First of all, I love Jen Hatmaker. She has a way of expressing convictions that will pierce you deep into your heart and soul, but without making you feel judged or looked down upon. Reading 7 has been quite the challenge in my life and there are times I have wanted to metaphorically run away so fast, you would only see a streak of Jill running by you. God has used Jen Hatmaker’s words to touch my heart. And I love the words He has given her. I highly recommend 7, to everyone. Seriously, go get yourself a copy. I also highly recommend her blog. Her most recent words have expressed quite acutely what I have been thinking lately in such a poignant and true way.
But my main point for this post is not ramble on about Jen Hatmaker. It’s to talk to you about what I learned from her words and God’s truth speaking into my heart. There are seven areas of excess in 7 that Jen fasted from when undertaking this project. One of those was spending. Money is such a loaded topic, isn’t it? Well, one of the things I took away from the spending chapter was the power that my money has.
Ironic, isn’t it? Jen fasts from spending money and now I’m talking about how I see the power in spending it. Well, just hear me out. Money has a lot of influence in this world. In case we haven’t noticed, and it’s hard not to given our media driven culture, money is capable of a lot good and evil. And most of us suffer from the misconception that in order for us to use the power money has, we have to have a lot of it. Personally, I usually suffer from the misconception that I don’t have enough money or at least, don’t have that much of it. But the truth is, I own a house, I pay my bills, I always eat (trust me starvation is not a problem here), I buy stuff, and there is still money left over in my bank account.
Now don’t misunderstand me and start thinking I can spend money however I please. I am to do those things because I live on a budget and understand the principle of “I spend this much money on bills, this much on restaurants, this much on gas”, etc. My point is that whatever dollars I do have and whatever dollars I do spend have power. Where and how I spend my money, no matter the amount, has power. That’s what I learned from reading the spending chapter. Where I spend my money counts.
Austin is rather proud of it’s small businesses. Keep Austin Weird isn’t just a motto, it is a promotion tactic for encouraging people to shop locally, eat locally. This is one of areas I want to work on when it comes to changing my spending habits. Trying to spend locally more. I was rather proud of myself last Saturday. I used two Living Social Deals that introduced me to new local businesses and then I got lunch at a local restaurant. It was a fun day and I felt great at the end of it because I contributed to my local economy.
I know spending locally isn’t always easy and often it can mean spending more money than you would like. But, for me, this has been motivation to be a better steward of my money. I would rather save up to spend a little more at a local business that I know is supporting local farmers or local charities or employing people locally, than indulge every little whim at a chain that doesn’t necessarily treat people well or whose only goal is to line the pockets of their most senior employees at the expense of the people under them. (I’m not saying that all chains are bad, just most of them are not local business therefore a lot of the money earned does not stay within the local economy.)
I’m not anywhere close to perfect at this. Believe me, I still spend a lot of money at big box stores, chain restaurants, etc. (For example, I have plans to go to Plucker’s tonight to watch the Olympics with friends.) But knowing the power my money has, even if it is just $1 can make a difference. I don’t mean to be preachy, I just want to encourage people to think about what I’ve been thinking about it. How am I using the power that is my ability to spend my money?