My family and I are leaving for a Florida vacation in a few short days. The Magic Kingdom, airplanes, Mickey Mouse, the ocean – the whole enchilada.
It’s a pretty big deal and my excitement over escaping the hot Tucson dirt for some ocean breezes might even surpass my daughter’s excitement over getting to have dinner with a bunch of Disney Princesses.
But let me tell you (just in case you haven’t been fortunate enough to hear these words in a real life conversation yet) what is happening EVERY SINGLE TIME I share with someone about this upcoming vacation. I, almost mandatorily, interject that my parents are paying for it. Because they are. My parents have generously planned for and paid for this amazing adventure – plane tickets, Disney World tickets, meals with princesses and a beautiful beach house. The whole enchilada.
I am beyond grateful, truly. But seriously, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
It’s like I can’t just say “We’re taking a vacation!”…
…because we want to.
… because that is what American families do.
…because we work a lot and need a break and an ocean breeze on our faces.
…because Cinderella and It’s a Small World and Sand Castles!!!!
…because…we deserve it?
I don’t force this detail of my parents’ generosity upon people to give mom and dad credit. I do it because I am worried what people will think. I am worried we don’t actually deserve it.
I am worried that what you are really thinking when I tell you we are headed to Florida for fun and sun is “Wow, aren’t they supposed to be missionaries?” or “Wow, maybe that is a bit too extravagant for them” “Wow, is THAT where my $50/month is going?” (apparently I think people say “wow” a lot in their internal monologues…)
We are a family in ministry. We raise (okay fine, Jon raises…) our salary and benefits from individual ministry partners (i.e. your money). Somewhere, somehow, the idea has entered my belief system that because we are in ministry, because we are acostumed to a certain lifestyle of financial restraint, because of how we get a paycheck- we don’t deserve a vacation. At least not one that involves airfare and Disney and beaches.
For some reason that’s okay for other people, but not for us.
Money, since realizing I married a man who is committed to ministry and since realizing I follow a Jesus who means what he says about all those dollar bills – has become a really big deal in my life. I think about it a lot. I do without it a lot. When we have extra of it, I spend it irresponsibly a lot and hence feel guilty about it a lot. It’s a big deal. I’ve written on money here before because time after time it finds it’s way into my heart.
I have COMPLICATED feelings about my money and other peoples’ money.
But right now I mainly just feel like I don’t deserve a sweet vacation.
Like what we Phillips Family should have is a summer in the hot dusty desert and just grin and bear it.
So, when you ask me if I have plans for the summer, and I awkwardly rattle off how we are going to Disney World and The Most Awesome Beach House but it’sokaybecausemyparentsarepayingforitnotus…
…it’s my shame talking (certainly nothing anyone has ever said to me!)
It’s shame over the many moments when I feel like we don’t have enough.
It’s shame over the many moments when I feel sick over my extreme wealth.
It’s shame, simple as that.
I’m not sure if I “deserve” an awesome vacation. But I have one coming to me and I would like to enjoy it, I would like for my kids to enjoy it.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t deserve a kind and gentle Savior, but I got one and I like to enjoy him, too. I got Him, plus the Holy Spirit, plus a lot of really cool things like spiritual gifts and family and love and joy and peace. The whole enchilada.
So if in the next few days I instead of just telling you what our month of June looks like, I give you an itemized bill and show you what exactly we paid for all this, please just be patient with me.
Oh, and thanks Mom and Dad!
Sometimes life here in the Kingdom of God can look a lot like hot, dusty Tucson and grin and bear it.
But, this summer the Kingdom of God looks like having the whole enchilada and eating it too, with some ocean breezes and – hopefully for the sake of my four year old daughter – a picture with Elsa and Anna.