Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Top 10 ways to stay grounded

...in a culture that is all about selfishness and greed.

1.  Eat only when you're hungry.
It dawned on me last week when I was fasting during lunch, how much I eat when I'm not even hungry.  I'm not naive, readers.  I know that food I don't eat doesn't go directly to starving children.  But we are looking at our grocery budget, and considering donating the money we save.  It's amazing to me that for around $40 per month, you can feed, educate and minister to a child in a 3rd world country through Compassion International.  

2.  Consider passing up the latest and greatest and settling for what you already have.
Do you really NEED the newest edition of everything?  Could you skip this year and wait until the next upgrade?  I am still rocking my iPhone 4S and although I am impatient with it at times, it works just fine and gives me more technology than I can handle, honestly.

3.  If you're a believer, recognize that your stuff isn't really yours.
I keep remembering a missionary we stayed with in Guatemala who kept reminding us while we invaded their home, that nothing we saw belonged to them.  Not only is this a great motto for hospitality, it puts things in eternal perspective.

4.  As much as I love house decorating, it's just eye candy, y'all.
I couldn't say it any better than this article, right here.

5.  Teach your children (and yourself) to wait.
We have been noticing a new quality developing in Henry...a little thing called impatience.  Now that he is able to communicate what he wants, he gets frustrated if he doesn't get it right. that. second.  It's easy to laugh at him and his feeble little infant mind, until you realize that we are programmed exactly the same way.

6.  Clean out your closet.
Needing something new to wear?  Clean something out of your closet first,  One thing in, one thing out.  Are you frustrated with a household appliance and really want an upgrade?  Donate your old one as you purchase a new one.  I know lots of refugee ladies that would love home furnishings or appliances.

7.  Get out of the country.  
Mission trip, vacation, it honestly doesn't matter.  You can't fully appreciate how much luxury we have in the US until you leave.

8.  Stay up to date on current issues.  
I am a fan of the international section in the NYT and follow CNN on my newsfeed.  While there is certainly some fluff to sort through, it might change your perspective on your current meltdown once you realize that there are real problems out there.  This ISIS crisis?  I can't handle it, y'all.  I have no words.  There is no better way to keep life in perspective than reading about children being decapitated.

9.  Understand your purchasing power.
Consider buying things that pay living wages and are purchased through fair trade.  You can find amazing jewelry that supports international artisans here and here.  I'm not much of a coffee or chocolate addict, but these are some of the most exploited goods in the world.  For more info, see http://fairtradeusa.org/.  

10.  Last, but not least, you aren't the answer for the all of the world's problems.
Seriously, don't get weighed down over this.  This is meant as encouragement only.  Jesus himself said we would always have the poor among us.  Recognize that you are only one person, and you can't do it all.  You can't care about every issue.  Denying yourself everything won't cure the world's problems.  

That's all I've got, folks.  I don't pretend to be an expert, and I am humbled by my own list, but our family is a work in progress.

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