For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6.21)
“But money spent while manic doesn’t fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you’re given excellent reason to be even more so.” ~Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness.
I did a financial review today. I do these frequently. Mostly when I’m manic. Instead of spending extravagantly, God has blessed me with an obsession to track my expenses down to the penny. This time I discovered that I pay $0.99/month for an iTune subscription I wasn’t aware of. It may take several months, but I’ll track it down so I can spend that $12/year on something more gratifying. Like a 12-piece Chik Fil A nugget meal.
Many folks with bipolar have exorbitant episodes of spending when they are manic. Dr. Jamison herself flew to Paris over a weekend and came back with multiple thousands of dollars worth of shoes. I met a woman once who had quit her job, cashed in her life savings, bought a motorcycle and rode around the country, spending money in ways she doesn’t even remember until she pulled into a gas station and found she had access to no more. My favorite story of manic spending was a man I once met in a support group. He once walked into a bar for a beer and walked out as the owner of a campgrounds in a location he’d never heard of until that night.
I have been blessed in many ways, much more than just frugality. The overwhelming emotion I feel when I review my finances is gratitude. I am thankful that I have the resources to pay for the basics — food, shelter, healthcare, clothing; as well as afford various luxuries — dining out, entertainment, travel. I don’t have all I might want, but I do have all I need, and more to share.
In the Gospels, Jesus talked more about money than prayer. And he wasn’t sharing a prosperity gospel of spiritual strategies to get rich quick. No, he revealed the image of God in widow who gave away her last coins for the work of the Lord while religious leaders living off her giving and much more overlooked her (and God).
An essential step towards spiritual growth is to examine where our heart is. A seminary professor once told me the best way to do this is to look at your checkbook. Now, it’s credit card statement. Or something digital with Apple Pay. Some do this well on their own, and with good results. I am not a prayer closet guy, as you know. I look for mutual accountability. So, here is what my financial review reveals:
So far in 2019 (note: I am not counting taxes, which are essentially non-negotiable):
I spent 37% for food, shelter, healthcare, and clothing. I am grateful for my health insurance which keeps this figure low. I could do better in this area if I ate out less.
I spent 20% for the care and provision of my children. This money is certainly going where my heart is.
I invested 11% to maintain and grow the Delight in Disorder ministry. God has given me this vocation and I want to be a good steward.
I lost 11% in a failed investment. Not at all happy about this. Hopefully, it will be a lesson learned.
I gave 10% to church and other mission efforts doing what I believe is the work of the Lord. I see this as a minimum tithe and hope to increase it in the coming years.
I devoted 4% to my loving companion, Briley. I am on a first name basis with the people at Petco.
Overall, I’m satisfied that my treasures reflects a heart seeking after God. At least I haven’t bought a campgrounds sight unseen.