I think steve is right – that this is getting easier. “I’ve come in well under budget and it didn’t seem a particular sacrifice.” I say that, with another admission of failure to come, but shifting your expectations does seem to work.
Living more simply, not expecting to go out so often, allowing others to be generous towards you – these things do not come easily, but they are valuable.
My slight misdemenor was on Friday, my day off, when I went for a walk in the afternoon, feeling a bit sorry for myself after having to work that morning, and wandered past snow & rock in covent garden. The 40% off sale sticker in the window was the thing that drew me in…
One of the shifts in perspective that this Lent thing has done is to spark my longing for the mountains – spring on the horizon might be something to do with it too, but gear at discount is a temptation too far. So i was led astray by climbing equipment. It went on my credit card, so I won’t pay it till after easter… no excuse I know.
But apart from that some good things. Ang and I sitting down for a chat, watching tv together, doing the washing up. All seem like nice, normal things to do, when in most weeks they just don’t happen very much.
Interesting that the Lent challenge is challenging us to more than living on less.
To Quote Garmon “Hmm, God really isn’t going to be let this purely be a game or an interesting academic exercise. I would like not just to get by on £50 a week but also to try and live the experience more.”
I want to get to grips with the purpose behind Jesus teaching on simplicity & money. Its purpose is surely bring liberty and peace “You are truly blessed because you do not have the cares of this world”. To allow us to live for Gods Kingdom, instead of the cares of this world, and to discover the fulness of life that comes from relationship with God. It is the manna principle – that God provides for the daily needs of the birds, and how much more does he care for us, so stop worrying about those things.
Perhaps the main reason for our lack of real intimacy & knowledge of God is our lukewarm attitude to possessions and wealth.
What can we do to better live the simple life, and find real life?
£10 in my pocket
Well not sure what happened, but it is Friday night, and I have still got £10 in my pocket to last until Sunday. I have been a bit ill this week, just an annoying cough & cold, so rather easier to just lay low. Doesn’t feel like such a bad week though, my Starbuck quota was not particularly low but I guess I haven’t been to the pub much. Wierd that saving money comes down to coffee & beer – two of the most common Lent sacrifices for people. Visiting my folks today, means a low cost day off. And little chance of clubbing in Wokingham, so should be a cheap evening too.
Following Jesus in the Urban Desert
The third bus is full to the gunnels again, it’s 8.37 and I am not sure I going to make it to work on time, taxi goes by with a light on, but the woman ahead in the sharp suit steps in quicker. i missed my alarm again… agitated start to the day… trying to stem the frustration at indiscipline within. Ken why can’t you sort the buses?
In the city, the streets team with grey and black as people hurry their way to offices the Bank Of England towers over us reminding us of a former age of magnificent wealth… the mercedes show room on King William street… Clinton cards has cheap red ballons for valentines day… the smiles from the starbucks sellers… cafe latte… the grins of the security guards at the front desk… 6th floor and the long walk across the floor to my desk with Tony and Lisa at the end… black screen springs to life for another day of staring at the monitor… morning… chat… croissant… order lunch… emails… legal agreements… numbers… banter… complaints…. chicken curry… a treat… bbc website for the latest football news… afternoon and the more of the same… sunset over Southwark cathedral but the blinds are closed, so take a walk… afternoon cafeine… 5.30… the journey home… it’s raining… my feet slide on the pavement… people slipping away in the shadows to their homes… bus is on time… lights on the Gherkin… Old street roundabout… short walk past the northgate pub… the alsation is quiet tonight… no one is home at Oakley yet.
Where do I see God or meet him in the day that goes by? What do I see of Him in the world around me that inspires me or gives an image of relationship with Him, either absence, presence, joy etc? Lent is a time of reflection and drawing closer to God in preparation for Easter coming. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert: lonely, frustrated, tempted, hungry, thirsty and tested, battered by the elements, tested in his identity as the Son of God.
The city with its many pressures and voices of desire and persuasion can have a similar impact on our lives, deceiving and distorting our grip on eternal realities, of who we are in Christ.
if you call your Dad he could stop it all
New week, new beginning. I am not going to beat myself up about last week – guilt isn’t the point of this, though I do feel bad about it. If there is one sense I am realising it is the sense of limited opportunities that I have on this budget. I have to live in a much smaller world, doing less, staying in more, thinking smaller. But I guess like the greek girl in Common people, I will never know how this really feels, because I could always call my Dad/bank manager and make it stop.
Lots of people at church seem to be struggling already. The major issues seem not to be the general expenditure, but the regular luxuries. We seem to spend to get us through the tough days, we throw money at problems. Not being able to be indulgent towards ourselves and others is hard. I don’t think I realise how much money I spend doing this.
Katie said last week that the 40 days of lent is measured as 6 weeks minus the sundays… I think I understand why now. So today is officially not Lent. Just 24 hours not to have to think about money stuff is a relief. I know this kinda blows out the whole solidarity thing…
Sophia’s birthday at the Roxy was great fun, even if some questions need to be asked about the music. However I have now blown my entire weeks money, and it is only Saturday. I did try to work it – walked down, got there before 8.30 to get in free, but beer at over £3 a go… well anyway. Not sure what happens now… maybe I can take a bit out of next weeks?
“nicotine & multimedia makes up for the shortcomings of being poor”
Poverty Challenge Day 2. I was applying ashes at the Ash wednesday service. I think I got a bit over enthusiastic and couldn’t help laughing as I walked back down the isle to see all thes people with huge black marks on their foreheads. Pub was good, great chat with Rob as ever (he bought me a pint and only wanted a half in return. He is a lightweight but I am not complaining!)
But I have found the first thing that I really don’t like about this challenge. It is really hard to be generous. Someone asks me for money, and I think – you must be joking. Met up with a collegue today and I would usually buy them coffee – but not today.
Living frugally is good, but failing to be generous is just not nice. I guess that thinking about money all the time seems a bit shabby too. I guess I am hugely priviledged that most of the time I don’t have to think about money. I don’t spend a great deal, but I have enough for what I want.
General overspend today though. Had a meeting in town, and Central London is just an all round expensive experience. Walked in to save the bus fare.
Having friends round tonight so that should be nice, not to mention inexpensive. I plan is to catch up on some movies over the next few weeks too – I never have time to watch videos… Lend me your DVD’s!
I withdrew my £50 this morning, a bit nervous about making it last for the week. I am aiming at £5 a day general expenditure, to give me some slack for other stuff. So I went straight into Starbucks for a meeting – good start! Starbucks normallys account for a lot of my disposable income. Economised with Tea instead of my normal Latte. Good meeting.
Its now after lunch, and I am in the office & hungry but I need to not go out & buy lunch as usual, and instead go home and make something. Already organised a pub visit after the Ash Wednesday service at St Andrews tonight… I don’t think I can get other people to buy me drinks for the next six weeks.
At Church last sunday evening we talked about taking up the Church Action on Poverty minimum wage Lent challenge.
Lent has traditionally been a time of living simply and sacrificing Luxury, which we tend to have reduced to giving up chocolate. The CAP idea seems to be a good one, painful perhaps, but very worthwhile. It involves living on about £50 a week after rent & bills, for the six weeks running up to Easter. The aim is an act of solidarity with those who have less, and a spiritual discipline of living frugally. Not to mention liberating a chunk of our regular earnings to give to others.
A good number of people at Church on the Corner were inspired by the idea, and wanted to take part. One of the suggestions on the CAP site is to keep a diary of the experience and I thought I would record my Lent experience in a way that others could share and contribute to. So I aim to keep this a daily record of the experience. Please comment (hit the comment link below) maybe sharing your own experience or reflections. We may fail in this – but even that experience of failure will be an important part of the exercise.