Being a mother comes with so many blessings. There are the obvious ones, like kissing tiny toes, hearing first words, and watching little ones grow into young ladies and gentlemen who love the Lord. Parenting also teaches me so much about myself, for example, when I respond impatiently (OK, angrily) to ever-piling messes and never-ending bedtimes. My God, on the other hand, is slow to become angry with me.
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Aren’t you glad God isn’t like us?? What are your favorite “ways” of the Lord, that are not like our ways?
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Well! Paying with cash this past week wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be! As planned, I used my debit card for my weekly grocery trip, then got cash for any food purchases for the rest of the week (except for our anniversary dinner). Not only did I spend about 20% less than I usually do on food in a week, the experiment was a wonderful lesson in delayed gratification. Here is how we did:
- No mid-week food shopping at the grocery store. We didn’t run out of food, and had more than enough to eat for meals and in-between. It makes me wonder why I always feel the need for those extra stops.
- No driving-thru to pass the time. We have 50 minutes to fill while one of my kids is at an activity three times a week. Instead of amusing ourselves with food, we drove back home, ran errands, or one time we went inside to watch the lesson. (Earlier in the year, we would go to the playground to get some exercise ourselves. But with shorter says upon us, it’s too dark now.) The room was crowded, and my three-year-old wiggled like three-year-olds do, but it was a better use of our time than French fries.
- There was a lot less asking for treats. In fact, one evening after being out for errands near dinner time, I wanted to stop for a snack. “But we didn’t ask!” one protested. We weren’t going to a favorite spot, and he didn’t want to waste our limited funds on a place we didn’t like that much. He wanted to save it. “Is this coming out of our food cash?” they wanted to know. It did, and it honestly wasn’t worth it. The line was so long, we may have eaten sooner if we had just gone home.
- While there was less asking for treats, there was a great deal of discussion and planning of treats. I would hear them say things like, “If we don’t get anything the rest of the week, we will have enough money for frozen yogurt on Saturday.” That’s what they really wanted, and they were willing to wait for it, if required to. When Saturday came and I handed over the last of the cash to pay for the yogurt, we were actually happy about it! It was a real treat, and we appreciated it. I am always lecturing the kids about self-control, but I need to give them a chance to actually practice it! And I need to practice it myself.
Does this mean it is actually possible to change?? It doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? Spending a few less dollars on food. But using my debit card for everything (and not being terribly thoughtful about it) is a long-held habit, so the fact that I was able to do something a little differently, at least for a few days, is somewhat encouraging. It’s encouragement that I need, honestly, because I do get very discouraged about other long-held habits (like worrying, or being impatient) that I want to change but haven’t. But bit by bit, I know that He is working on me. One day at a time.
~~For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you (and me!
) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6
Thanks for stopping by,
P.S. And yes, I am going to stick with using cash for food! 🙂