Expecting the Unexpected

When I started this blog, in my mind it was going to be a wonderful thing where I would always be updating about how much weight I had lost and how much money I had saved while doing it.  Reality check: I gained a pound this week and I realized that my formula which calculates my debt on a spreadsheet was missing a cell and that I’m about $3,000 more in debt that I originally thought.  Shit.  Yup.

Thank goodness there’s always the fall back on God.  He doesn’t get fat or go in debt!  Plus, it’s easier to read the bible than exercise or not spend money.

Continuing the study in Matthew – a look at verses 1-13 of chapter 2.

The chapter opens up with some funny eastern astrologers asking around for directions.  This leads to me to the first observation.

God had to be chuckling to himself when he gave the heads up to non-Jewish “magi” that the Jewish messiah had arrived.  The thing is, God is not afraid to step outside of our preconceived ideas of how things should go.  He is really BIG – he doesn’t fit in our boxes, our churches or our approved social circles.  He’s everywhere and he can speak through anything.  The trick is to always stay on alert, you never know when he will sneak up behind you and whisper in your ear.

So these magi or wise men or astrologers or whatever you want to call them end up at the Jewish capital, the most logical place where a messiah/king might show up.  Big surprise – he’s not there.

I don’t want to step on any toes here, but it is my honest belief that government reform is not and should never be the end game of Christianity.  Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus tell his followers to start getting involved with politics so that they can make some real changes.  He also doesn’t tell them start political action committees or begin rallies so that the government will start forcing everyone to behave like Christians.  Real change doesn’t happen when laws are passed, it happens when hearts are invaded and people choose to live differently because they’ve experience real love.  Jesus wasn’t born into the political spotlight, he never ruled a country or even a town and he didn’t change any laws – but he turned this world upside down.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying we shouldn’t vote or that God can’t use politicians to do good things.  After all I just said he wasn’t small and that he can do and will do whatever the hell he wants.  William Wilberforce is a great example of a Christian who worked his way up the political ladder and helped to end slavery because that’s what he thought God was calling him to do.  That’s freaking awesome!

Back to the story: The Jewish religious leaders gave the easterners directions and sent them on their way.  Wait, what?  The Jewish leaders told them where they should go to find the messiah but didn’t think to go check it out too?  Huh.

The problem with thinking we’re really smart is that it makes us really dumb.  The Jewish religious leaders had all the answers.  When called on to give directions they knew right away what the answer was.  But, in their arrogance they missed the answer to the greatest question – when is the messiah coming?

When we don’t know the answers and we’re constantly going to God and asking him, we get to know him better in the process and our understanding deepens.  But, if we know the answers already then why would we need to talk to or believe in God at all?  There is more to this life than any of us know – at least that’s what I believe.  I am very aware of how little I understand about it, but it’s nice not knowing everything.  It means that each day can be an adventure – a learning experience.  So long as we don’t blind ourselves with our own arrogance, then the wonders of God and this world will never cease to surprise us.

The good news is that these foreigners finally found who they were looking for.  They give him gifts and worship him.  I like trying to imagine this.  Here are grown-ass men bowing down to a baby.  Have you even hung out with a baby?  They’re dumb, they don’t even know how to talk.  And it’s not like they could really give Jesus gifts, they had to give them to his parents because babies don’t even have the dexterity to hold stuff.

Being a follower of Christ can be a fairly uncomfortable experience.  It’s not easy trying to explain to someone that you have an invisible friend who you base your life’s decisions on.  But, Jesus never said we would be comfortable, in fact he promised it would be really hard.  I guess it’s just all just part of the adventure!  Not to mention that we live in Disney World here in the US.  Our brothers and sisters who live in the real world know what it really means to be uncomfortable for Christ.

Ok, enough holy talk.  Next post: Curry Chicken!

Budgeting and Basketball

I hate budgeting.

This past weekend was crazy busy.  We, (my brother, sister-in-law and I) had a friend come in town for the weekend.  I don’t know what you’re like, but I love showing off my city and by showing off I mean going out to eat at my favorite restaurants.  In two days, I managed to hit up six restaurants.

Now if you’re detail-oriented you may have noticed the $52.00 meal from Josephs.  Here’s another problem I run into when friends visit: I think I’m supa rich!

The problem is, I’m not super rich.  In fact, I have set a budget of $100 a week for myself.  That includes gas, food, fun and misc.  So, when my brain decided to quit working this weekend, I spent a total of $154.12!  Ack!  And, $50 was put on the credit card.

Here is another problem I’m currently dealing with.  My cat Cotton is a ninja.  He sneaks out the door when I least expect it.  When he comes back he brings fleas, (despite his monthly advantage treatments.)  I’m happy to say that the house if finally flea-free again, but it turns out, when there are fleas there are tapeworms.  I think I just threw-up. Get used to it, this is my life.  I went and got worm medicine today and it was another $43 on the credit card.  Whoo …

But, there is good news in all of this.  I won the office bracket pool at work!  You are so smart!  I know!  I got $45 out of the deal.  After the obligatory office cake purchase I’ll have some extra $ to put towards the credit cards.

The lesson that I learned here is that eating out is wonderful, but only in the small doses that your budget allows.  For the rest of the month I’m going to avoid eating out, (except where absolutely necessary – I have girls night coming up!)  If I play my cards right I’ll have some money left over at the end of the month to put towards the credit card and hopefully pay off this weekend’s spending spree.

Mom – if you’re reading this and are worried about me – don’t!  I have a full tank of gas and plenty of food/leftovers to get me through the week.

Thanks for reading guys!  Next week, (when I have money again): Curry Chicken