First time reading this blog-series? You can with advantage read the introduction here and the breaking with greed #1: January, here.
25th of January, 2017: This morning, February’s “salary” ticked in. I stuck to my budget. Moved it around according to where I needed them to be. I felt relieved. Life in february does not have to be difficult, just because 10 % of the money is being given away. But, I will have to be careful not to go back to my old habits of thinking with my stomach when it comes to grocery shopping. Because, I mean. I loooove Peanutbutter-chocolate-soya-icecream. I really do.
This morning, I read something interesting though. It was basically about trusting God. The chapter of the book I was reading asked me what was the main thing that kept me from trusting God completely. At first I thought it was about the future. Trusting him to know what I need and provide me with the opportunities in the right time. I guess mainly I was, and sometimes still am, a bit disappointed that all my friends seems to get to experience love and I don’t. But as I thought more and more about it, I realised that, that was not my main concern. My main concern was whether to give money away. I mean, some months the next year is going to be difficult, even if I do not pay tithe. I was having a problem seeing what giving away some of my money to my church was going to help me dealing with that for. And that was when I realised something. The fact that I want to spend this year giving money to my church, and in order to being able to live responsibly in my everyday life – I suddenly have to think about how I spend money given to me. I cannot just spend and think about how to patch things up afterwards. Which is basically what I did, when tithing was not a part of my life as it is going to be this year. Furthermore, I do not have some kind of agreed overdraft in the bank anymore. Because, I thought that with tithing, this was the year I was going to learn how to make by with what I have and not spend beyond what I can. So there is no “safety-net” – the only safety I have, is the safety God is going to provide me. So, imagine my relief, surprise, and pride, as I realised that January was actually the first month in a very long time I did not use my agreed overdraft and patched things up with next months surplus. I made it through January, and I do not regret not to have bought those clothes that is in my shopping basket at Zalando.com. Not disappointed at all.
27th January 2017: Another thing I think I need to admit to you and myself, is that after the failure of January and the fact that I was reminded of the promise I gave about my 2017 constantly throughout January. I literally sat down and made another budget. This time, I wanted to be sure that I was able to keep my promise and afford living. I honestly see this as a wise way of making oneself aware of what is possible and make room to those things that I want to and give tithe. Because of the fact that money is tight, I actually have to stick to it. Not that I didn’t have to before. I was more spend first, ask questions later. Now, I really need to turn it around. Thus, the budget. And thus, actually sticking to it. We’ll have to see how this goes.
7th February 2017: My previous enthusiasm about budgeting have sort of already cleared out. It is still true, but my old self took over for a while and ran the card through the money-machine with my eyes closed shut. I am on top of it again, but a dive like this cannot be a possibility in the future. I refuse to give in to my old self, because that means not being in control of what goes in and out. I guess that is a part of the journey for me right now. Learning to be in control and not make frustrating solutions after something like this has happened.
What I did want to share with you though was the fact that I actually made a full on bible study on tithing in the beginning of this month. I initially thought, I had to explain myself to the friends of mine who do not believe themselves. But it was some of my Christian friends and family that made me go home and check my bible. The church I go to often say “Go home. Read in your bible. And, analyse for yourself”, so that was what I did. Not in order to convince my non-religious as well as my christian friends and family, but in order to find out for myself what I read and understood to be tithing, so that next time I would meet opposition towards my project with an ability to fully lay out what I read in the bible. It also lead me to the conclusion, that my idea as to include the monthly paying I make to the three good causes I support was not far from the original idea. In the bible every third year the tithing was not given to the church, but to the social outcasts and poor people in society. Thus, I am not going to change the rules on how I tithe. I am no matter the circumstances going to give to the different organisations I already have planned to give to as well as my church. I find that as long as most of the ten percent is going to church it is ok. I find it problematic when half of the money is given to something else than the church and its ability to survive. Then I will make changes in how I give.
What did become real to me was how the old testamente explained tithing as the way to learn how to put God first and destroy all other things that took Gods place in our lives. I guess already back then money and wealth could be a problem to people. It could become a god in their lives. And in order to follow the biblical example, I dwelled on what could be a “god” in my life. Luckily, my church is fasting in February, thus a perfect chance for me to fast and clear out the things that cloud my connection with God. Some fast facebook, others food. I fast thought patterns. It is a tad difficult to explain, and I think it may require a blog in it self. But, shortly outlined, I have unnecessary and unhealthy thought patterns I have been fighting my entire life. God created me with a huge variety of fairy tales and stories in my head, that I sometimes have a tendency to rely on them than on my living God. Thus, I no longer listen to music and I make an effort to read instead. Oh, I really hope you are still with me.
All in all, this tithing was a journey I began with God. I had an idea as to where this was going and somehow he dragged me down a road, I did not foresee myself. How mysterious God works! How wonderful.