I've been thinking a lot lately about the lies I tell myself. In particular "I don't have the money to..." or "I don't have the time to...". Do you ever say this? When I'm feeling particularly good about myself I may phrase it "I wish I had the money/time to...". I find myself saying it all the time, in my head or aloud, and the truth is- it's not true.
As Americans (read: as the richest people on the world) we have plenty of money. Not enough to cover every expense and whim perhaps, but we have what is called discretionary income - income beyond what we need to cover our basic expenses. And, when it comes down to it, what we consider basic isn't always accurate either. Basic is generally considered food, water, shelter. Not a meat dinner, bottled water, and a 2000sf house with 1 1/2 bathrooms.
The entire world also abides by the same time constraints. There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. We each fill our days and weeks with different activities. Some of these activities may feel more optional than others but really, the way we structure our days and weeks are generally up to us.
So it occurs to me that what I am really saying when I say I don't have the money or time is that I choose not to spend my money or time in certain ways. We all have money and time and it's our priorities that dictate how we will spend them.
This may sound like a technicality, but I find that it's challenging me to see more clearly the choices I face. For instance, saying "I wish I had the time to volunteer more" is really a nice way of saying "It's more important to me to spend my Saturday afternoon washing my kitchen floors than to help tutor a child from a low income neighborhood". Or to substitute "It would be nice if I could afford to adopt another Compassion Child" with "I'd rather be able to buy organic milk for me than to feed a hungry child in Zimbabwe".
Not all choices are so altruistic or clear. Oftentimes my decision remains the same after the rephrasing. But my goal here is to be honest with myself and make educated choices so that I can put to death my selfish desires and grow in my Christ-likeness. It's taking a bit of getting used to but I find it very refreshing - this honesty thing.