Thursday, December 14, 2006

When is frugality merely fear?

My writing is unreadable and my brain unstoppable: a laptop would be helpful most days, most times. Having borrowed my lovely husband's laptop on my trip to hear Brian McLaren, and having envied pastorfriend Heather's little MacBook over Thanksgiving, I've finally decided to buy a laptop. Sort of.

I've researched and price-compared and read reviews. I've done and redone our budget and reallocated our savings. I've looked at my set-aside personal money and allocated it differently. We have enough money for me to do this.

But we need new flooring and landscaping. There may be a child someday and we'll need to pay match fees. My shoes need heeling and polishing, and the car has 163k miles on it. I might want a cup of coffee while I'm out someday. So what am I doing thinking of buying a laptop?

Can you see the hideous spiral?

My brain knows very well that I live in extraordinary abundance: we have steady incomes which surpass our actual needs; I love my work; we are healthy. But something inside me is afraid, and the fear can be paralyzing.

Here's the thing about trusting God, which I really do: I feel (not think) God expects me to make reasonably good decisions, and is not about to bail me out if I buy a laptop but actually should save for flooring, or for the medical help we don't need yet but might in 30 years. Which in my little lizard brain becomes "God will only take care of your real needs if you don't do anything stupid." Which is pretty stupid itself.

So I'm working on trusting God to take care of my real needs even if I buy a laptop. Because I've decided to do that. Sort of.

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