Four years ago I sat in my therapist’s office, crying confused tears about a generous gift My Guy and I had received during the holidays. We owed money to some friends and, knowing that, they gifted us with a fancy date night for our first anniversary. I couldn’t understand this gift, but I knew it was a picture of grace: receiving a good gift that we truly did not deserve.
My therapist listened to me talk, then asked me what the purpose of money was.
I sat back, confused for the second time that session. “To pay for life?” I asked.
She smiled. “The purpose of money is to bless people. Sometimes it’s to bless ourselves and our families. Your friends chose to use their money to bless you.”
Two years later as we trudged through six months of sick leave due to an unsuccessful back surgery, someone slipped some paper into my hand as I bagged my groceries. When I got into my car, I found a check for a significantly large amount. Being the stoic that I am, I cried on the drive home.
It seems (or so relationship and financial books would have us believe) that there are two types of people in the world: spenders and savers. I have a bit of trouble with this division because I like doing both. But I think a more accurate division would be the worriers and the “it’ll be ok”-ers.
In case you’re wondering, I’m solidly in the worriers’ camp. Not because I like it there. I’m just stuck. There have been periods of my life when I refused to open bills, check my credit card statement, or ask My Guy how our finances stood. If I don’t know, my head can rest comfortably in the sand.
Two weeks ago My Guy and I had the opportunity to get out of town overnight sans kids for the first time since the Little Butt’s arrival three-and-a-half years ago. That’s not by choice; the stars never aligned for us to juggle schedules, find babysitters, and have the money available all at the same time. Until this month.
It was just a quick overnight trip to Philadelphia, with the first day dedicated to us and the second spent at my company’s regional conference. After checking into our Airbnb apartment (which I totally recommend), we headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, supposedly to check out the Rocky statue.
“Do you want to go inside?” My Guy asked. He knows how much I love that specific museum.
“It’s $40,” I said. “That’s way too much.”
“It’s only money, honey. Let’s go.”
I really wanted to, so I put money out of my mind and we headed in. We spent three relaxing, kid-free and worry-free hours browsing the top floor.
It’s only money kept echoing through my head as we took a taxi back to our room, went out for a nice dinner, and polished off a bottle of wine. I was at peace and enjoying the gift of our weekend away.
The next afternoon at the end of my conference our emcee announced that it was time for the final drawing. She pulled ten crisp $100 bills from an envelope and requested that her friend draw and slowly read the winning jeweler number. As I remained standing while those around me were weeded out digit by digit, I thought, There are so many other women in this room who need that money than me. We’re fine. It can’t be me.
And then it was me.
I won one thousand dollars.
As we drove home that evening, I curled up in the passenger seat and mulled over God’s kindness and the purpose of money and how it really is always there when we need it and often when we don’t.
How I view money is somehow tied to how I view God and grace. Mentally I know there is always enough grace for me and that God provides for me and calls me to be generous. But often my actions paint a picture of scarcity, fear, and selfishness. I want to take care of myself first, whether with my time or my money.
I’m a lucky girl, in that the two most important men in my world are some of the most generous people I know. My dad will give past his ability in time and resources. My Guy is always looking for ways to help others out and surprises me with all sorts of gifts. Scarcity and selfishness don’t seem to have a place in their hearts. They paint a picture for me of who God is, in his overabundant generosity and heart of kindness.
Our resources are here to bless people. Self-care and kindness count. How will you bless someone today?