Monday, April 14, 2008

Bad Habits, Hungry Children in Africa, and Other Odds and Ends

So back in February when I was doing all the Compassion blogging, I mentioned that there was a teenager in Uganda I had my eye on and was hoping someone would sponsor him. I never followed up on that comment.

Somebody sponsored him. I did. You see, four sponsored kids was a stretch. I just really didn't feel comfortable sponsoring a fifth child. It's not like another charity where if you find yourself in over your head, you just call a phone number and reduce or discontinue your donation. There's a real child on the other end here! I knew if I decided to sponsor a fifth child, I had to commit to continue that support until the child exits the program. Yes, Compassion does allow you to discontinue your sponsorship if you should need to do so, and they will look for a new sponsor for your child and they won't be dropped from the program, but I personally could just never do that to a child.

Well, young Milton was really on my heart for a couple of weeks. I really felt God was leading me to sponsor him, but at the same time, I knew the money to do so simply wasn't there. I've heard many a sermon about going out on a limb and trusting God to supply the need and all of that, but to act on it? Well, that was scary.

In a ministry team meeting a few weeks previously, it had been shared that the money Americans spend on ice cream in a year is nearly three times the amount it would take to supply enough food to everyone in the world (this amount being in addition to what is already being given), and nearly twice the amount it would take to supply not only food, but also clean water and health care to the entire world. (again, the additional amount needed to meet these needs)

It really convicted me -- that's just ice cream! How much other trivial stuff do we spend money on every day? If we just gave up HALF our ice cream intake each year and gave that money to these causes, everyone in the world could have enough to eat, clean water, and health care!? That is just mind-blowing.

So as I became convinced that God definitely wanted me to sponsor Milton, and convicted regarding the ice cream statistics, I made the connection between the two and realized that what I was being asked to do was to give up something I currently was spending approximately $32 a month on and give that money to sponsor Milton instead. The money would thus be supplied. I really put a lot of thought into what that could be. I rarely eat ice cream, so that couldn't be it. I thought through my daily and weekly purchases, and was glad as I realized I'm really not much of a trivial spender. I have a lot of things, but those things are already purchased. As far as ongoing expenses, I'd already given up a lot of trivialities, such as cable tv, netflix, newspaper, etc. The remaining expenses were pretty essential. (And I'm self-employed and internet is a necessity for my business so not even that could be gotten rid of, thank goodness, because I'm afraid I'm just not good enough at heart to give up the internet even to save a starving child -- what a woefully selfish person I am...)

So anyway, after great thought, I finally settled upon my "sacrifice". Potato chips. It's a good idea anyway. It's my one unhealthy habit still remaining after working hard for many years to totally "clean up" my diet. But I was so addicted to potato chips that despite my high priority on my health, I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of them.

Now here's the funny part. I didn't decide to totally stop eating chips. I was going to vastly reduce the amount eaten. Limit myself to maybe a couple of bags a month, instead of the 3-4 bags a week I was accustomed to eating. Yes, I am a potato chip fanatic. They were a healthy brand, at least!! :)

So anyhow, I make this decision -- greatly reduce the chips, it's good for my health, and it will save me the amount of money I need to sponsor Milton. So I sponsored Milton. The very next time I went to the grocery store, I laughed as I noticed they were out of the particular type of chips I always purchase. "Didn't trust me not to get them, I see, so you took care of it for me," I laughed with God.

But the next time I went, they still weren't there. And I looked carefully and the STICKER WAS GONE!!!! It's been two months now, and they're still gone. I haven't had my potato chips that I was totally addicted to in TWO MONTHS. And they say you can break an addiction in that amount of time, but my friend, they are wrong. I crave those chips every bit as much today as I did the first day I was deprived of them.

Another odd thing has occurred lately. I've been dropping pounds like crazy. I had no idea why. It was becoming quite alarming -- I was losing about a pound a week, and I don't have it to lose. I was thin before; now I'm dropping to dangerously low weight levels!! I tried eating more, and more, and more, but it was never enough and the pounds just kept going away. I know, I know, there are many out there who would kill for that problem, but let me tell you, it can be very frightening to have your weight dropping so quickly to levels that make you look positively emaciated. At last, it finally occurred to me. THE CHIPS!!! Of course!!! 3-4 bags of chips a week, a fattening food, suddenly GONE from my diet altogether! No wonder I'm dropping weight like crazy!

So last week I purchased one bag -- just one -- of the most similar chip on the shelf. The same BRAND. Just a plain chip instead of rippled. How different could it really be??? And remember, I said I was reducing my chip intake, I never said I was giving them up completely!! So I felt perfectly entitled to that bag of regular chips. Especially since I can't seem to stop the weight loss any other way.

That chip was just not the same. Not the same at all. I won't be settling for THEM again.

I've gone so far as to look up the company to see if they stopped making the rippled chips. After all, the other five varieties sold by this brand are still on the shelf at the store!!! And I certainly bought enough of those rippled chips that the store should not have discontinued them for lack of sales!!!! The company apparently still makes them. And I can order them online for $36 a case.

$36 for a case of potato chips. $32 for Milton's monthly support. Do I really need those chips?

I didn't think so.

Want to give up your own "potato chips" or "ice cream" or whatever it may be, and sponsor a child? Click here.


Shibin said...

this is an excellent post. U have told the truth. I was searching for some articles to control my addiction to potato chips .And here i come across ur blog. This article is so inspiring. I may become a regular visitor to ur blog friend!!. I am also taking a similar oath. To spend this amount in charity.

A Dusty Frame said...

What a great post:)!
James was given the sponorship money for our Compassion child and one of my great prayer requests is that we will have the money next year to keep it up!
What a blessing it's been for us.