I was all set to do a fun, sentimental post about my first week of classes, complete with scenic pictures of the Globe Theater and Tower of London, and everyone was going to love it.
But the issue of money came up this weekend and I’m angry about it. So that’s what you’re gonna hear about instead.
Living in London is not cheap. This Tuesday, I was completely out of money and my parents graciously put $250 in my account. By this afternoon (Sunday), I had 76 cents left. Let’s look at where that money went (after a trip to the Navy Federal Credit Union website):
-Groceries (berries and cereal for breakfasts, a couple microwavable dinners, etc.)
-Toiletries (decongestant, tampons, lotion)
-Eating out (lunch on Wednesday, dinner on Thursday, brunch on Sunday, etc.-but nothing over $20, and I take home every leftover)
-Groceries again (TOILET PAPER, milk, microwavable meals for lunch)
-ATM because I ran out of cash
-Refilling my Oyster card (which saves me 50% on all fares) so I can get to school and our field trip locations
And literally that’s it. I haven’t gone clothes shopping, bought any souvenirs, paid for other people’s meals, or any fun things like that. And I’m already out of money. And I feel guilty about it. I feel as if somehow I’m not being a good steward of the money I’ve been given. Why is that?
And then today I get a notice that my package (containing my glasses, which my mom sent me literally so I can SEE) has arrived and I have to pay 61.17 (in pounds, which means with the exchange rate it’s more in dollars) before I can pick it up-so now I’m having to spend money I don’t even have just to receive something. So now I’m terrified because my birthday is in just over a week- what if all my friends suddenly decide to be generous and send me gifts?
And THEN I went to a church service today that just happened to be the one Sunday they talked about giving- about how everyone should give generously, regularly, willingly, freely, etc. regardless of income or ability. And I’m looking at my wallet, asking God, what do I even have to give? Then I feel guilty again, because I can feel God asking me if I trust him, and I wonder if my stress over all this means I’m lacking in faith as well.
So yes, England is beautiful. Yes, I am certainly making wonderful friends who I enjoy going out and doing things with. Yes, my classes are fascinating. But I can’t pretend the weight of life and the very large world isn’t pretty heavy tonight, because I want to be faithful with little so I can be faithful with much. And I don’t know how.
But as someone very dear reminded me tonight, God is not cruel. He knows our stresses and does not begrudge us for them. Your worries and fears are not sin.
And perhaps, for tonight, that is enough.
(P.S. Don’t worry. A happier, more picturesque post will be next.)