One of the things that I really remember with not having a lot was when we would go shopping. My sisters and I would sometimes show Ma toys, candies, or pretty dresses and ask her whether we could have it, although already knowing that she would say "no." But we still tried. Then Mama would only say, "When you grow up and have your own job, you can buy what you want." I've memorized those words by heart and I would feel surly and retort, "But Ma... when will that be?"
I had my first real part-time job during my senior year in high school. As a result, I finally had a greater capability of buying what I wanted- clothes, shoes, make-up, and kawaii things. For the first time, I had that thing they call buying power! And I thought it was liberating- very liberating because poverty was such a restrictive force in life.
However, buying power is not actually synonymous to liberty. Contrary to what I thought and the accessibility and prolificacy of stuff in "The land of the free and the home of the brave," liberty can so easily turn into bondage... For example, the gnawing desire to give in to a "sale" because somehow, we'll "save money as we shop!" Or the number of times when we walk out of the mall, already forming a new list in our heads almost as instantaneously as we finish shopping.
"Lust's [or greed's] antidote is contentment," my uncle once said.* God is the Great Provider and every good and perfect gift is from Him (John 1:17), and I believe that He does not intend for His children to live in gripping poverty, rather He desires for us to be blessed... (and I'm going to throw this in, hopefully I don't get browbeat by radical conservatives) holistically (and I don't mean the New Age use of the word)- spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially! But of course, as with every blessing, we don't let any of it rule our lives. Only God has that right! :)
In closing this devotional/thought, I would like to end in Apostle Paul's wise words:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God... I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength" Philippians 4:6,12,13.
May we quiet the voices of anxiety during times of need. May we quiet the voices of discontent during times of plenty. May we always have a thankful heart to the One who gives us every reason to give Him praise and thanksgiving. This is my earnest prayer, too! ^____^
*Credits to Pastor Rob for his "Wattisms" :D
Scripture taken the New International Version (NIV) from Biblegateway.com.