Shopping therapy

I love to shop. For sure, I can shop ’til I drop. That’s about three to four hours, but I do it with complete abandon, a smile on my face, and my eyes darting back and forth to discover anything new and interesting. Shopping is therapy for me.

I confess I rarely buy anything. I window-shop—but more than that, I actually window-shop inside stores, as well. Is that called aisle-shopping? I don’t know.

My favorite stores are home furnishings, but I love a good variety store, antique shop, art gallery, or department store. I like quirky things. I especially love it when little “rooms” are decorated, so you can actually see the possibilities. My imagination goes wild! Inspiration overload.

I enjoy clothing stores less—because I rarely find anything I like in my size that looks good on me with a price I’m willing to pay. Clothes shopping does nothing for my good humor. Shoe shopping is even worse—but I’ll spare you.

I rarely get to do my shopping-’til-dropping escapades, and perhaps that’s a good thing. The malls where we live in Spain only have one home decoration store—nice but pricey. I still might find myself spending a short afternoon at a mall, just for fun—about once every two years. But, in the United States…. The possibilities are endless.

Michelangelo once proclaimed, “Gazing at beautiful things acts on my soul.” I totally agree with him.

I love to shop with my sister, who should start her own business of where to find what and how to outfit a person in one afternoon. I also enjoy shopping with our daughter, who tells me honestly what she thinks and keeps me from being “too old lady.”

Is shopping your therapy?

Which do you prefer: window-shopping or actually buying things?

Do you get a kick out of using your credit card ’til it smokes and buying a whole new wardrobe, pricey make-up, doing your hair and nails at the salon, and changing the living room furniture …

finding yourself overspending?

Dave Ramsey once said, “We often overspend because we are trying to fill an emotional gap in our lives. No object will ever satisfy your soul.”

It is one of the reasons we spend money—that emotional gap. We collect things because they make us feel somehow comfortable. Spending on ourselves makes us feel momentarily happy. After all, we deserve that treat. (Not so.)

Soon, we’re right back at the same low emotional place, and we’re tempted to spend even more money in order to feel good again.

We realize things don’t do it.

We’re not alone. Many post milennials are going minimalist because they’ve learned that living in a junked-up house is tiring. Too much stuff means too much to clean, put away, and it produces mental clutter and oppression. The decorating pendulum has swung the other way. Now, we enjoy clean surfaces, less is more, and invite Marie Kondo into our closet so we can learn to fold and roll.

Back in the 1800s, Henry David Thoreau decided to camp out at Walden Pond and enjoy a simple life (where he only stayed two years, by the way). He said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

“He who buys what he does not need steals from himself.” (Swedish proverb)

I think that’s true.

Is it sinful to go shopping? Of course not.

Is it wrong to overspend? Yes, we’re responsible to God to manage what He has given us. Jesus tells his disciples a parable about an unjust steward. It’s talking about money (here called mammon), and the parable concludes: He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Luke 16:10-11, 13).

God says you either serve Him or money, not both. When we overspend, we haven’t been faithful with the money God has entrusted to us. We become slaves to money—since we owe it.

The remedy for overspending, of course, is contentment. Are we content with what we have right now? Can we be okay not spending crazily?

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content (1 Timothy 6:8). Do we have something to eat and wear? Yep.

Let your conversation (lifestyle) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).

Our relationship with God is sufficient for our contentment. His presence alone should bring us joy.

I’ll close with an unattributed quote I found on Pinterest: “It costs $0.00 to be grateful for what you already have.”

Role models

We often hear news interviews where people reference their heroes (sports, arts, actors, rescuers, etc.) as role models. Some of their role models have reached iconic status and are even referred to as idols.

Who’s your role model?

Why?

What does this person’s example teach you?

I’m not sure I ever had one role model, though I have a whole list of heroes and people I look up to. Some have impressed me with their kindness, graciousness, generosity, and understanding. I have a few women friends who are examples to me in the way they act. The people I respect are faithful workers in their churches. Many of my personal heroes lived in days gone by, and most are missionaries—pioneers who never gave up. David Livingstone, George Müller, Mary Slessor, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, William Carey, and Adiniram Judson are role models for anyone. Of course, there are many more.

Closer to our time are people like Darlene Deibler Rose, Elisabeth Elliot, Cori Ten Boom, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss, who’ve inspired us with their testimonies, speaking, and writings.

If you were to choose an ideal woman for a role model, what would she be like?

Proverbs 31 is a good place to start, with the Virtuous Woman. She’s a wife, mother, provider, industrious, thoughtful, and she dresses with grace and beauty. She also cares for the poor, looks after her household, and makes sure her husband and children have what they need. She’s strong, yet her speech is with wisdom and kindness. This lady commands respect.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 say we should dress like and have the same attitude as godly women who fear the Lord. Godly women should be both our role models and clothing models. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

A similar passage is: Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands (1 Peter 3:3-5).

How should mature Christian women act? They will be good examples and teachers. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:3-5).

Role models in the world tend to be in favor of just about everything that flies in the face of biblical standards.

We have a choice: embrace the models God has given us, or reject them and follow the women the world sets up as examples.

Let’s choose the best role models: women who love the Lord.

Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:11b-12a).

How to be wise–and a few applications

Everyone old enough to read should study the biblical book of Proverbs. This is the second installment in our series. (You can read the first one, here.) As you know, the book of Proverbs is mostly written as if Wisdom is a person. She talks to Solomon and tells him how to be wise. This book of the Bible is just as valid today as it was in Solomon’s times.

Let’s open Chapter 2 and see what kind of advice we find.

I love the first part. It says that in order to have wisdom the son needs to listen, incline his ear, apply his heart, and even cry after wisdom, knowledge and understanding (verses 1-3).

It goes further. The son is to search for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding as if it were silver (money) or hidden treasure (verse 4).

The benefits of looking for wisdom: understanding and respecting the Lord, finding the knowledge of God (knowing Him), and wisdom (verse 5).

The source of wisdom is the Lord and His Word. Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding (6).

Again, we see the benefits of wisdom:

  • God is a shield (Protector).
  • He preserves our way.
  • When you have wisdom and knowledge in your heart, you’ll have discretion, understanding, and be delivered from evil (7-11).

There are two parentheses in Proverbs 2. One describes an evil man. Wisdom will deliver us from this kind of a person. The evil man speaks perverse things, leaves the good path and walks in the ways of darkness (13). He rejoices in evil and enjoys the perversity of wicked people. His ways are crooked and perverse. It’s not a pretty picture.

The next parenthesis is a portrait of an evil woman, obviously immoral and possibly a harlot. She flatters. She has forsaken her parents’ guidelines and forgotten the covenant of her God (17). Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life (18-19). This speaks of the moral consequences that await someone who has a relationship with a prostitute or adulteress.

Proverbs 6 describes the same scenario this way: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent (6:24-29).

Proverbs 2 now admonishes the son to walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous (20). There’s a reward for good men.

The end of this chapter is a warning. The wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it (22).

How practical! We’ve learned the difference between evil men and women and the righteous. We’ve found out where to find wisdom—in the Bible—and its value and benefits.

May the Lord bless you, today!

Fiction review: Kill Order

I recently featured an interview with Author Adam Blumer, which you can access here. Today, I give you my review of his suspense novel, Kill Order.

The diagnosis is brain cancer, a tumor, operable but not curable. Landon Turner is a concert pianist. He’s already lost peripheral vision, and it appears he might lose his life. The only hope is in a “miracle worker surgeon,” one who claims to have healed others.

Can things get worse? As in most thrillers, they do. Instead of healing medicine, the surgeon implanted Landon’s brain with some kind of chip that enabled the bad guys to tell Landon what to do—even when he should be sleeping.

He wakes up with blood all over his clothes and turns himself in to the police. The officer takes him away, and soon, Landon realizes that this policeman is on the wrong side. He’s in league with the enemy—whoever that is.

Landon knows he must flee. He’s not sure how to escape, but he knows he will be killed—and maybe even kill others—if he doesn’t.

I’ll let you read the rest. I could hardly put this down. Kill Order is scary, exciting, full of action, and has heart. There’s everything: romance, spiritual growth, concerned parents, memory repression and recovery, and of course, the kill order.

I loved it, loved it, loved it.

Adam Blumer’s writing is excellent, and this plot will keep you turning pages until the very end—which is satisfying and leaves you thinking.

Rest Day Survey Results

Not long ago, I asked my friends to complete a totally anonymous survey about taking a rest day each week. First of all, thank you to the 58 friends who filled out my survey. I value your input.

Here are the results:

Do you take one day off each week?

  • Yes. 52%
  • No. 16%
  • Sometimes. 33%

If you do NOT take a day off, why not? (37 answered this question.)

  • No time. I work full-time and work at home when not working outside the home. 14%
  • I work seven days a week. 5%
  • I never really thought about taking a day off. 8%
  • Other. 73%
  • Comments:
  1. I am a housewife. How do you take a day off? We go out to eat on Sundays but Sunday is the biggest day as far as other activities.
  2. Needs often come up to change my schedule.
  3. I haven’t figured out how to take a day off from household duties. Hubby doesn’t take a day off.
  4. We try to take a day off … but one phone call can change that—and usually does.
  5. We don’t have a set day off, but we try to have some down time one or two afternoons a week.
  6. We do what we can’t on Saturday, if it needs to be done immediately.
  7. Sometimes something comes up in the ministry that does not allow me to take a day off.
  8. We usually work/do ministry at least a part of every day. We take time away for doctor appointments or to have meals with friends periodically.
  9. Too busy with homeschooling and ministry.
  10. Minstry schedule does not usually allow for a full day off. I try for a half day once a week, and the occasional full day when I can.
  11. We have not been intentional about it or sticking with it.
  12. It depends on what needs to be done.
  13. This rarely happens, but some weeks get so demanding with what others need that I can’t find one. I do sometimes try to keep half a day restful if this is the case.
  14. We try to take days off but there is always something that interrupts
  15. Mostly I do, but there are occasions that my job does not allow me a day off.

If you DO take a day off, which day is it?

  • Monday 40%
  • Tuesday 10%
  • Wednesday no one
  • Thursday 2%
  • Friday 10%
  • Saturday 14%
  • Sunday 25%

Do you believe that the Sabbath Day command in the Ten Commandments is for today?

  • Yes. 57%
  • No. 32%
  • I hadn’t thought about it. 11%

Answer only if you are in a ministry family: do you take a different day off, since Sundays are very busy for you? (46 answered this question.)

  • Yes. 74%
  • No. 7%
  • Sometimes. 20%

If you do NOT regularly take a day off, how do you rest? (36 answered this question.)

  • We take short holidays. 28%
  • We enjoy our vacation once or twice a year. 17%
  • Other. 56%
  • Comments:
  1. I do not feel like I am overworked. Our ministry is quite small. I feel like this survey is better given to the husband than the wife. The problem, of course, is that, “What is work?” Is doing laundry work? Is answering a personal message work? Is asking someone on social media how their dog is doing work?
  2. Daily rest periods and Sunday afternoon naps.
  3. Try to take one day off but if the day has to be changed I can’t go too long without some alone time.
  4. I take rests on days I feel overwhelmed. Take a nap read a book watch a movie.
  5. Rest at home.
  6. (A foreign missionary) We don’t rest enough and came back to the States this furlough completely exhausted.
  7. I try to take a couple of hours here and there. Sometimes I sleep in so I can get caught up.
  8. We take half day breaks as necessary to do errands or appointments. We also have a coffee out at least once a week.
  9. By staying at home.
  10. We take a half-day on Monday and half-day on Friday, which allows my husband to answer necessary correspondence or “clean up” issues from Sunday on Monday morning, and then we do something as a family. We mostly have a four-day homeschool week but we do math and English on Monday morning while Daddy is “working.” We do usually sleep in, have brunch and dinner only, and take a relaxed approach to the day. Also regarding the sabbath question we observe it as a command to rest and cease from our everyday labors, but it’s not always the same day or a 24-hour period. It does include fixing meals and such, but I try to avoid other housework like laundry and bills and shopping.
  11. I do take short vacations. And Saturday evening through Sunday evening, I try to have the Internet off and not be doing prep work for ministry. I might be teaching Sunday School on Sunday morning or doing something with ladies Bible Study on Saturday, but all my studying and printing etc. will be done ahead to not be last-minute frenetic, to set my heart ready for church. I (usually) do not go on social media during that time. If I were elsewhere, it would be more feasible to have a full Internet fast, but needing the Internet for communications, and with different time zones, I don’t adhere to that. But I do not actively seek out online recreation/time.
  12. Although I do take a day off from ministry related work, my day “off” is spent doing laundry, housework, and grocery shopping. What is rest?
  13. Some weeks it’s Monday some weeks it’s Thursday. We try to have some down time each week.
  14. Sad to say, we don’t do much.
  15. We try to find days or moments here and there to rest, but dedicating an entire 24-hour period is very difficult in our cross-cultural ministry. We try to set reasonable boundaries, but when someone calls or texts or stops by and needs something, we don’t tell them that we can’t because it’s our day off. We honor Sundays as special days for service and worship, but Sundays are very busy and tiring for us most of the time. I don’t believe the actual laws for honoring the Sabbath are for today, but the principle of setting aside a day for worship and reflection/rest in the Lord still stands.
  16. Sit at home in quiet and read, take a book on a hike to get away, enjoy time with friends. (I’m single, so sometimes being around people is restful and calming for me.)
  17. We take a day off each week and a bit longer breaks a few times throughout the year.

As you can tell, my friends are all over the place on this question. Some take time off regularly, and some don’t. Many ministry friends are willing to change their schedule and go help people at the drop of a hat. Two asked the valid question, “What is rest?”

Well, what is rest?

The dictionary definition is: “cause (someone or something) to stop doing a particular activity or stop being active for a period of time in order to relax and get back your strength.” Cambridge Dictionary.

To me, the next important question is about the Sabbath rest. Is this a principle for today—or not?

I was brought up in a family that always attended church on Sundays. We also had several rules for that day. One was that it was usually spent at home and with some kind of rest. It might mean playing games with our grandparents, taking naps, or reading a book, but there was no raucous behavior permitted. From my junior high years on, we attended evening services at church, and that cut our afternoon time to a minimum, especially since we sang in the choir and had a practice before the service.

When I was in college, because of the demands of studies—many quizzes on Mondays—I found it hard to rest at all on Sundays.

As a newly married couple, my husband and I had to figure out our own preferences for Sunday. I remember being in a pastor’s home on a Sunday afternoon, and he turned on the TV to watch a football game. Neither my husband nor I had “indulged” in watching sports on Sundays before. My husband and I had a conversation about this afterwards.

Is it okay to do things on Sundays—or not?

Let’s look into the principle of the Sabbath rest in the Bible and see if we can come to some kind of a conclusion. Are you ready?

The Fourth Commandment says, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it (Exodus 20:8-11).

This is the Old Testament Law, and it explains exactly what was expected: people and even load-bearing beasts were expected not to work on the Sabbath Day—which was Saturday. It was a holy day, meant for worship.

Further, Exodus 31:15b says, whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Let’s go to the New Testament now.

Matthew 12:1- tells the story of Jesus’ disciples plucking grain and eating it on the Sabbath. The Pharisees saw this and criticized them to Jesus for breaking the Jewish law and “working” on the Sabbath. Jesus answered them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day (verses 3-8). So, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and even in the Old Testament, there were times when people broke these laws but were blameless.

Matthew 12 continues to address this subject: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him (Jesus), saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days (verses 10-12). Here, we see that Jesus says it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

There was a blind man, and Jesus made clay and healed him on the Sabbath. Again, the Pharisees were critical. They said, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them (John 9:16; Complete story in verses 6-16).

After the resurrection of Jesus, believers began to gather for worship on the first day of the week, Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

The Apostle Paul addresses convictions about eating meat offered to idols and the Sabbath in Romans 14. I believe it’s important for us to know what the Bible says. (I’ll skip the part about food.) One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it…. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:5-12).

What a concept! If you make Sunday a special rest day or if you don’t, you are responsible to God alone for your actions. No one should judge you whether you do or don’t. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

We find this same teaching in another passage: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (Colossians 2:16).

The truth is, everyone needs to rest, or they will burn out physically. It’s also true that the New Testament leaves it up to you how you observe Sundays and when you relax.

Thoughts?  Please feel free to comment.