money and shiny things

One of the most memorable lines in Finding Nemo is the innocuous “Look! Something shiny!” that Marlin (Nemo’s father) uses to distract Dory. Immediately distracted from her current train of thought, she is then led astray – all because of her preoccupation with shiny things.

Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, this year’s birthday has stretched out from Easter (where some friends gave me my first birthday present for this year), and will continue on until kel and I go to Melbourne next month – that’s an awesome length of time for it to be my birthday! As I continue to open the variety of different presents, I’m grateful, but also reminded of how shallow I am.

Am I just like Dory? Quite apart from presents, am I so distracted by material possessions, lifestyle “must-haves”, this desire to own things, that I’ve lost touch with what’s really important? Can I even let go of the things that I have now?

Right now, we’re looking at putting together a house deposit, so that if/when we have kids, they can run around in a house that we own, rather than in a unit that we’re renting. I’m also aiming to

  • have a one-income-family kind of situation as much as possible
  • to have a job that gives me enough time left over to be involved at church
  • to manage somehow to be at home, spending time with my family while not defaulting on the mortgage

How do we do that? By looking at what parts of our lifestyle we can get rid of. I’m surprised at how hard this is. There are so many (expensive) things that are part of my life now, and I can’t quite imagine doing without them, but it looks like I’m going to have to.

Has anyone else noticed that their lifestyle is getting out of control? Or that my lifestyle is out of control – I can take it… Should I just give up on the idea of owning a house? Of owning a house in Sydney?

3 thoughts on “money and shiny things”

  1. One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt in the past few months is exactly on this point. If God wants you to live (and own) in Sydney, then you will. As you know there is NO way I would have chosen to live in Gloucester (because it’s small and not coastal), but we’re here because (in a nut-shell) God sent us. Funnily enough too, since basically halving our income we actually now tithe (give 10% of our money to ministry etc). Go figure…

  2. this is one of the reasons that im glad that im 29 and have a 6yo and a 4yo
    im sure that i would have found the culture shock of having kids much later too confronting.

    but the questions are still on my lips, buying, renting, deciding, working, procrastinating, panicking, just i have 2 girls to distract me from making decisions on the future at any one point

    mat.t

  3. anyone who knows me will attest to my increasing dissatisfaction with the pursuit of property in modern society, so i’ll be brief.

    security and family do not consist in the abundance of possessions or the comfort of “security” of career or bricks and mortar… God was faithful both to Abram and Ruth, to Job and to Lazarus. the more i see the world around me, the more utterly convinced i am that in a family of love and the pursuit of godliness, the comforts of modern life become increasingly unnecessary.

    yes, we need to be good stewards of the blessing God has granted us. but God’s blessings do not amount merely to our career opportunities and bank balances.

    my father became a Christian six months before he died, and i feel i am a perennial disappointment to my mother and my sister, despite their (unquestioned) love for me and mine for them. that being said, i think of my friends and the people with whom God has surrounded me throughout my Christian life as my true family. a list far too long to put here is filled with brothers and sisters of mine that i love with all my heart. in those few moments that i am still in the presence of God, understanding (all too briefly) my place in his universe, i know that the things of this world will pass away, my job, my terry pratchett/ matthew reilly collection, my poetry, my videos, my bed, my chocolate… all these will pass… but the people i know, who will be in heaven with me around the throne of God, they will never pass away because we are all in the palm of God’s hand, saved by Christ’s blood, covered by the love of God.

    there’s a lot of nice stuff in the world, but most of it’s not really that important. the people you spend time with – friends or family, or strangers you’re sharing the gospel with – they are the things that are important. God didn’t create us to own things, but to be in relationships – with him and with one another.

    … my $0.02

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