November 18, 2011

Choosing Your Treasures

Photo c/o: Erin Ever After

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been enamored with music, dance, art, interior decorating, etc. I used to rearrange furniture in my room and pull out different duvet covers to switch it up. I've always been that extra girly/domestic kind of girl. So when I read Matthew 6: 21-22, I wondered how this applied to my love of beautiful things. Is the love of all things beautiful and artsy a sin? Hm....we shall see.

(19-21)"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust-- or worse!--stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."

These verses aren't easy to swallow. We've been raised in a society that's all about obtaining things and more things. Things give you status. Status gives you friends. Friends give you self-esteem. Self-esteem inflates the ego which makes you think that you need more things and the cycle starts all over again. Trust me, I know. I'm over it too. I was in conversation with a friend who shared that in order to buy a new phone, he had to use his entire paycheck. Mind you, he didn't need this phone. He just wanted it and couldn't wait for his "new every two" deal.  Mind you, he lives paycheck to paycheck, has nothing in savings, and has a ton of student loans to repay. I shared that I believed that was a huge mistake and left it at that. I didn't quite feel the need to scold. At the end of the day, I'm my brother's keeper but I'm no one's mother. Honestly, buying a phone that was way beyond his means stood out to me as a form of idolatry. If you're willing to put yourself in such a tight financial space for a "thing" that isn't a necessity, note that as the green light to take a hard look at your priorities. Why are things so important?
Living within your means is so much better than living in a state of constant lack; not to mention you'll own a whole bunch of stuff that'll be out of style within a year or two. One of my favorite blogs to read is the  Think and Grow Chick blog. Founder and head writer Courtney shares valuable lessons on how to deal with your finances as a young adult. A word of advice that she shares with students is to really evaluate the difference between wants and needs. After doing that (if you're a student), it's best not to make purchases with student loan money and justify the purchases by looking at the post-grad salary potential. Don't work with potential in those situations.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with saving to buy something you really want. There's also nothing wrong with being able to afford nice things. The very people who walk around mocking the Starbucks-drinking, iPhone-toting, J.Crew-shopping crowd are just as annoying as those who perpetrate/put pressure on others to perpetrate. Some can actually afford those things. Don't hate. There's no sense in mocking someone for enjoying the things they work hard for. Half of the people who mock are actually wishing they could buy the same things. At the end of the day, make sure you're being a good steward of your finances. As the old folk say, "live within your means."

If anything, NOW is the perfect time to work on your character; your character a.k.a that ONE thing you'll get to take to heaven. As we get older, the challenges we face get harder. The challenges make us stronger so don't freak out. Just put in the work. Once you actively seek to develop love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23), you're set. It's easier said than done and it will always be a work in progress. However, let God lead and be prepared to surrender.

Now, back to my initial question. Is the love of all things artsy and beautiful a sin?

John Ortberg's The Me I Want to be: Becoming God's best version of You is a great perspective changer in terms of how to approach and truly personalize your relationship with God. Chapter 7 is entitled Let Your Desires Lead You to God. I read this and just laughed out loud.

"Do you like money? In Acts 16 we read about Lydia, a businesswoman dealing in textiles, who was the first convert to Christianity in Europe. She had an eye for design and flair for making money. Imagine the passion and drive it would take for a woman to succeed in business in the ancient world. She was good enough at it that she owned her own home, and it was large enough that it became part of her ministry. Lydia's house became the first meeting place of the first church in the history of Europe. Of all the churches built over all the centuries ----Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey, and the Sistine Chapel ---the very first one in Europe was the home of this Phillippian businesswoman named Lydia. 
Maybe you have a flair for money. You enjoy it. You don't admit it to anyone at church, but you do. You love being surrounded by beauty, design and color. That in itself is not a bad thing. God created beauty. God loves beauty.  If these desires choke your generousity, cause you to live in debt, or create chronic dissatisfaction, then it is time to say no. But it is a good thing to put beauty in your environment that speaks to your soul. When you see that beauty, embrace that God-give joy and thank him that he is such a good God. In that moment, you can experience the flow of the Spirit in your life. As the Spirit flows in you, maybe God will give you creative, new ideas about how to share what you have, just as he did with Lydia. "

This excerpt really allowed me to let out a sigh of relief and reminded me to keep everything in perspective. Below is clip of OWN's Visionaries documentary. This clip features designer Tom Ford. I've watched the entire documentary and really appreciate his perspective and his honesty. Listen to what he says about fashion and spirituality. I believe he's on to something.

So, what do YOU think? 


  1. Daniele this blessed me so much this morning! You have an amazing gift and give glory to God in everything! I am gonna check the book out ASAP as I have been struggling to have a full circle relationship with God when I am outside of church. Thank you for letting God use you! You really need a devotional book deal! :)

  2. Aww thank you so much for your encouragement, Kenda!!:) So glad this helped you this am. It's not easy but keep working at it! God knows your heart! Def. check out the book! John Ortberg is amazing!

  3. I just had to leave a comment. After reading this I now feel an overjoyed sense of relief. I like to save money, but I like to spend it too. I like bright, shiny things and before reading this I wondered if that was bad or evil. "Keep[ing] everything in perspective" is key. Thank you for insight and not being afraid to share your faith. Love ya!