I counseled at two different high school camps over the past summer. The second camp I counseled at had me working with some girls I have known for 6+ years. It was amazing to get to spend time with Megan, who I began leading at the age of 10 and then see where she is now, this dynamic young woman for Christ that wants to live her life with reckless abandon (in a good way). I see her, and would love for my girls in Seattle to know her. This pretty, young high school student, fashionable, fully functioning, but in love with Jesus. During camp, Megan and I were both fairly convicted about our need to live more simply. We committed to one another that we were not going to buy any clothes (new or secondhand) for a full year. As far as I could tell, we were both pumped. I thought, "look at me doing this good thing, and choosing to live more simply." However, I have discovered that it is not as simple as that.
For the second month in a row, I have sat down to pay my bills and have asked myself, "where did the money go?" Whereas six months ago I could sit down and pay all of my bills at once, I am discovering that my freedom with eating out, enjoying weekend trips, etc., over the past year has finally caught up with me. I can no longer pay all of my bills at the beginning of the month. Now I must wait for my second paycheck to come through to ensure that I will have enough. Simplicity seemed easier when it was my choice. A journey I was choosing to embark on. But now, simplicity is something happening to me, and that is much more humbling than I thought it would be. I have just paid half of my bills (I need to wait until August 13th to pay the rest), I have $110.00 in my bank account left, very few groceries in the house, and am trying to go to Portland this weekend for a small trip with my friends.
How do I live simply in a world where everything costs money? How do I live simply AND engage in relationship with people when the activities they would like to participate in require a huge monetary sacrifice on my part? Not to mention all of the good and pure things (like hosting breakfasts and lunches for people) that I may not be able to do any longer. I guess, at the end of the day, I still have emergency resources. I will not be starving, as I have a credit card which I am sure my mom would let me use. I have belongings I could sell. I can eat pasta. Every day. For a month. I do have options. I just didn't think they would be options. I thought they would be my choices, but now the simple choice has been made for me.
It's humbling. It makes me feel a lot out of control. And I'm not certain I like it all that much.