POD #10: Sorry, not sorry
As I read this, I thought I don’t apologize for things that I am not at fault for. Then my mind turned towards a gift from my husband from last year. I don’t really carry a purse, but I love looking at them and always fall in love with the most expensive ones. Up until a few years ago, if I bought a purse it was under $30 and usually pretty generic. A purse I thought was cute, would serve it’s purpose, but the reality is would mostly stay in my vehicle.
Then my sister started working as vendor for a name brand place and she would buy me one for my birthday. I knew that she got it for a deeply discounted price, so I didn’t feel bad about value. I felt so special with my new purse each year. It didn’t matter that my purse still usually sat in my vehicle. However, I would still fall in love with the more expensive purses when I went to the department stores. But I wouldn’t dare pay the price of $200 to $800, especially when I don’t really carry it.
Fast-forward a few years and I was sitting in church, and the pastor said something in his message that just hit me at the core. His example was extreme, and honestly offended me a little as he talked about buying new expensive pants for each day. The reality is there are people who are homeless, who are starving, and children with shoes that don’t fit, and frivolously spending money like that just bothers me. However, his point was that God loves us and wants us to have nice things, but that we often discount our worthiness to have nice things. God loved us enough to give His son to pay the price for our sins – it was a hefty price tag. I felt a quickening in my spirit immediately about the purse.
From that message forward, I immediately set out to find a purse that I loved. It took a few months, as I thought I would get a Hobo purse from the gift shop where I work. I still justified in my mind that the cost could be spread out over four checks. Ultimately I found a Michael Kors purse that I loved. My husband bought it on sale, which I was happy about but it was still above what I would normally pay. I was so proud of my purse and really felt like it was a lesson in self-worth. Not that I had to have something so expensive, but that I was valuable enough to have it.
I loved showing my family and close friends, who knew of my struggle and the journey to find the purse. I sent them pictures. My husband was also on cloud nine about it, because I rarely let him buy me things I want, only things I need. I mean he can take e shopping in every store in our mall, and I will walk away with nothing for myself, but a new wardrobe for him and stuff for the kids and grandkids.
Then it came time to head to church. That first night, I immediately felt the need to hide the MK on my bag as I felt like I was showing off. I still loved my purse, but I didn’t want anyone to know that it was an expensive purse. Or that my husband had bought it for me, like a “spoiled little rich girl.” I didn’t want anyone to comment on it. Even now, I rarely carry it. If I need to run into the store I grab my matching wallet. Although now it is less about feeling like I need to apologize for having it, and more about the fact I don’t really carry a purse; if I need to I do.
As much as I would like to think this is an isolated incident, it is not. There are times I compare and I fall drastically short. I find myself wishing I had more of what someone else has. It is rarely a physical thing, but usually a characteristic of their personality or a discipline they have developed. Then there are times I compare or even share and then think to myself “That kinda sounds like everything in the world is all about you.” Or “You’re bragging.” “You’re showing off.” There are times I wish that I would just shut my mouth.
I will be the first to admit, I live a blessed life. I am not a millionaire or really anywhere close, but I love my life and I don’t take for granted where I am. I know that it is only by God’s grace and favor, coupled with stewardship and giving that I am not still a homeless mother living on welfare. There is little about my life that I would change, and I want to give people around me the same hope that God has given me.
I know that I am not in competition with anyone, beside my yesterday self. If I have it to give, I want to give freely. I really think, that is why we are given everything. I want to give out of the abundance that has been given to me. The hope, the blessings, the wisdom, the knowledge, the finances, the personal belongings, the encouragement, the joy, the love – everything I have I want to share with others so that they too can learn to live out of the abundance of life.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38