There a few things I’ve noticed about life since becoming a fully support-raised missionary. Now don’t get me wrong, working in ministry my whole life, I’ve never exactly been rolling in the dough. In fact, every job I’ve taken has generously offered a pay cut from the previous job. However, being fully support raised is an even bigger adventure.
1. Coins become real money. And not just the quarters! Nickels, dimes, even pennies are worth pulling out of the couch cushions, washing machine, old backpacks and wallets, dust pan, drawers, forgotten corners and stashes. I’ve run out of places to look which will seriously eat into my frozen yogurt budget.
2. Coupons. Did you know how many coupons are out there if you look? I had no idea the apps, coupon codes, and weekly specials you could find. 20% off? I’m rich, baby!
And when paired together, coins and coupons feel like free money and I don’t feel bad about splurging on 4 ounces of FroYo.
See, our quaint little chicken town of Gainesville, GA has suddenly been overrun with RaceTrac gas stations. That wouldn’t be such a big deal, except for the fact that RaceTracs are like the Ruth’s Chris of gas stations. Gourmet sandwiches, burritos, salads and an entire self-serve froyo station. It’s like the 7-eleven’s of Asia have finally made it to the States. And the new ones started sending us coupons for $4.00 worth of free frozen yogurt.
The yogurt Nazi I wouldn’t let any of my roommates use them unless their total was at least $2.50.
This week we made a late night run to the newest to get our sugar fix. On our way we passed at least 8 cops with blue lights flashing and badges glinting, some poor driver’s worst nightmare. And a funny thing started to happen. Right when I noticed the first one, I became so fixed on the lights that I nearly drove off the road myself. By the time we passed the fourth and fifth ones I was driving a good 10 miles under the speedlimit. Somehow the simplest tasks of driving, the ones I do day in and day out, became difficult; and the more cops I passed, the worse my driving became. I was so focused on not getting pulled over that I actually started doing more things worth getting pulled over for. Don’t worry, I made it home ticket free. Or else this blog would be titled, “Please Send Money.” But, seriously.
And I started thinking…I’ve spent the last year trying desperately NOT to become. To NOT become bitter. To NOT become negative. To NOT become common, and disillusioned, and sad. To NOT become hopeless, or critical, or jaded. To NOT become like the most negative traits of people around me. And just like my fear of being pulled over turns me into a driver worth pulling over, so my fear of becoming all those things has actually created an environment for me to BECOME those very things.
I think, Do not be one of those people who has critical remarks about everyone around them.
Which translates in my brain to, Do not say the negative things that you’re thinking.
Which leaves me with, If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
So I don’t say anything. For awhile. But the negative thoughts build and build and build until suddenly they’re pouring out of my mouth (in a thinly disguised Christian way, of course) and suddenly I’ve become the very person I didn’t want to be.
Instead of focusing on the good in people around me. Instead of choosing to see and believe and speak the best of others. Instead of focusing on the person I DO want to be. The one who celebrates and loves and believes and encourages and calls out greatness and sees what could be instead of what is.
The more we focus our attention on what we DON’T want, the more likely we are to get it.
So I’m starting over. No more trying NOT to become. Cause there’s a whole lot of things I DO want to be.
(To summarize :: Coins are like gold. Coupons make me feel rich.
Please send money. Don’t stare at the cops. And who do you WANT to be?)
Image credit shadeofmelon. Creative commons.