Photo Courtesy: David Clode @ Splasher
“I never knew you intimately!”
Please forgive me for not reaching out to you sooner. You always called me into fellowship but I was way too busy with all sorts of earthly distractions. Busyness is my worst enemy still today. You waited patiently for me to come to my senses.
“I am so glad you did!”
You are a Faithful God and my only constant source of fulfillment today. The Truth reminds me at Sunrise, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 NIV
I believed in a forgiving, compassionate and merciful God but never took time to build a relationship. I just did not know where to begin. I was lost and dead in my transgressions for way too long.
Life was empty, purposeless and meaningless without Jesus Christ. I was a dead walking woman who had lost hope at the end of my thirties. I was living in desperate times. I was so desperate for Your living water and did not even know it back then. I drank from all sort of wells and was never pleased. I wanted more.
When I focused on temporary circumstances whether it was a shopping extravaganza, a relationship, achievement or perfectionism at work or career, I was never fulfilled. When the adrenaline rush would fade away, I would pursue for more. Some individuals described it as insanity; ‘doing’ the same thing over and over again, and expecting different outcomes. Even though I shopped often, I expected to build a retirement plan. I budgeted differently over the years and expected to budget well for retirement. Fortunately, the vicious cycle somewhat improved and it drastically had an impact on my financial future!
“My life was unmanageable for quite some time! How did the never-ending cycle begin?”
I am not sure but I still remember how much fun it was to shop with my folks back then.
As I was finishing graduate school in my late twenties, I remember telling dad I was exhausted and stressed out over time-sensitive projects. I was insecure, afraid and fatigued after a long week of work duties and demanding deadlines in school. I didn’t think I was going to finish the program successfully. I was a nervous wreck and anxious when I arrived at my folks’ home one afternoon.
“Do you have time to visit a car dealership?” Dad asked.
His invitation was unexpected but I was excited for another outing with my parents. I was emotionally spent over my academic performance and this outing was an excellent way not to think about any of my concerns.
Every time I spent quality time with both of my parents, life was uncomplicated and fun. I will always cherish our unforgettable memories from the past.
By the end of the evening, my folks had gifted me a brand new automobile. The leather smell of the interior seats of the vehicle made a long-lasting impression. I still remember today!
“How awesome was that?” I was fortunate to have generous parents, I know.
The fruitless habit was then established. If I needed to relax or feel better, I would step out of the house and engage in ‘retail therapy’. I was careless about the budget and retirement plan.
”How insane was that?!”
I am not blaming dad for needless spending today or ever. I take full responsibility for my own actions and past insanity over my finances.
Have you ever noticed a pattern of thoughts or feelings or even circumstances you may react to? We usually experience a distinct thought, emotion and/or environmental trigger(s) prior to our action(s).
I recently identified a pattern in my thought life. The pattern changes depending on the time of the day and/or the circumstances. Some common thoughts, related emotions, and triggers were the following, “I am exhausted (physical state/trigger), I worked hard all day long (thought) so let me browse the internet (action)” or “I am having a bad day (trigger) so let me take a break and check out the sale announcements (actions)” or “I have extra money (trigger) so why not shop?!” or “I love what I just saw on FB (trigger), I want one (thought).”
Were you able to journal your thoughts, emotions and circumstances prior to fruitless habit last week?
Once I have a thought about shopping an item or two, I tend to think about it often. I may even obsess over the upcoming sales or limited edition. I then proceed to think about the functionality (if any), value or the benefits of the desirable item, spend a considerable amount of time browsing the internet and comparing prices. By the time I am finished with my ‘due diligence’, I am convinced the item is needed or else I would think I am missing out. After the item is purchased, I lose interest shortly thereafter. Sometimes, I even forget I own it and may even purchase it once again!
It all starts with an initial thought, emotion or circumstance to begin the cycle. Once it starts, the inability to stop is evident. At this point, I’ve asked myself, “Who has time to budget?!”
”I hope you do, my friend.”
God encourages us to think about what is true, helpful, inspiring, trustworthy and ‘necessary’. (Philippians 4:8)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
I am learning to trust you, Lord, much more today. I have been peaceful and joyful since I surrendered my heart.
I still remember the winter morning I repented of all of my sins, asked Jesus to come into my heart and began to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“It was snowing on the date I realized… You were the only way, the truth, and the life. No one knows our Father unless we know you first” (John 14:6).
My life has been transformed since Jesus Christ has been the central focus of my life.
It has been like the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Butterflies evolve and change over time. My life has evolved gradually over the past decade. I am still work in progress though. It has been a transformation from a reckless lifestyle to a peaceful style of living.
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Reiman @ Splasher
My attitude, mindset, and perspective are being renewed every day when I read your Word at sunrise. The Holy Spirit is my Helper and definitely an empowering life coach, and your precepts are teaching me how to establish new boundaries in self-care and be a better manager of my finances.
Lord, I still need help with retail shopping.
“My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:81 NIV
“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,” Psalm 95:1-7 NIV
You are my Salvation, Redeemer, the great King above all gods and my only source of Hope today.
I have been redeemed and transformed with a new purpose.
In Jesus’ name, I boldly praise,
Let us sit at the Lord’s feet:
Inscribe and Meditate John 4: 10-26
Memory Verse: John 4: 13-14 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Consider identifying at least seven, relaxing activities that are available at work, home or in your local community. Give priority to free activities. For instance, an afternoon walk in your neighborhood with a neighbor, friend or spouse.
Personally, I enjoy adult coloring during controversial conference calls at work. It relaxes me and decreases the likelihood for me to shop online after the meeting.
Choose one activity every day, and Journal if you were relaxed or not at the end of the activity. If you were relaxed, did you have any ‘shopping’ urges?
Tip for the week: Consider throwing away ‘sale announcements’ before you open the mail correspondence.