For almost a year now, I’ve been working at getting my finances in order and in control. I’ve been slowly and gradually paying off credit card debt. I’m realizing that I need to understand how I got myself in this mess. This has not been an easy process. I’m discovering that buying gifts for others that I cannot afford is a big part of my debt problem.
When friends and family say, “I’d like to have such and such,” it is stuck in my head. I listen to what they say and I observe their surroundings to get the special thing that is just right for them. This may sound good on the surface, but the problem is I care way too much about the receiver’s response to the gift. When I give people a gift and their reaction is very enthusiastic, I feel great! But when their reaction is less than expected, I feel rejected. A simple, “Thank you, that’s nice,” can leave me feeling empty and alone.
My Lord and my help
The Lord created all people, including those I give my gifts to and me (Hebrews 1:10). God is my provider. He is in control of my life. When I’m afraid of not having the acceptance I want from others, I realize that He provides for everything I need. He is my help. God promises he will never leave me and never forsake me. He is always there and always present (Hebrews 13:5).
Pleasing people or loving people?
I am realizing that I’m prone to look for acceptance from others through gift giving. Pleasing people by showering them with gifts that I cannot afford is not God’s way. In fact, it’s a sin that can enslave me (Galatians 1:10). I’m tempted to be a slave to my credit cards and others’ responses to my gifts. I want their acceptance and to look good in their eyes. I’m finding out that the gift giving can be more about what I can get rather than giving to others.
The greatest gift
The pain of not having what I want when I want can seem unbearable. It reminds me of the pain Jesus bore for me on the cross. He died for my sin of people pleasing so I could be forgiven. Even though all others may not accept me or the gifts I bring, I know that God accepts me because He died for me. He has given me the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Jesus is my Savior.
Christ in me
I still struggle with the temptation to want more than I need, but He has provided wisdom in His Word to guide and direct me. With his help, I can strive to not let my emotions control me in pleasing people. In faith, I can say “No.” I realize I don’t need to be so concerned about creating memories of me. I don’t have to make thousands of cookies, quilts, or photo albums, because Christ is in me! At the end of the day, instead of feeling good about me, I want others to see Christ. Today, I feel peace that I’ve not felt in a very long time; and it’s not because of what I’m doing, but what I’ve received from Him (Psalm 29:11).