Stay Thrifty My Friends

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to spend my money as ethically and responsibly as possible. My goal is to purchase as much of my clothing as ethically as possible. My definition for  “ethically purchased clothes”  is two fold:

  1. any clothing item produced in a manner that uses natural, non-toxic, ethically harvested, and fairly constructed materials. Basically, anything made by fairly paid people out of natural, safe materials.
  2. anything bought second-hand

I have about 130 items of clothing. I’m including everything that I wear on my body. Out of those items, about 49% were produced and/or purchased ethically. I would like to be in the 70-80% range at some point. I don’t think 100% is realistic for me. Somethings are just not reasonably able to be purchased ethically and I can’t always find something I need in my size from secondhand places.

I’m doing this because I want to honor God with my money more and more. I’m not all the way there yet, but my clothing choices have been a great start. It’s hard for me to knowingly buy clothes that were produced in a way that hurts people and the rest of creation. Sometimes I can’t avoid it, but when I can, I do. This means I buy much of my clothes second-hand. I’ve found that this is way more fun then buying brand new. If you know what to look for, you can buy premium quality items for a fraction of the price. For instance, I found a pair of very lightly worn black engineer books that retail at $329 for only $37! In my size, in the color I wanted, from the brand I wanted.

However, somethings like socks and undies you can’t buy second-hand. Buying things that I can’t (or don’t) want to buy secondhand usually means spending more. But it’s totally worth it. I just buy less things at once and eventually I will be able to replace what I have with more ethically purchased items. While I am concerned about saving money and paying off debt, I don’t want that to mean that I buy the cheapest thing available because at this point in history, that means it’s made by poorly treated workers in crummy facilities. That’s where my money goes. I don’t like that at all. So, I’m doing my best to change my spending habits and it has turned out to be fun and has saved me money.

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5 Questions To Ask The Bible

For those of you that do not know, my degree is in Biblical Studies with a focus on Biblical Exegesis. That’s just the technical term for in-depth Bible study. I genuinely love reading and studying the Bible. I would love to someday be able to go back to school to study some more just for the love of it.

Something that concerns me is the way that I tend to see people reading the Bible. I see people injecting whatever they want into the Bible and picking and choosing the parts they want to believe. When a lot of people read the Bible it seems more like they are choosing ice cream flavors rather than actually trying to discern what God has said to His people. I think most of this is based on simple ignorance. I’ve never been in a church that consistently teaches its members how to read the Bible in a proper and effective way. I think that sharing what I do might be helpful to some of you.

Here’s what you need to daily read the Bible:

  • a Bible- preferably one of those fancy journaling ones so you can draw cool pictures
  • an artistic latte
  • a leather journal
  • plenty of Instagram filters

JUST KIDDING, here’s what I actually do

  • Before reading anything, I pray this prayer that I developed;
    • Father, give me the wisdom and understanding to comprehend your word. Jesus, thank you for being the physical manifestation and fulfillment of the word. Holy Spirit, help me to know the meaning and the intent in the words you breathed into our people long ago and help me to live it through you for the glory of God, Amen.
    • Admitting that I don’t know everything has been very helpful and asking God for help understanding the Bible does work. It’s His book, He wants you to know what it means.
  • While reading;
    • ask 5 questions
      • What does this teach about God?
      • What does this teach about people?
      • What does this teach about the relationship between God and people?
      • How does this help me know God better?
      • How does this passage show the glory of God?
    • I like these questions because it takes a lot of my own opinions out of the process. Sometimes, you won’t be able to answer all the questions because not all passages speak to each item.
  • Once I have thoughtfully and prayerfully answered the above questions, I know that I have a better handle on what the passage says without me injecting what I think it means right off the bat.
  • This is a great daily method. I typically read a paragraph at a time and following this method, it usually takes about 15 minutes. EVERYONE has 15 minutes a day to read to Bible.

Later I’ll post an example straight from my journal so you can see what it looks like.

Turn Signals

One of my most vivid early memories is of my dad driving and using the turn signal. This is weird, I know. I just remember thinking to myself, “O my gosh, someday when I drive I’m going to have to use a turn signal every time I drive!? How do people remember to do this?”

Flash forward to now and I realize that many people do not use turn signals (you know who you are) and I use mine without even thinking about it. Literally. I don’t know why this struck me the other day but I realized that without any conscious effort I flip the turn signal on and off when I’m driving. You do it too (hopefully). How cool is it that we can get a good habit so ingrained in us that we do it without even thinking? I think it’s pretty amazing.

When all of this came together in my head, I started to think: what other things are so ingrained in me that I do them without conscious thought? And then I got serious, what bad habits do I have that I do without even realizing it? It’s scary, isn’t it? Scary that we can get so used to doing something that it becomes not just second nature or easy, but it seems to become a part of who we actually are.

One of my bad habits has been to be short and rude when the people close to me ask me questions. For whatever reason, I cultivated this into a unconscious habit that I’m only now starting to understand and break. I love what Tom Ziglar and Jim Rohn say about habit and success:

The fastest way to success is to replace a bad habit with a good habit.

For me, this means teaching myself to take a quick second when I’m questioned and actually listen instead of going straight to annoyed. This is hard. Like really hard. But then I remember back when I thought that using a turn signal every time I turn was incredibly daunting but now I do it without thinking. We all have things that used to be hard for us and now they are easy. Draw on this experience to overcome your bad habits and create new ones. I’ve created new good habits and so have you. We can do it again. And again.