That Darn Camel: No More Living Life “Just in Case”

by Connie Jakab

This is the second of a series of five posts exploring money and faith. The series title comes from this scripture verse: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23 – 25)

Yesterday I took a humbling trip through my clothes closet. I found many items I had hoarded just waiting for the day they would possibly be used “just in case.”

I’m a hip hop instructor so it’s only safe to have seven Adidas jackets “just in case” while teaching, in case someone sees me wear the same one twice, right? (Insert scary music here.)

Or it’s only reasonable to have twenty workout tops (11 of them more than $50 a piece) “just in case” I might sweat in them. It’s a new method to replace the washing machine. Just sweat and replace!

And when you’re a stay at home mom like myself, it’s only practical to have five little black dresses for all the parties we go to… Or maybe I was just holding onto the idea of “just in case” I end up in an upswing social circle that allows me to go out five nights a week?

Why do I buy into “just in case”? Because I’m scared of not having enough. I’m scared if I throw that item in the donation bin I’ll be kicking myself the next day because I “needed” it. I don’t want to miss out on the fashion train. What if my little item is the treasure you could compliment me on? What if those pants make a fashion comeback? I wouldn’t want to miss out! What if I buy that cute shirt and find out it goes perfectly with the skirt I’ve never worn sitting in my closet for the last five years? You never know, right?

You could say this is a mindset of scarcity. Scarcity is so afraid of not having. This mindset brings with it a poverty of the soul. This poverty defines you by what you have… and what you don’t have.

If you and I define ourselves by what we don’t have then we are the perfect candidates for consumer-mania marketing! Because they know they can trick me into thinking that they have the answer! THEY have what I don’t have! They said I need it so I must! Thank God for that store! They saved my life!

All I need to do is work harder, longer hours. Or get a better paying job! Or, I could just use credit and have it all NOW! I may wreck my marriage from the wars created over the Visa bill, take money that could be used to… I don’t know… EAT, stealing money from our savings to cover all my “needs,” but man I’ll look good!

I’m done with this scarcity, “just in case” mindset that makes my life about what I have, not about what I give.

At the end of the day, what I want my life to be about and what it’s really been about are not the same. If I’m honest with myself, here’s what I’d love to do with my money:

  • give generously to people making a difference in poverty
  • take my family to remote places on the earth to help those living in poverty
  • adopt

The hard truth is, these goals will stay out of reach every time I pull my Visa out to pay for something I can’t afford. Debt will forever swim me away from the very things I desire to do that will actually GIVE life.

I’m getting radical about changing my mindset so I can see these things become a reality. “Just in case” is a myth. The mindset of “enough” and “contentment” will set me on course.

It’s time.

Connie Jakab writes at her Culture Rebel blog, which is also the title of her first book, to be released in 2012.  Connie is passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out.  The founder of WILD (women impacting lives daily) as well as Mpact (www.mpactdance.com), a dance company that produces shows based on social justice issues, Connie drives her passion outward into the arms of those wanting something more radical and meaningful in life. Connie is an active speaker and lives with her husband and two boys in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  She can be found at www.facebook.com/conniesmithjakab and on twitter @ConnieJakab

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • http://keriwyattkent.com/soul/?p=1161 Tim

    The hard truth is, these goals will stay out of reach every time I pull my Visa out to pay for something I can’t afford.

    So true, Connie. For me, it’s not so much about incurring more debt as just making wise choices in spending and giving. Every time I say yes to putting my money in one place I am saying no to something else. Sometimes I make the right choioce, but sometimes I don’t. I figure that if I’m saying no to something I sure better have a good idea why I’m doing so!

    Tim


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