When it’s the heart of the matter…

Parenting sure can humble us sometimes, can’t it?  These little people that need so much direction and guidance, yet love so freely with such patience and forgiveness… well, they sure know how to bring out some truths I need to learn without their even realizing it.  If you are a parent, I’m sure you can relate.

We had one of those moments yesterday when I took my kiddos to a local fun place filled with inflatables.  It was supposed to be a fun time of them jumping crazily for hours with one of their friends.  But those arcade game machines were there, and – well, I can’t stand them.  As far as I’m concerned, they are a total waste of money and draw kids to spend it in ways they shouldn’t.  I know – that doesn’t earn me as many “fun mom” points… but I’m just being honest.

Shortly after we got there, one of my kids tattled that their brother had snuck some money in and was planning to spend it on the game machines.  Of course, this is far from the worst decision my kids could make, but even still, I had what I thought was a nice chat with him about how the money could be better spent elsewhere.  After all, he doesn’t have all that much so it doesn’t go too far.  I thought we had come to a nice resolution that he would rather save it for another future and better use, as he ran back cheerfully to the big inflatable Batman slide.

But just a few short minutes later, I saw this same dear boy of mine running around with his hands full of tokens and tickets, and the same other child came up to once again tattle about Brother using his money after all.  (Although at least he shared the wealth with his sister and brother so they all could partake.) 😉 He was a little ashamed but fully acknowledged that he did choose to spend his money, and after that we had another nice chat again about all the ways that money could have been better spent. It was actually kind of fun to think up creative ways to bless others with it.  I talked with him because I love him dearly, and I can see way beyond the current feeling he has and urgency to respond to it.  But ultimately, I can’t really force him to spend money he’s been blessed with in a wiser way, as he gets older and starts taking some responsibility for his actions and learning some wisdom from his mistakes.

Then, after my nice long lecture that he willingly tolerated, and a reminder that I loved him dearly and wanted him to have fun but also learn wisdom with the money he’s been blessed with… it hit me – that’s what I do too.  He’s blessed me.  Oh, He’s blessed me so much.  But I have a hard day parenting solo, so I go treat myself with a coffee or a new Kindle book a reward to myself for making it through.  I feel an extra sense of loneliness, so I go to Target for a few things and end up with some extra non essentials just because they are cute and functional.   And while none of those things are bad, and they don’t really happen all that often for me, the principle behind my actions is still the same.  My Heavenly Father is not enough for me in that moment.  The things of this world lure me in with their simplistic pull of a little momentary fun to be had, in exchange for a patient and quiet trust in a loving God who is jealous for my affections and longs for my heart to be solely His.

It’s October, and I can’t believe there are only three months left in this year.  The holidays are right around the corner, when I take more time than usual to write out gratitude lists and reflect on the Advent season.  But before it all comes October.  The month when the leaves fall and with them, my desires for anything else besides Him can fall too.

So I’ve decided to take up this challenge this month, and am excited to have some friends doing it with me.  Not because I go crazy overboard with my spending and need to reign it in, or because I’ve got to get a handle on my budget.  But because He needs to be enough… and when I first make the choice with my mind not to spend money on anything that is unnecessary, my heart can follow in choosing to let Him be enough.  He is the One my heart craves, and only He can really ultimately satisfy.

And because there are so much better things my money can be spent on anyway, right?  Ask my child.  He now knows of many. 🙂

If you would like to join in on the challenge, I’d love to know about it. It would be great to have even more accountability! 🙂 I’m planning to post an update mid month and at the end of the month.  And whether or not you do, I hope you have a happy October!  Thanks for stopping by! 

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