"Where does your money go?"
I have been asked this question at least three times in the past week or so. The question was supposed to revoke a spiritual conviction about where your heart actually is and what your god is. Well, my list didn't really seem consistent. Nothing stuck out to me. Other than necessities, I don't really buy thing. So instead, I asked myself where would my money go if I had a lot of it. I would buy clothes, band merch, anything Star Wars, makeup, hair dye, probably a camera strap and memory card, get a tattoo, and get more piercings. Oh, and lots and lots of Nike.
That was my list.
And it still didn't seem consistent. So I let it be. Then I was asked the question again and it started to fall into place. And then yesterday at Target it just hit me like a train wreck. Last night I even had a nightmare that fit right into place with the theme.
At Target I was looking at all the clothes, and suddenly it dawned on me how many times I said the phrase "I want..." "I want the new BB-8 shirt they have!" "Aw look a new Star Wars hoodie!" "That shirt is.so.cute. I want it!" "Wow, I wish I had these biking gloves." "Oh man, new makeup." The list was just endless. And as I wandered the store by myself I just stared at all the things that were promising to make me happy, promising me that if only I could buy them, I would be satisfied,
Then last night, I had a nightmare that my house was going to collapse. So I ran back inside to collect as many things as I could carry. I grabbed my laptop, my camera, and some books. But I stood in panic for a minute because of all the things I couldn't carry. All my Star Wars toys that had taken me years to collect, my book collection, my autographed twenty one pilots picture, my CD's, my journals, my memories. Everything. And in my dream I found myself praying that my stuff would survive in the rubble. My stuff.
I woke up and just cried. Yes, the dream was scary, more happened in it that I won't mention, but also because of how I had acted. I was disgusted. I cried and journaled for a bit and then it all fell into place.
At church on Sunday I had made that list, and I asked myself what the core issue was. The result was...well, heartbreaking.
Everything I wanted pointed to one thing: my appearance. I mean, honestly; when it gets down to it, it's all about my appearance. The clothes, the hair dye and piercings and tattoos, even the Star Wars toys; it's not because I'll use them, because I used to buy them to play with as a kid, but now I just collect them; now they're so people will look at them and think "Wow. She's a real fan." I want people to think I'm cool, I want Nike so everyone knows I'm a gym addict, If I don't go to a TOP show I'm not really committed am I? I want all this stuff to prove something to someone.
And here's the thing, if you really know me, you know I'm a Star Wars fan, you know I can rap all the verses in any twenty one pilots song, you know I like to randomly do the splits, you know I would rather bike than take the bus, you know that some days I'll walk into church and my hair will be purple. If you seriously know me, you don't need me to prove any of those things. But for some reason I'm caught up in the idea that I want everyone to know these things. If I wear a TOP shirt, everyone's gonna know I'm a real fan. If I own every EU book and piece of SW merch, I'm "cool." And at the bottom of all the material things, I think I just want to be known. Wearing merch is a good way to make 2 dimensional friends. But a lousy way to be truly known.
But you know what? God knows me.
"Lord, you have searched me and known me." -Psalm 139:1
"You are intimately acquainted with all my ways."-Psalm 139:3
"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."-Jeremiah 1:5
"I have called you by name, you are mine."-Isaiah 43:1
"I am the Good Shepherd, I know my own and they know me."-John 10:14
God knows why my favorite song is my favorite, He knows the overdramatic story of how I came to be a Star Wars fan, He knows the reasons I'm often afraid, He knows that I struggle with understanding Him sometimes, He knows why I get angry; He knows me.
And I wish that truth would wash over me and actually sink in. I wish I understood that fully. That God is intimately acquainted with me. I don't need someone to affirm me or to tell me I belong; I am accepted in Christ. I don't need someone to understand every part of me; if you want to know me, talk to me. By first glance, you shouldn't be able to know me. The people that really care will ask. I'm not interested in people who just like me for my stuff; I'm interested in deep friendships. I get so caught up in this constantly; it seems I'm always finding myself in the predicament, and I wonder if I'll ever truly be free from it. And the reason I say this is, well, I sorta want you to know I'm a very messed up and selfish person but I'm trying to be better, by God's grace. And also because I want you to know this too. So I challenge you to answer the first question, and pray about it. Where does your money go? "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21.) And if it doesn't click right away, just keep praying. It might take a few weeks, but it'll come.
I hope you learned something from this. If anything, just know that you are fully and completely known by a loving God. That should melt you. I know it's beginning to melt me.