Back a few posts I talked about how my car was making me more spiritual. Well, I know you’ve been dying to know how things progressed. 🙂
Months ago we listed the Subaru for sale and had a family who really wanted it. Unfortunately, the bank wouldn’t finance them for quite as much as we had expected to get. Believing I could get more, we passed on their offer. We then took the listing off because of a road trip, then life, and distractions… So when we posted it again and I was being hassled by scammers and low-ball offers, I kept having this nagging feeling that I should contact that family and, if they were still interested, accept their previous offer. After pushing it off for a while, I finally contacted them. YES! They still wanted it! But then the bank lowered what they’d finance AGAIN.
Since the original offer, I often regretted not selling it to them. I felt greedy and unsettled about the whole thing. And I knew I was losing money by the day, sitting on the car. So this time, I accepted the lower offer… several thousand less than we had originally agreed to. And I felt relief. I loved selling to this family. They were kind, enthusiastic, wonderful people who were thrilled to get the car and even apologetic about how things went with the bank. And for their sake I was happy they got such a good deal.
As I sat at the bank signing papers with them, I thought about “magic” (grace). I had been praying so hard for it, and the answer I’d received was “Look for ways to help others”. It was a gratifying experience to feel like the sale of the car was blessing both families, (even though our financial loss made me cringe).
But of course, the Lord was enjoying this automobile related spirituality and had more lessons in store for me.
RJ and I had set our sights high on a luxurious minivan. With much less cash in hand than expected, we were in a quandary. Do we take out a loan to get all that we wanted? I mean, we were accustomed to 4-wheel drive, programmable, heated leather seats and all of the techy wonders of our last car… why would we go down in safety and comfort? Or do we “live within our means” and settle on a more economical van?
Everything we *needed* was within our budget. Everything we *wanted* required a loan. It came to mind that just a few short years ago, my wants were far, far, far less extravagant than they are now. Less than 5 years ago I happily lived in an old run-down house that is literally 1/4th the size of my current house and had no AC, no dishwasher, no garage, even no internet/cable. (But it did have a condemned meth lab next door. So there was that little perk.) Yet back then, I felt like I was living high on the hog because my mission and travels were in places without clean running water (and therefore questionable sanitation situations), intermittent electricity, and other “basic necessities”. It irked me that I was irked about the darn seats in a reliable car. I kept thinking about the old saying “There, there, little luxury, don’t you cry. You’ll be a necessity by and by.”
We determined that the joy of living within our means is far more satisfying than luxuries at the cost of debt. And although we dug deeper into savings than I like, we found a van we are delighted with.
It scares me how quickly I become accustomed to “things” and how the things I want can blind me to the blessings I currently have. I have sufficient for my needs. And in the wise words of Henry David Thoreau, “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”
The less I want, the more easy I am to satisfy.
The less I want, the more grateful I am about what I have.
The less I want, the more generous I feel towards others.
The less I want, the less I have to maintain.
The less I want, the more attention I have for things other than “things”.
Ultimately, the less I want the more I see God’s hand in my life.
Perhaps with a little stripping of materialism, I can become more like my children who delight in the simplest of pleasures – a windy day, chocolate milk, a soft blanket, a good book. Once again, bless those wiggly little rascals for showing me the way.