That's the nice way to say it.
But I've also been called stingy, a cheapsake, a scrooge.
I may have avoided buying groceries before winter break in college and spent two days eating brownie mix and milk.
I just might mend my husband's shorts over and over until I'm putting patches on top of patches.
I know how to stretch a penny, how to feed a bunch of people with one box of Hamburger Helper, how to comb through thrift store racks for specific items.
I'm kind of proud of it, actually.
And I don't think that there's anything inherently wrong about being cautious with our family's budget. Being intentional about how we spend our money has allowed us to go on vacations and make some pretty awesome memories.
But it can definitely go too far.
When I was in college, I was so uptight about money that if my checking account went below $100.00, I had anxiety and couldn't buy food. Having money available made me feel secure, and I depended on that. Strongly. Even more than I depended on Ramen Noodles.
Years later, I applied for jobs frantically, searching for something, anything. Despite the fact that my husband was making enough to keep us afloat, I felt that to be valuable I had to be earning something.
My stubborn independence, coupled with my tight-fisted attitude toward money, meant that we lived in temporary housing for six weeks instead of taking time off work (or <gasp> paying someone) to make our house livable.
It's easy to slip from responsible stewardship of money into white-knuckled hoarding. The sense of security that money brings me, needing to contribute to the account- it's all because of a truth I'm reluctant to admit.
I love money.
I don't seem like the type, right? I don't drive a sports car or have a room filled with dollar bills that I roll around in on Thursdays. I don't eat out at fancy restaurants. All of those stereotypical "money lover" traits and behaviors don't apply to me at all.
Except for one.
I think that money can make me happy.
I think that having a certain balance in the bank will make me secure. That a full wallet brings safety.
And it affects the way I spend, the way I give, the way I live my life on this earth.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. - Matthew 6:19-24
I cannot serve both God and money.
Where my treasure is, my heart will be also.
I don't want my heart to be found in my banking account. I don't want to serve money and despise God. I want to use my resources for His glory.
So when I struggle with this stingy nature, this attitude of withholding my resources, with feeling like money brings security, I ask the questions.
Who am I?
Where do I live?
I am one in whom Christ dwells- He loves me enough to die for me. I have the Light of the World within me, and my heart is first and foremost His.
I live in the the unshakable Kingdom of God. He's in control of my finances, of where my next meal will come from, of the economy... and His purposes for me are bigger.
He is the only place I can be truly secure.
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