Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shopping From The Proverbs 31 Woman

"She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night."  Proverbs 31:18

 It's that time of year again, the time when everybody and their mother is out shopping for the upcoming gift-giving season.   This is the time of year that we always *think* about starting our Christmas shopping, and then one thing runs into another and we just don't get much of it done early.  Two weeks ago while I was picking up a few necessities, the store I was at had an oddly placed clearance rack on it.  Lo and behold, there were a few items on there my kids would love- one for each of them at a great price, so I picked them up and they've been in hiding ever since.  Andy mentioned to me that if I could manage to do that every week between then and Christmas, we'd be set, and wouldn't have to rush out for a harried shopping evening. 

I thought about that, I really did.  And I thought about how easy it would be to just go make a serious dent in our shopping- we have many nieces and nephews to shop for too.  I took some time last week to go pick up a few things I needed at a thrift store, stopped at an office supply store for some schooling necessities, but when I thought on stopping at a toy store or department store, I really, really felt an unease about going and doing just that.  This past Saturday when I went to do my weekly church cleaning, I had to stop and pick up something needed for church and thought I'd swing through the toy section.  Again, I felt unease about picking up even one- and there were several things with decent prices. Huh.

"She sees that her trading is profitable."

Isn't that what shopping is?  When we go shopping we are trading our money for their goods. When we hand over our hard-earned money, the items we trade for should be of a good value.  It should be profitable for us- it should be worth it to trade our money for those items.   You know how sometimes you buy something, and then a little later you regret it?  I know I've done that.  I've looked at an item and wondered why I spent that money on that thing.  It seems to me that if we trust in God and trust in the Holy Spirit to help us- even with a task like shopping for the best deals- He will help us every single time.  And I need to pay attention.  When that feeling of unease about an item creeps up on me, I NEED to listen, to pay attention and put it back, or just walk away.

So why the unease about buying a few simple toys?  I have no idea.  Because to be honest, I really don't like Christmas shopping close to Christmas.  The selection gets so picked over, and you're stuck with what you find.  But I do know that I need to be obedient.  It could be as simple as that, it could have simply been God testing me as to whether or not I'd be obedient and pay attention to what He was telling me.  When I think about it like that, I'm very glad that I listened, because I want to be the obedient daughter. 

And you know, many years ago I asked God to help me control my shopping and spending, and to open my eyes to see, and He certainly opened my eyes.  I learned to listen to the  Holy Spirit when He said to stay home, and that reliance has served me well.  From the outside, it may not look so desirable.  Having to turn down invitations for shopping and lunch dates isn't exactly fun, but it ends up worth it in the end.  God helped me control my spending- or in essence, my trading.  He's helped me to see that my trading is profitable- that I'm not just trading for the sake of trading.  To keep up with the neighbors or get the latest and greatest gizmo.  God wants to be a part of every single aspect of our lives, and that includes our shopping and spending habits.

Something to think about as we head full-on into the shopping season.  Trust in the Holy Spirit to guide those purchases.  Who knows?  Maybe those feelings of unease are because something really grand is going to present itself, and I need the funds to be able to follow through on that particular thing.   I won't try and solve the mysteries of God by coming up with dozens of earthly solutions.  Instead, I will trust that Father knows best, and when He says no, I will listen.

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