Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A harsh reality of life with chronic illness and pain is that it is expensive both in terms of what it costs medically (doc visits, medications, etc.) and productively (perhaps you cannot work as much anymore, or at all and your income has diminished considerably).  Especially at year’s end, expenses can add up sharply – and just at the time when gift-giving, charitable contributions, and other seasonal activities come up, too.

Even if you have a strict budget and have stuck to it 11 months out of the year, during the holiday season, it can be easy to give in to the “spirit of the moment.”  And yet, depleting precious resources now can mean having a rocky resource road ahead as 2013 moves into 2014.

How to balance a budget while partaking of at least some of the Season’s happy activities?

Once again, a strong spirit can be a powerful protecting force against much of the monetary pressures of the holidays, as can humility and creativity.

A strong spirit. God gives you all the resources you have in expectation that you will be responsible about stewardship, so making Him part of the decision process is both helpful and important .  Keeping close to God at this time, and going to Him in prayer before making significant purchases beyond your budget can help tremendously to make you see clearly and act practically and responsibly.  Also, you will be cultivating strength that doesn’t go out of style, and reliance on faith that stands up to any material pressure.

Humility.  Not having a lot of money does not make you less worthy of respect or validity. Spending money does not give someone intrinsically greater worth (although many forces in our world would lead us to think otherwise).  With this in mind, there is nothing wrong with saying, “No, I cannot afford it,”  and everything right with putting your financial situation in perspective with God’s priceless gift of life and individuality that is yours.

Creativity. Gifts need not cost money. Great gifts that come from the heart can take many different forms. Time, prayer, presence, re-gifting of something you have enjoyed, and many other things can have a tremendous impact on others and express our love as much, if not more, than things we buy or dollars we donate. God has give us lives – and creativity. Exploring possibilities for giving beyond buying opens up new and potentially life-changing avenues for us now and in the year ahead.

Blessings for the day!

Maureen

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