What’s a Christian supposed to do in a materialistic culture? What’s a Christian supposed to do in a world that says you are supposed to be climbing up the financial ladder and the social ladder?
I’ve been thinking about money and things more lately. Not in the way you would expect, though. It’s been on my mind mainly because I’ve had to sit down and organize how I am going to use my resources because I have a yearly salary for the first time. A small salary, but more than enough. Teachers don’t make a lot, but honestly I’d have so much more than I need as a single person if I made more. I make more than many people around the world. The fact that I can sit down and budget money for rent, utilities, food, clothes, transportation, health, and even entertainment and eating out is more than so many can say. There are people who make so much less and have to feed families of 6 in countries full of corruption and limited resources. There are people wearing the same two shirts every other day, and they’re thankful that they even have something on. Dentists? Starbucks? Psshh what is that?
Not to guilt trip anyone or say that I’m right, but thinking this way helped me put things in perspective. I really like the song “Royals” by Lorde. It started out as a catchy song that was fun to listen to, but then I really listened to it and got thinking. That’s how I am and that’s how I want to stay.
“But everybody’s like crystal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.
We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair.
And we’ll never be royals (royals).
It don’t run in our blood,
That kind of lux just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.”
I don’t need things to make me happy. I could justify purchases and items all day long if I wanted to, but at the end of the day I hate stuff. Why do we have so much stuff. I notice it every time I move. There’s this huge pile of boxes and suitcases full of clothes, shoes, and stuff. It’s all just stuff. If anything, stuff ties me down. It makes it harder to leave, harder to let go, and harder to just remember who I am under all the stuff. It becomes a game of comparison and competition. Especially for girls. Guys compete in other ways, but girls have to be the prettiest, they have to be complemented on how they’re dressed the best, and every dang thing has to be cute. What happened to functional? It’s ok to look good, it’s ok to be pretty, but what happened to functional. Here’s part of another song that got me recently:
“Crooked Smile” – J. Cole
“Though you’re a woman, I don’t know how you deal
With all the pressure to look impressive and go out in heels; I feel for you
Killing yourself to find a man that’ll kill for you
You wake up, put makeup on, stare in the mirror
But it’s clear that you can’t face what’s wrong; no need to fix
What God already put his paint brush on”
So yes, I got rid of a lot of clothes and “stuff” this summer even though I already had less than many other girls I know. I quit wearing make up regularly a year ago and I haven’t regretted it once because I don’t feel the need to cover up the face God gave me – acne and all. I quit buying clothes that don’t serve a purpose such as being weather appropriate, work appropriate, or workout appropriate. I made a budget that includes tithing/giving, staying out of debt, and does NOT use up my entire paycheck. What I’m going to do with that extra money, I am not sure of yet. However, I decided saving up for a nice watch or spending it as I get it is not what I want to do.
I’m not trying to brag that I think I am doing the best thing you can do with your money, but I’m just saying that it’s so hard to keep a good perspective on what our needs really are in this culture. Everything I have I have been given, and it can be taken away in a moment. I’ll just end it with these two verses:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”