jesus hearts yard sales. We learn to consume less, respect the earth more, and find our identity in "stuff" less. We learn to be creative. We learn to share with other people who may need what we don't anymore. It's just good common sense. In case you didn't notice, I heart yard sales too. :]
This now feels super long. Hope it made sense. Now I'm going to bed. :]