My birthday was last week. It was the usual blend of normal and special, with a very unusual back injury thrown in for good measure. I got Facebook messages, texts, calls, cards, and some cash and gift cards. All good things. Our budget doesn’t always allow for us to spend much on ourselves, so when birthday cash comes around, I struggle with how best to spend it. Do I want one big thing, or multiple smaller things? Do I want new clothes or is that too practical?
My mom was always very generous on my birthday, and always insisted that I use the money she gave to buy something just for me. That’s something I struggle with. Similar to my trouble nailing down a hobby, it’s hard for me to allow myself to enjoy something that’s just for me. I’ve even allowed my reading room to harbor an underlying feeling of guilt, instead of just enjoying the solitude and pleasure my husband intended for me.
This year, I’m challenging myself to use some of my birthday money to buy something completely beautiful that gives me joy and pleasure, but that serves no practical purpose whatsoever. I need a lesson in how to “treat yoself.” I am Ben with his sack of socks, longing for my Batman costume (Seriously, just watch the video.) I’m not giving myself license to be a completely frivolous idiot, but to loosen the reins a little bit and find a bit of goodness just for me.
My counselor challenges me to pay attention to the beauty of God, not just the usefulness of Him. Every time he asks me, “How is Jesus beautiful to you?” I don’t have an answer. I don’t naturally seek it out in my life. I’m practical and reliable and get stuff done, but I often miss the goodness and the beauty along the way. I don’t want that to be the pattern of my life. Tim Keller says, “Don’t go to God because he’s useful. Go because he’s beautiful. And yet there’s nothing more useful than finding God beautiful.”
Shopping for myself might seem a very small, very insignificant way of applying that statement, but it means paying attention to the way God has made me, and taking delight in the unique things that delight me. And if, while I “treat myself,” I’m glorifying Him for all the good gifts he gives, then that’s not insignificant at all.