I’ve started this post three times, trying to get the cute, confessional tone that so many blogs maintain. It’s not coming out right.
So I’m not going to beat around the bush: I feel as though I am spending too much money on myself.
I bought two china teacups today, and a pullover at Target. I bought a cake pop. There are three twenty-dollar expenses from last week in my “Miscellaneous” budget that I have no idea what they were for, except I know they were not gifts.
Christmas is to be a time to give to others, out of love for family & friends and remembrance for God’s great gift to us.
But somehow, I wind up giving more to myself than I do to others.
I’ve long been aware of the sinister quality of American advertising, and I like to think that I’m above the consumerist fray, happily living a simple life and ignoring the siren calls of marketing.
That’s not as true as I’d like it to be, apparently.
Advent seems to be a good time to fix this.
Advent has always struck me as gorgeously symbolic. The weather is getting colder. The days are darker. But in the middle of this darkness, the Light of God has come.
At Advent, we remember that we dwell in darkness, and we wait in hope for the Light. We rearrange our lives so we are looking forwards towards that light, rather than back into the darkness.
And for me, that means spending less on myself.
So I have planned a mini Advent fast: For the next week, from daybreak on Sunday, December 6 through daybreak on Sunday, December 13, I am not going to purchase anything for myself. I can buy things for others (Christmas is coming, after all, and I love buying gifts!), but nothing for me.
That means no books or movies I cannot rent from the library. It means no clothes purchases, no new things for my apartment, no jewelry, no home decorations. There are a few things I’ve been looking at: a bedside clock, new knives, another strand of Christmas lights, but all these can wait a week or two.
Food is the one exception to my fast. Still, here too I am going to exercise some restraint: no candy unless I’m specifically going to use it for a recipe. That means no little Dove chocolates or truffles, my great weakness. I can eat what I already have, but I cannot buy more if I run out or even if I just see something delicious.
To keep this from being just a fancy way of budgeting money, I am going to also going to read my Bible and pray every day. Especially at the end of a busy semester, it’s easy to let daily Bible reading slip away. Not this week.
My hope is that over the next week, as I limit what I purchase, I will see myself less, and see Jesus more. I wait in hope for His coming.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face.
And the things of earth will seem strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
~ Helen H. Lemmel