planets are in motion and galaxies are bright

In the past, when I visited my parents, I would often talk of life as a social worker. I would not give all the details, because that would be illegal and go against the idea of confidentiality, but I talked enough about the line of work that they had a small idea of what I experienced. Life as a social worker was anything but glamorous. It was heartbreaking, challenging, sad, frightening, and... well, a lot of other things.

My dad would usually say "you've seen a different side of life." And he was right.

Growing up, I knew nothing of hardship or struggle. I thought I did, but I was a teenage girl; and the things I experienced as that teenage girl were not exactly hard. The only real struggles I saw and experienced came right out of a Lifetime made for TV movie, and those struggles are more for entertainment than anything else.

Without hardship or struggle, I began to covet material possessions. It was not, by any means, something my parents assisted with. I never received a Coach bag or Abercrombie and Fitch blue jeans I loved so dearly. If I had any of those items, it was due to my earning and spending money. My parents did their best to show me that material possessions weren't the key to happiness or success, but I was a teenage girl and therefore did not listen.

After all, at 15 (and 16, 17, and 18), I knew best; they did not.

It took me several years to even begin to learn that material possessions mattered not at all. When I would begin to understand and grasp the listen, something would happen, and I would turn right back to the world of "stuff." 

It was a empty way of filling myself up. I knew it, and so did the people who mattered most to me. But it seemed to be the only way I knew how to fill myself up. I called it retail therapy and jokingly stated that it was cheaper than actual therapy, which is not true. At least with real therapy, you can pay for it with non-taxed money in a Flex Savings Account; Target does not offer a tax free charge card.

And so now, after years of filling my life, my closet, and my drawers with clothes, shoes, books, and DVDs, I am finding it increasingly hard to bid farewell to material possessions. As I strive to not desire more stuff, I find it harder to turn away from sales and coupons.

I've realized just how little material possessions matter. After all, the material possessions are why my husband and I have credit card debt. The material possessions are part of the reason we do not have the extra money to fix our house, and the material possessions are part of the reason I feel (at times) stuck inside of my house due to a lack of finances for going out.

We own a 80+ year old house. It is a home we rushed into purchasing last January, a home we walked through and instantly felt at home and then ignored some rather large warning signs regarding why it might not have been the best purchase.

I'm learning to accept that our foundation is cracking. I am learning to laugh and then sigh (and then grit my teeth but force a smile) at the cracks in our walls. I am striving to be thankful that we have 1600 square feet of a space and a mortgage we can afford, even if the windows are drafty and need to be replaced. There are so many people without a roof and four walls that would love this home. It's because of my past relationships with material possessions that I struggle with our home now.

It's not just that I want a home, but I want a wonderful home, one with no problems and no shortcomings. I want a wonderful home that costs both an arm and a leg (and probably another body part) that others will fall in love with and be jealous of.

I want these things, and I can't say why exactly. It doesn't matter that the house is perfect. It doesn't need to be. I am 24-years-old; I can not have everything I could possibly want just yet.

But I have always been the sort of person to purchase what I want when I want it and then deal with he consequences later. Right when things would get tough, I would hold up my hands and repent, but months later, I would be back where I had started. Sometimes it wouldn't even take months.

So this time I am gritting my teeth and cutting up my credit cards. I am biting my tongue and not shopping online. I am staying away from Target, other than getting the necessary groceries, and I am deleting most of the emails I get from my favorite stores, regaling my with their sales. It's working, for now, but I can feel the itch of an empty hole to fill.

I'd rather make sure my home was safe and enjoy my life with my husband and our two dogs. I want to be faithful with my finances and my giving so that it will multiply. God has been faithful thus far with our finances, even without our being completely faithful, and how wonderful it will be to see Him be faithful to us when we are faithful to Him.

And it will be wonderful. I just wish it weren't so hard.

Of course, if it were easy, I'd probably not appreciate the smaller and simpler things in life as much as I do.

(title from "you're beautiful" by phil wickham)

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