It has been 3 years since God told me to move to Edinburgh and I actually was obedient to his command for once.
I have obeyed God more than once…but um…I do occasionally ignore or question some of the (from my perspective) weird/wacky/insane things He has asked me to do. Like break up with my Christian boyfriend, or get up and share my testimony to all the folks at the YF service or drop out of my degree in my 3rd year into it to study something completely different or go to South Africa….
Anyway. Over the last 3 years my biggest challenge has been going from student (a time where money was rarely an issue thanks to part-time jobs, working summers, financial support from my Dad and not paying Council Tax) to Community Learning Worker (a time where my first pay check made me cry, but I could still live fairly comfortably) to working part-time for a charity (goodbye holidays and retail therapy).
I’m going to be honest. When I see folks on Twitter announcing they’ve just bought the latest iPhone or I see folks going on more than one holiday per year, I get a little bit ‘grrrr that’s not fair’ (I do believe the word for this is jealous). It’s not pretty, and I’m not proud of it.
Absolutely I sometimes have a moan to God about the whole thing. How come they are blessed with all these wonderful material things, and I’m struggling, money is a constant worry?
(and God said…read Psalm 73)
I get down because I can’t buy the clothes and shoes I’d love to wear to feel a little bit more ‘me’ or ‘pretty’ or well, just generally less of a scruffy minger!
I get sick of being uncool.
There are times where I just want to sign up for a gym membership or a dance class (I miss it lots…).
I hate not being able to treat my friends. I would love to send care packages to some of my friends abroad. I would love to treat my friends to something special that I know they’d really love and appreciate on birthdays and Christmas and so on.
I wish I could give some regular financial support to some of my friends doing ‘mission’ work abroad.
I would love to be able to have an hour long conversation with my friends who don’t live in Edinburgh where I can hear their voice! (thank you Jesus that I discovered Skype!)
I burst into tears and yelled at God in a car park in January when my sister asked for my help and support when we waited to hear whether my Dad would be coming out of his ‘residence’ of the previous 6 months, and then screwed her over leaving her about to be homeless in London. I couldn’t just ‘fly’ down or hop on a train.
I hate when my friends offer to take me out for a meal out or whatever when I know that I can’t do the same for them all the time.
But I’m glad that I’ve gone through these last 3 years not being a millionaire’s daughter anymore. It’s taught me a lot about the difference between needs and wants, and when I have been able to buy a new nail varnish or get a DVD or a new pair of jeans I’ve appreciated and enjoyed it so much more!
Because it is a blessing, a privilege and not a right.
You know, I’m quite happy with my 4 year old regular Nokia mobile phone. It’s nice I have pics on it of me aged 21, my sister aged 14 and my brother aged 10 on it! I don’t have internet on it, and it doesn’t have applications for everything you could ever think of..but do I need that on my phone? No.
And yes, my iPod of the last few years does run out of ‘juice’ pretty quickly, but hey it still plays music. Not everyone has one.
And I’m much more savvy when it comes to things like coupons, cheap tickets to the cinema and saving up my loyalty card points.
Since South Africa, I’ve not gone into my overdraft once. And I’m quite proud of that. I don’t have credit cards. I do have a mortgage but I’ve never missed a payment.
And there is still much improvement to be made on my (lack of) financial management skills.
I’ve learned a lot. For sure, I’d love for my financial situation to change for the better, mainly for the opportunities that come with it (like not living with my maternal parental unit for example!) but this is what God has given me for the moment.
And I hope that if I do get blessed in the future, I will steward it wisely.