So 2 weeks ago our church started this year’s all church journey: Obsessed – Leave Your Mark. I LOVE it and disdain it all at the very same time. Why? Because like the journey(s) of the past it uncovers things within that need to change, or be eliminated in order to grow in relationship with Christ. And that, dear friends, can be uncomfortable to say the very least.
This past week the message dealt with the 3 C’s that the world uses to pull us from God:
- Comparison (the thief)
- Comfort (the illusion)
- Control (the liar)
In the Crossroads app we do work each week after hearing the weekend message and before meeting for our small groups. And this was no fun at all this week because I had to do an assessment and discovered that my big C of obsession was……Comfort. I was pretty certain it was going to be Control, which, by the way, feeds comparison and comfort. But no, mine is Comfort.
Now, we’ve been told since week one to pay attention to what we pay attention too in the search for our obsessions. And one way to do that was to look at where our money goes because money is connected to literally every aspect of your life. If you think not then rethink it because it is! You can take a walk for free, but you have to do that clothed in these parts so you have to purchase clothing, and probably good footwear is in order, or at least something on those feet and you quickly see where this is going. Everything is connected in some way to money. So, follow the money.
I did that after week one and was very upset to discover I have an obsession with the Yahtzee With Friends and Wheel Of Fortune game apps on my phone. To the tune of a few hundred dollars spent in $5 or $10 increments, each month, to purchase bonus dice and diamonds to advance faster in the games. Virtual crap that I spent real money to obtain that NO ONE cares one bit if I have it. No one. I had NO clue I was spending this much because I was dropping small amounts at a time…just over and over again. And for what exactly? To win designer dice that are simply pixels on a screen. UGH!
Comfort is my big C, so what the heck? Then it hit me, I used that as a form of insulation from the world around me. I can retreat to those games and ignore that my heart is hurting right now over my mom, or boredom that would be better spent in other pursuits, or to unwind from a difficult and draining shift at work, or avoid doing things I do not really care to do.
Comfort didn’t stop there. I noticed I spend money on things I do not need and only think that I want. Like my very cool coffee tumbler that I just had to have because darn it, it sparkles and is pink, and personalized…and keeps my coffee no warmer or colder than the $10 one with the $4 decal on it. This one was like $47 with shipping. And OH the yarn I purchase with the intent to make this or that, and have like 6 projects half done sitting in individual bags (bag lady – guilty!) in my closet because I get bored easily and don’t focus on finishing one thing at a time. Maybe because I’m seeking comfort or escape in things and not in Christ?
There is nothing at all wrong with buying myself something nice, but it has been a lot of somethings lately and it has to stop. I was an emotional, comfort eater until I started health coaching and when I started getting that under control, comfort took it’s form in things I buy. Cool pens and notebooks to journal, air plants that are lucky I haven’t killed them (yet, this is the second series of those and they are over due for water), candles, stickers for my planner no one sees but me, and I’ll just stop there. Small amounts here and there adding up to OMGOODNESS WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? My big C of obsession is comfort. And that insulation from the world is, as pastor Mingo said, an illusion. When I put the game down, the crochet hook away, the journal on the shelf, kill the air plant from neglect…my heart is still hurting and my world is still chaotic.
None of these enhances my walk of faith or brings me closer to Jesus. If anything it pulls me further away because my focus isn’t on Him at all, but rather on me. Pay attention to what you pay attention too.
One of the challenges from group was to look at what we have stock piled if we are a Comfort obsessing type and then give part of that away. At first I wasn’t even sure how that worked because I no longer have virtual diamonds and dice stock piled and then it hit me. Closet. Full. Of. Yarn. SIGH. So, I gave a bunch away and hopefully the son-in-law doesn’t mind that my baby girl shopped from my abundance and took it off my hands, saving her money. She too is a hooker with a shop selling items she crochets.
And for the time being I’m reading in Matthew 6, reminding myself of God’s promise to care for all of my needs and for me to be anxious for nothing. Just stopping the spending reduces my financial anxiety because I’m not spending money I really shouldn’t be and I can save it.
Right now, I am struggling to not spend money. I’m staying off Amazon and just paying bills and then using that stock pile to make something instead of going to buy even more yarn. When tempted I just pray and use the church app daily challenge devotion to work through things.