Trading our freedom for stuff

Most of us spend at least 40 hours each week working to make money to support ourselves. Some spend considerably more than 40 hours. Some people are fortunate to do work that they love. Others just work for the pay check.

Sometimes we think of work in terms of what we can buy. We work to make payments on that car. We work to pay the mortgage or the rent. We work to put food on the table for our family. We work to pay the credit card bills. We also often think of work in terms of money. How much per hour. How many hours we have to work to buy that thing we want.

What we really are working for

The question is what are we really working for during that time.

I heard a commentary recently that proposed that we are not really working to earn money or purchase things. We are working to earn  little pieces of freedom. We then sell these little pieces of freedom so we can live.

Some pieces are sold to purchase shelter to keep us safe and warm. Some for food and clothing and other necessities.

Some bits of that freedom are sold as we are required to live where we can find employment in our field.

But we also sell pieces of our freedom for things that aren’t so necessary. Things that catch our eye and seem to be needed but are soon forgotten and find themselves abandoned on a basement shelf. Yet we are left with payments that linger on.

Losing our freedomfreedom

The Bible speaks of this in Proverbs 22:7.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

When we overspend and place ourselves in debt, there is a very real sense where we become a slave. We have given away those little bits of freedom and left ourselves in a place of servitude to another. We borrow thousands of dollars to get an education, but that leaves many trapped in jobs they don’t really enjoy but must stay with to make the payments on their debt. We buy cars and houses to impress our acquaintances, but really only place ourselves in bondage to a bank. We swipe a card because it’s easy and we can have what we want when we want it, but then we slowly find the credit cards bills mounting and we struggle just making the minimum payments.

Take a stand

Personally, I have learned to hate debt. Debt has almost never brought me blessings, and almost always caused me pain.

The good news is we have a choice. We can choose to gain back our freedom. We do that by changing our habits. Spend less than we make. Sell some of those things we don’t even use anyway. Get a little crazy and temporarily take an extra job or two, or work extra overtime to bring in some extra money to put on those debts. Do whatever it takes get out of debt and stay out of it.

Collecting stuff is a poor substitute for our freedom. Pay off those debts. Create a little margin in your life. You can do it. Your freedom is always worth it.

 What have you sold your freedom for?

Photo credit: t r e v y (creative commons)

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