Friday, October 19, 2007

aaargh! I've maxed my credit card!

Actually I haven't, but I got your attention, didn't I?

If you know me better than Jocelyn Sinclair (you know, she's minister of health in Dyslexia) then you will realise I have a long-term issue with spending more than we can afford. At least you will if:
a) you have ever been to one of my seminars;
b) we have ever talked about things we're struggling with;
c) we've ever talked about pretty much anything, actually.
As you may have realised by now, I'm a self-revelation kind of girl.

I have spent (no pun intended) the second half of this year climbing - one homebrand product at a time - out of the financial pit I dug for myself (and my endlessly patient husband) in the first half of this year, during a series of bad spending choices of such insignificance that I can't even remember them.

I have learnt how hard it is to maintain the initial impetous of that "aaargh!" moment when you look at your credit card bill, and realise that the total has passed your personal comfort levels (fairly high, in my case - it's amazing what habit can accustom you to.)

If there is any one possession I would gladly relinquish (and it has taken me many, many years of soul-searching to reach this point) it is that little piece of contoured red plastic snazzily designed by Virgin. I have visions of cutting it into tiny pieces and throwing it into a pit of super-heated fire (I've thought about this a lot, haven't I?) and running away at top speed (i.e. not all that fast) only to turn and find that, like the Terminator (haven't seen that movie? you're so young/old/female) it has pieced itself back together and is still following me... with a sub-machine gun.

No other object in my life has been responsible for so much temptation, sin, misery, guilt, self-recrimination, doubt, sleepless nights, and broken promises (to self, that is, I don't make the other kind any more).

So why haven't I done like Jesus said and cut it up and thrown it away? Well, I've been extremely cunning at avoiding this moment for many years, trusting rather in clever financial plans which never eventuated (perhaps if I shuffled my bank accounts around?) or in my own self-control (amazing how you can continue to believe in something so obviously lacking).

Meanwhile the bank rings me every couple of weeks and offers yet another increase in the top limit on our credit card (after all, I am one of their best customers, just look at all that interest we've paid.) Just think, you could buy yet more things you can't afford, with money you don't have! Your own personal ticket to greed and financial ruin!

If you have one, cut it up now! If you don't, never get one! Or you may find it following you with a hatchet, like some B-grade horror flick: "Attack of the killer..." (They're red. They're rectangular. They're deadly.)

(Of course, this may not be a temptation for you, in which case by all means keep the plastic for convenience and security, just remember what I said when you lie screaming on the ground with a chainsaw raised over you...)


Rachach said...

Hi Jean,
Thanks for being so open about your struggles. It rally is extremely helpful to hear of other's temptations.
I don't have that particular temptation (with the credit card) but I could identify with some of your feelings in regard to eating. I am still working out if it is a godliness issue (I suspect it is, since self control is a fruit of the spirit, and I have very little when it comes to food). So how do I get rid of that temptation? Any thoughts? Do you struggle with that?

Jean Williams said...

Oh, I wish I knew! It's a MAJOR issue for me too. I suspect the roots are psychological as much as sinful. Steve says it's probably not sinful, for what it's worth!

The main issue is probably love: am I being unloving in what I eat? Does it make me irritable & unloving when I eat too much, lack energy for my kids (yes in my case!) I find this an easier way to think about it, and a better foundation for repentance.