Hi friends! I know that it has been a.w.h.i.l.e. since I’ve been here. We got to take a wonderful vacation, then we spent a week “getting back in the swing of things.” So I haven’t been here in a bit. This week I am going to attempt to catch up to Rachel in my review of Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. I have been convicted and challenge and very introspective while reading this book. I am still processing what the principles in this book mean in my life, so please bear with me as I process out loud here. Here goes!
Saving more and spending less bring financial peace.
Finances! Oi to the Vey! The area of finances is a place that I find myself checking my heart A LOT. As with many of us I think, finances are a close second in our hearts for the place of God. It is something that we think that we can control. It is something that we trust to bring us happiness, joy, confidence, popularity, love, security, the list goes on and on. But the saying is not true, whoever dies with the most toys does NOT win. My mom always says “just look at where you spend your money and your time and you will find what is most important to you.” My mom is right, I know that when we are standing in front of God on judgment day, He will look at our bank statements. And I want mine to show that His glory was most important to us always.
But with all of that being said, money is a doosey. Everything costs money and our culture does such a good job convincing us that if we just buy X, Y, and Z, we will have it ALL. In the chapter on finances, Sleeth says this of the Amish, “They do not buy things to impress or to draw attention to themselves or to win love. They understand that every single thing on earth is a gift from God, meant to be shared with others. And they act from the certainty that the most important things in life cannot be found at ‘the mall that has it all.'” I am so convicted by that statement, “they act from the certainty…” if I learn anything from this chapter I want it to be this, that I act from the certainty, that money can’t buy happiness, that everything is a gift from God and that nothing of eternal value can be bought at the mall. I am in a major purging mode. Nothing in my house is safe. My husband keeps asking where certain articles of clothing have gone. It is still a continuation of chapter 1, making my house beautiful, welcoming and clutter free. But most importantly in all of my purging I want to learn that this stuff is just stuff, it doesn’t make me skinner, more popular, my house cooler, etc. And I do not want to replace everything I am getting rid of with other stuff.
Another characteristic of the Amish Sleeth discusses is the attitude of giving. She says, “The Amish understand this attitude of giving out of gratitude. In times of scarcity or misfortune, everyone pitches in. Those with more take care of those with less. The community becomes the face of God’s grace.” Seriously people, why would pass up any opportunity to become the face of God’s grace to our community? If my attitude with my finances can show grace to my community and can declare that my trust is in Jesus is all that matters in the end, then I think that my attitude in finances should be covered in lots of prayer.
One of my rules regarding finances is if I notice a hesitation to give in my heart when someone asks for something or I notice someone needs something, I sure as heck better give, because at that point I am putting my thing as more important than that person. And I am sure that ANY of God’s people is more important than ANY of my stuff.
Time spent in God’s creation reveals the face of God.
Amen! Right? I have seen this so true in my life. We have had the awesome opportunity this summer to spend time in some amazingly beautiful places. We have been to Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons, to name a few. In these places I absolutely see the face of God. The face of Half Dome, the shear cliff of El Capitan, the jagged points of the Tetons, the colors of Yellowstone Canyon. Beauty. In Romans 1:20, Paul declares that God has given us all the proof we ever need that He exists in creation. That simply by looking at the created Earth, we have evidence that the creator exists. Amazing.
I have been more in awe of our Creator as I have gardened this summer. It is amazing that God has given us, out of the land everything that we need to live. And incredibly humbling that it is entirely up to Him whether a seed germinates, whether fruit ripens, if the weather is exactly right to keep a plant alive and a fruit from molding, how much a plant fruits. You get the picture, the really isn’t much that we can do if God isn’t in control. The Amish feel that living off the land cultivates an attitude of gratitude. “It serves as a daily reminder that everything we have depends on God.” As Sleeth says, “A garden cultivates gratitude, reminding us that every ounce of food that passes our lips ultimately comes from God. And as any experienced gardener will attest, a garden keeps us humble – constantly aware that the enemy, entropy is very much alive.” I love this, not only does living off the land cultivate a simpler way of life, but it constantly cultivates gratitude. I am committed to anything that cultivates gratitude in my life.
If you aren’t already, I would highly suggest reading along. I have been constantly challenged and encouraged in my pursuit of a simpler life.