and ramblings on everything in between
That title is definitely a lie. I’m totally cheap.
My focus the past few years has been not buying what I don’t really need, not wasting what I already have, and not throwing out what can be reused. I borrow a lot of things from friends, I repurpose things that are already in my house, I give away what I no longer need so someone else can put it to good use.
I live simply and cheaply and I like it that way.
All this time, though, I’ve been doing it for me. Being cheap allows me to live within my means and pad my own bank account. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of 7 by Jen Hatmaker that I started to realize my focus is flawed. In the book, Jen and her family reduce excess in seven areas of their life: clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress. They decided to consciously live with less so they could create more space for God and give more generously to the poor. Um, yeah…so not my perspective.
I feel challenged (and certainly convicted) to start rethinking why I do the things I do. In large part, I fight to be resourceful so I can minimize the amount of stuff I later put into a landfill. I want to be smart about what I purchase so the money is there for when I really need to purchase something. Now I’m beginning to realize that, while those are smart and wise things to be conscious of, there are people all around me who need love and support and basic needs to be met.
At one point in the book, Jen referenced that if the rich took the time to see the poor there would be no more poverty. She suggests instead of dropping a carload of stuff off at Goodwill, imagine if you dropped it off at a homeless shelter and interacted with a few residents? Instead of sending a check to your favorite charity, what if you volunteered a few hours to work elbow to elbow with them? Facing the need eye to eye changes the whole experience. It makes it real and personal and hard to deny. We would be forced to truly acknowledge the great needs some people have and the great excess we have lying around our house unused, unneeded, untouched.
This idea hit me hard. I know my thoughts and my hopes and my money would all look differently if I spent more time out in the thick of it. I could still be the same ol’ cheap me, but for the purpose of serving others instead of my bank account. Jen’s call to action in 7 is to be a mindful steward of what God has given you. Our model is Jesus, and guess what? Jesus lived cheaply, owned next to no possessions, never had a decent home, and always focused on serving others. And the guy had all He ever needed.