Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Much is TOO Much???

I've been struggling lately...really it's been a struggle within myself.
I've been asking myself, "How much is "too" much"???

I can honestly say the last 2 years we have been feeling the pull of the world towards worldly "stuff" (iphone's, flat screen tv's, etc) and the pull towards putting our treasure towards godly "stuff"...investing in lives, souls, hunger, helping those in need, etc. (BTW, I do have an iphone that a friend blessed me with...thank you friend!:)(We still do not have a flat screen tv and I'm not judging you if you have these things...we'd really love one...we just haven't gotten it yet:)

So that has brought me to a question that I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one dealing with...last night I saw this post from Shannan @FlowerPatchFarmGirl Obviously...she has been wondering "How Much is Too Much" too.

The pairing down/weeding out the useless spending seems to have all started for us 12 years ago when my then 9 month old daughter was calling the babysitter momma cause she was with her more hours of the day than she was with me. We prayed concerning that and my husband felt that I should quit my $20/hour Procurement Manager job and stay home. I thought it would be fun at first but for the social butterfly in wasn't. I kicked and bucked against that for a few years before I settled down to acutally liking/preferring being home. It was a huge change for us loosing my more 'extras' or shopping sprees for me. Time to tighten the purse strings.

At around that same time...we were living in the house of our dreams with amenities of an acre of land with a built in pool, jacuzzi, clubhouse, trampoline, swing set, 2400 sq ft of living space with a two car garage...I LOVED that place!!! After 4 years of living there we felt the Lord calling us to give up that dream house, downsize and get debt free. We had always been debt free except for our house and home equity husband is a bit older than me and we knew we needed to get on the ball with getting our finances under control. We wanted our mortgage (which the root meaning is "death-grip") paid off and we also wanted to be able to "give" more away.

So we sold our dream home for $45K more than we paid for it in 2004 (thank you Jesus) and purchased a new villa for about $20k less than our dream home had cost us. We worked at paying it off and got rid of our mortgage (death-grip)& home equity loan about 3 years ago (thank you, thank you Jesus!!!). One would think when you pay off your house, you would be able to take that money you were spending on the mortgage and be able to save it every month and have a nice nest egg. Yeah...I would think we would be able to too but we increased our giving and then we encountered a major surgery each year for the last 3 years that had us max out our family medical deductible every year...ugh.

We have started couponing, shopping at Goodwill and garage sales(mostly for fun), will only buy things that are on clearance/on sale and try to buy used things in good condition. As I am reading lately about people moving into "tiny houses", I'm back to the question of "How much is TOO much?" Is a full pantry, 2 decent vehicles and a paid off comfortable home too much? After we pay taxes, tithes, our givings and alimony to my husbands first wife...we live off of below the listed median household income...I don't think that's too much but compared to many around the world...maybe it is? I sure wish God would just tell me plain out because everything we buy and consider buying is weighed against this in my mind. As I go through my list of 'wants' most of my friends say - Oh, it's ok, God wants you to be blessed...while so many are hurting and starving around the world...does He really? I know He wants to provide all my needs but how much wanting is too much?

Is wanting to go on vacations instead of mission trips too much?

We here in America live such extravagant lives compared to most all other countries and I've been on enough mission trips to see the poverty. I'm still struggling and feeling the pull of the bigger, the better, the next big thing...but when does it end? WHEN is enough, enough??? Would God call us to give it "all" away? To give up a life of comfort to live where He wants us to live and do what He wants us to do?

I would love to hear your point of view on this...please share with me your thoughts.

How much is too much???

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