Hello friends! When I tell y'all that I have the WEIRDEST relationship with money like GORL! I would consider myself to be an anti-capitalist, however, because of those ideals, (and that mixed with the religious trauma I've endured, and the church's skewed views on money), I almost have somewhat of a repulsion to having money. And it's odd because I understand the practical importance of having money in our society. Like I know that having money can be a force for good in our society. However, I also understand that there is no ethical consumption under capitalism and even participation within this system is harmful to someone, somewhere within it. And gosh darn it that bothers me! It feels like an impossible situation that is always bound to hurt someone, and that truly hurts me to my soul. So because of that, like six years ago, I started a journey of getting into the habit of giving. It started small with me giving small change to different places here and there, and it has increased to me giving more and more (both in terms of the money amount and frequency). And for years I have been okay with me doing this. I believed that it was making me a better person, and it was serving me well during that time. However, recently I haven't had as much money lately, (so I haven't been able to give to barely anyone for quite a while), and it's brought out some emotions within me that were concerning for me. Since I haven't been giving as much to people or to my church, I've been having feelings of guilt and shame from not giving as much as I usually do. And it's filled my brain with thoughts of feeling like I'm not a good person or a giving person or a true anti-capitalist if I don't give away everything I have to everyone but me. So for a short lil while in my life, I have been giving away money that I don't have to people. And just like how the enemy rolls, the shame that convinced me to give, immediately turned into shame for not "walking in wisdom" and not "stewarding my money well" after I had just done the thing that he was convincing me to do.
So after some time of living my life like this, I realized that part of the reason that I was struggling with this area of my life (besides religious trauma and bad doctrine) was because I felt within myself that I was a bad person and that I was a stingy and ungenerous person. And although there was literally no evidence of that being true in my life, I was fully convinced that this was true. And I believed that I had to prove myself to show that I wasn't placing money above God and that I wasn't a stingy person. And it's so odd because I just kept giving more and more money to people, but I never felt the satisfaction of feeling like I reached the point of being considered "generous" or like "unattached to money". Nothing helped; and every time I was presented with an opportunity to give and I didn't (or couldn't for that matter) I felt an IMMENSE amount of guilt and shame for not being able to help. But recently during another one of moments when I gave way too much money to someone when I couldn't afford it; I heard that same cycle of guilt and shame being replayed in my brain. Shame that convinced me to give and shame that appeared after giving. And honestly, I had had enough of it! I knew then and there that there was no works that I could do at that point to make myself feel as though I was a generous or good person. But I had to simply look at my life, see what I had done and believe it within myself that I was! For so long I believed that I was a terrible person, and the only way to prove that I wasn't, was to give all of myself to everybody. My time. My money. My advice. My things. Everything I had, I gave away. Including myself. I even believed that this was the "Christian" thing to do because God loves a cheerful giver right? But I had to realize that God gives things to us for us. And I don't have to prove myself to anyone, including myself because I know that I am a generous and good person, and giving away everything I have to people does nothing but hurt me. I had to realize that I was the only one who was going to convince myself that I was worthy of being seen as generous and good; and I started to speak over myself words of affirmation so that I could help to quiet those nagging and deceptive thoughts.
I am a good person. I am a generous person. And I don't have to prove myself to anyone who believes otherwise. I know my heart and God knows my heart, and we both know that I am a generous person!
So to anyone else who is going through this, just know that I am right there with you! It's hard to find others speaking about this problem, especially when so many people assume that everyone is stingy and unwilling to give. But I wanted to let you know that God doesn't want us to prove ourselves in even this! He knows that we are trying our best to be good people, so we don't have to prove ourselves to show that we are! You are allowed to believe that you are a good person. You are allowed to believe that you are a kind and generous person. You are allowed to believe these things because they are true! And you are worth more than what you can give to other people!
My child, have you promised to be responsible for someone else's debts? Have you been caught by your own words, trapped by your own promises? Well then, my child, you are in that person's power, but this is how to get out of it: hurry to him, and beg him to release you. Don't let yourself go to sleep or even stop to rest. Get out of the trap like a bird or a deer escaping from a hunter.
Proverbs 6:1-5 GNTD
“Do not give what is holy to dogs—they will only turn and attack you. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs—they will only trample them underfoot.
Matthew 7:6 GNTD
21 would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.
Psalm 44:21 ESV