I miss having enough padding in the budget to shop in bulk.
It’s payday, and the cupboards and fridge are much more barren than I like to see them. We are out of so many things we use daily: cheese, coffee creamer, lunch meat, bananas and more. The only meat I could build a dinner around is a can of salmon or some tuna fish. We’re down to our last two rolls of toilet paper, and the cat really needs new litter in his box. My freezer is empty save a few bags of collard greens I froze after my last big cooking session.
Back when the economy wasn’t so bad, before the rising cost of living outpaced what was once a comfortable income, we could afford to buy ahead. Clearance sales, wholesale clubs, and the case lot sales at our commissary were my friends. I’d find a deal on something and buy enough to last a while. It saved money in the long run and provided the security I feel when I see a full pantry and refrigerator.
Now, when every penny has to be accounted for, I can’t drop 20 bucks on a bulk pack of toilet paper. That money has to cover more bases than just the bathroom, stretching to the next payday when I can shop again. I’m finding that I really dislike this change in my lifestyle. I don’t like feeling unprepared.
I suppose those insecurities are rooted in the same tangled web of food issues I’ve carried since childhood. I come from a line of folks with varying degrees of hoarding and other OCD behaviors. But honestly, when I think about it, my fears of not having enough aren’t genetic.
This is really a spiritual issue.
Remember manna? God sent just enough food to feed the Israelites for one day. And the Bible says clearly that God did this to test their faith. For forty years—that’s almost my entire lifetime thus far—this is how they ate. Literally, one day at a time. Every single day, they had to trust God to provide. And every single day, he proved himself trustworthy.
“God is not man, one given to lies,
and not a son of man changing his mind.
Does he speak and not do what he says?
Does he promise and not come through?”
-Numbers 23:19 (The Message)
We are far from being in a place where we literally have nothing to eat. I know that is not the case for millions, probably billions, of people world-wide and I don’t deny the blessings that I’ve been given. It’s almost humorous that I’m even writing this post, because though by American standards, we’re struggling, compared to much of the world, we are rich beyond measure.
It’s just different for me, a different mindset I’m having to put myself into, a greater level of trust in God that needs to be built. My family’s manna doesn’t fall from the sky daily, but the resources to buy it arrive like clockwork twice a month, and I’m thankful.
“I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be blessed.”
-Psalm 39: 25-26 (NIV)