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October 26, 2015

Do I Feel Worthy Enough to Carry a Louis Vuitton?

Several weeks ago I went shopping for myself—which is about as rare as snow falling in October.

shopping-boejlerAnd while many of you think that’s an exaggeration, I was on orders to go shopping from one of my best friends who found out that I’d only worn ONE main bra…..(wait for it)…..since 2009.  (Yikes, I know. But that darn thing just fit so well!)

After frantically hurrying through a department store, trying to find several items that I needed within the 3 hour window before nursing Birdie again, I ran to the checkout line as the lady scanned each item.  I found three pairs of jeans that I desperately needed on a sale rack—since the last time I bought non-pregnant jeans was….(wait for it again)….2009.  There were tops and blazers that I needed for my upcoming conferences, and matching socks that would solve my mismatched sock problem. There were boots that hadn’t lost their soles like my current boots, and jackets that could get me through the fall.

Over the years, I had taken Christian pride in my lack of desire for material things.  I praised myself for my personal pedicures (even though I actually enjoyed going to the spa), dyed my own hair, felt the need to only buy things for myself out of need and practicality (since desire sometimes seemed wrong), and only made purchases if they were on sale.  I drove cars into the ground—convincing myself that it was silly to want anything new as long as the old was paid for, puttering along just fine.

“That will be $$$, ma’am,” the cashier said with a smile, bagging my pile of much-needed items.  And though nothing in my bag was excessive with many items years overdue, it was as if a hot blanket of lava poured over my head, firing up my heart with intense heat.

Shame.  Deep, deep, deep shame.  Shame on you for spending so much money on yourself, Christa.  Shame on you for receiving anything that you don't deserve.

 

Being raised in a Christian culture, I learned important biblical concepts like putting others first, giving to the poor and needy, and humbling myself before God.  But somewhere along the way, I had translated the concepts to mean….value yourself less than everyone else.

The thing is, I'm far from stingy.  I have no problem dropping cash on my children, justifying toys, clothes, trips, and excursions to get ice cream just to see them smile.  I'm the first to pull out my checkbook if there's a need in the world, giving large hunks of cash over the years to the poor and needy.  I love buying lavish gifts for others that I would never buy for myself, saving up for whatever my husband wanted for Christmas.

But the red flag was, I always got mad if Luke spent too much money on me, always feeling unworthy of receiving.

 

Years ago, I walked by a new Louis Vuitton store wanting to go inside.  I’d heard stories of snobby salespeople turning up their nose at those who didn’t look like they belonged—even hearing how Oprah had been turned away from a Hermes store in Paris.  And after walking back and forth several times, I finally mustered up enough courage to walk through the door, holding my nose in the air and trying my best to pretend like I was more important than the number in my bank account.  After quickly browsing through the store holding my breath, salivating at many items I thought were beautiful, I exited quickly to rejoin my husband.

“Babe, turn around,” he said.  “Your Old Navy tag for the shirt you just bought is sticking out.” With bright orange numbers, the tag of my shirt had displayed for the entire Louis Vuitton store that I had found a $1.99 bargain that day in the mall, turning my impostor face beet red.

At my very core, I didn't feel like Louis Vuitton.  I felt like $1.99 from the Old Navy….which is simply not okay.

 

Here’s the deal, this is not a blog promoting consumption or name brands.  I know millionaires who feel like a million bucks in their Old Navy outfits and poor fashionistas who save up all year for a beloved designer handbag–so it's not about the item or the money.  This is, instead, a blog about shame, and the shame I felt every time money was spent on me.  It's about the ability (or inability) I've possessed to really, really receive, possessing a deep feeling of lack within.  My spending habits didn't point to an external problem–it pointed to an internal value issue.

And from the looks of my credit card bill and the way I wanted to cringe every time money was spent on me, my heart didn't believe it was worth as much as I preached from the pulpit.

(Deep sigh)

 

God has been peeling back some pretty deep layers inside of me this year–layers I didn't even know existed.  And as He's been digging, we've been getting down to this core question…..

Christa, do you value yourself like I value you?

 

OUR TURN:

Matthew 6:21 (ESV)

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Many times, money is a pretty clear indicator of what's going on within the heart.  And from the looks of my money, my heart didn't have as much value for me as it did for those that I loved.  There are others, however, who swing in the opposite extreme while feeling unworthy, spending far too much money on themselves to try and buy their worth.

So the issue isn't the money.  The issue is the value system within.

 

Ask your heart these questions…

How do you feel when money is spent on you?  

How do you feel when you spend money on yourself?

What do you spend money on and why?

Do you have difficulty receiving?

And the big question….

What makes you feel valuable?

 

Take a few moments with the Counselor, bringing your answers before Him and asking Him what He thinks.  Begin an inner dialogue with Father about your worth, challenging any shame that might arise.

When I started doing this, and Father started teaching me about my deep worth to Him, He started challenging me on some things.  He challenged me to start pampering myself a bit, because I didn't know how without feeling guilt.

And friends, guilt and shame our not traits of our God.

(Disclaimer:  I am in no way asking anyone to spend outside of their means or budget.  But I've had the budget for a new bra for years and just never bought one.  I'm asking you to gauge how you feel every time money is spent on you.  Make sense?)

 

Since I enjoy going to see one of my closest friends to get my hair done, God told me to start making regular appointments.  Since I enjoy massages, He told me to book a day at the spa.  Since I'm getting a bit tired of my 7 IMG_8015year old practical car that's paid for (and I can afford another), He told me to go test drive something I was dreaming about.  Since one of my best friends had given me a Louis Vuitton bag for Goldie's diaper bag before she died, He asked me to stop feeling guilty of the gift every time I picked it up, learning to enjoy the blessing.

After every exercise, I talk with the Holy Spirit about how my heart feels.  Does it feel guilt?  Does it feel shame?  Does it still feel like I'm unworthy of receiving?  And if it does, I let Father get in there a little bit deeper and teach me about my worth.

 

I'm completely aware this blog can be misinterpreted, and many will only hear my promotion to go spend money.  But the thing is, the feeling behind money was simply my personal indicator of a heart problem.  I'm completely aware of the orphan, slavery, and poverty problem around the world, and Luke and I prioritize these in our giving.  But if I believe that my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and that there's never any lack in heaven….then He has enough for ALL.  He has enough for me to get my hair done at a salon without feeling guilty that I didn't use all my money to end world hunger.  (:

 

Alright friends, this is getting long.  Write out your thoughts below, and let's get an online dialogue going about our worth and ability to receive.

Do you feel as valuable as Father says you are??

xx,

Signature CBG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

38 Responses to “Do I Feel Worthy Enough to Carry a Louis Vuitton?”

  1. Love this, and I totally get where you’re coming from. We actually talked about something similar in church a week or two ago, as we’ve been studying the life of Joseph. I won’t get into all the specifics… if I do, it would be longer than your blog haha. But this is kind of where I stand on the issue (bear with me, I have allergy brain right now lol): I don’t think God wants us to live without things we enjoy, be it clothes, jewelry, etc. It’s not a sin to buy something that makes you feel good, just make sure it’s in the budget (we should never live beyond our means). I also think there’s a balance: Are you making room in your budget to buy things for yourself, but not to tithe at church or to give to charity? Or it could be the total opposite… are you giving EVERYTHING away, and not spending any time/money on yourself? My husband and I love to do things for our friends, family, our cats (yeah, I know haha), and our sponsor kids. But we do make sure that when we work on the budget for each month, we give ourselves a little allowance.

    I guess the moral of the story is this: It’s ok to do things for yourself from time to time. God wants us to take care of others, but He wants us to take care of ourselves as well. There just has to be a balance (financially and spiritually), and that balance is going to look different for everyone. At the end of the day, it comes down to your heart; and just because you might buy yourself a nice handbag or a new car, doesn’t mean your heart isn’t focused on others.

    I really hope that made sense… 🙂
    -Liz

    • Christa Black Gifford

      Girl…I think it’s ok for you to do things for yourself ALL the time. (: On a daily basis, I’m going to start pampering my heart. I’m not talking about money….but I’m going to learn to be lavish with my heart EVERY day…getting rid of that ugly shame….learning to bask in the glory of my Father’s inheritance! Let’s live in a NO SHAME FLY ZONE of exceedingly abundantly ABOVE all we could ask or imagine! (: xoxo

  2. So it’s funny Christa the Lord has been talking to me in my dreams and just everywhere about giving me lots of money and there is a definite feeling of shame that arises that I haven’t earned it and a shame because I want it. It feels really close He said it’s time for the big push. Please pray for me. Thanks! And thanks for this post.

  3. Zane Nxumalo

    I’m still in school and I struggle with receiving without feeling guilty and seeing my worth. It got to a point where I became blind to the fact that my “friends” were bullying me. (They were using me like there’s no tomorrow) it also led to me questioning my existence. I am so ready to let Jesus intervene and tell me and show me my purpose and receive the blessings that He has for me. I even wanted to get a job as I felt bad about all the money my parents spend/spent on me. (My lungs aren’t very strong) but now I know that when I learn to see myself through His eyes and believe all the He says about me, a lot of things will begin to make sense 🙂 thank you for the amazing post, a Christa!

  4. Anjelica Farino

    I love this. Love that Christa always points the exterior issue back to a heart condition. The condition of our hearts point to our health in all areas. (Physically and spiritually!) This summer some family circumstances led me to move in with another family from church. They talked to me about how it was a GOOD and necessary thing for me to be out of my house and with them. They are the pastors of my church and I’m best friends with their kids- they’re like a 2nd family to me but I still felt like I could be burdening them at times. I was an extra mouth to feed, car in the driveway, and person to love (and I needed a lot of love this summer to get through a deeply painful situation.) They went out of their way to think of me, always encouraged me, and included me in all their family plans. (Including dinner with John Bevere and other great people of the faith who came to visit our church this summer.)

    This blog helped me realize in those times I thought I was a nuisance that it blessed their family to have me and come alongside me! We glorified God together and unconditional love is a gift from Him! Trying to block their love only put walls around my heart from receiving God’s love. It’s still hard to receive but I have grown in this and see the value in letting others love and bless me. Letting them bless me, blesses them! None of us ever want to take someone’s blessing away 🙂 let someone else love you unconditionally and you’ll see the depth of Gods heart!
    -Anjelica

  5. Priscilla Yee

    I have been living within my means all these years even when I was still married as I didn’t have much privileged as a wife then to be pampered. During nd after my divorce and even now, I only spend money on essential things such as food, skincare and some cosmetics, I only buy clothes if they are on sale. Not only I can’t afford anything expensive, I felt that it isn’t worth paying so much for a piece of clothing. I am bless with my mum as a tailor, she still sew clothes for me. But I saved up monthly for holidays as I love to travel. I bought some handbags which are of certain brand before but in outlet store every time my brother goes to the States for work. I am happy with how I spent on myself. I have friends who buy me stuff and hopefully one day I will be blessed with a partner who will pamper me.. Until then I’m grateful for whatever I have now.

    You should pamper yourself Christa, you deserve it. God bless.

    • Christa Black Gifford

      Sounds like you are a super smart shopper! I want to be a super smart shopper without any shame….feeling like I’m worth a million bucks even if I find a bargain! I’ll go pamper myself if you go pamper yourself. (: Deal? xx

  6. Okay so I do the opposite. I buy to fill a void, and I guess that void is my feeling of unworthiness, and not just in my eyes but in others. I have no problem spending money or giving to others, but perhaps I’m doing that to feel worthy to them? I have always struggled with fitting in and finding my place which Im assuming is because of feeling never good enough, I’m so sad to realize I do this.

    • Christa Black Gifford

      AND I HAVE BENEFITED FROM THIS CHARACTERISTIC, GIRL! HAHA! I had a girl tell me yesterday she couldn’t keep up with Birdie’s clothes…and I said…Oh man, it’s because of my friend Sheri’s generosity! For the record….I think you’re simply breathtaking. Always have…and not because of anything other than YOU. Know we weren’t close in high school, but you were always someone I watched in awe. Can’t wait to hang out when I’m back in Atown…and will be there for a month starting in Nov!!! (: xoxoxo

  7. This. This is so good. I’m a stay at home mom of 3, who like you, hasn’t bought a pair of non-maternity jeans in goodness knows how long. I am always looking for the best deal for the money, forcing myself to be okay with something I find to wear for cheap because it was, well, cheap. But that’s what I eventually end up feeling like. Cheap. Lacking value. And having been raised in the church, and having married a man who I’ve nicknamed “Dan Ramsey,” this subject has been increasingly on my heart. My husband has absolutely no problem with me getting a pedicure or buying clothes that I need or want. But I do, and I’ve never known why, until I read this Holy Spirit revelation from you Christa.
    We are daughters of the King. And while I wholeheartedly believe He wants us to be faithful with little so that much will be given, many of us, including myself, are blind to the fact He gave us much a long time ago. The truth is, we’ve been too busy browsing the clearance racks or digging through our purse for coupons that we’ve missed His endowment to us. I have been working on ceasing to believe the lie that it’s not ok to have nice things if you’re a Christian. It is for sure more about the condition of one’s heart and her identity in the eyes of her Father. Valued. Loved. Cherished. Beautiful.
    Here’s to getting to the point of buying a $30 shirt…….. Instead of seeing how many shirts I can get for $30. 🙂 This is so good. Thank you Christa!

    • Christa Black Gifford

      Wow, Jenny. Thank you for this…so so so so good. I’m ready to buy that $30.00 shirt with ZERO shame, how about you?? (In fact, why don’t you go get one TOMORROW!) (: XOXO

  8. Heather_Toler

    Beautiful blog post Christa! I first came across your work from your book God Loves Ugly and am, years later, happy to find even more relevance in your writing. I look forward to seeing what else is to come.

    I relate in many ways because it’s easy to spend for others, bestow gifts on others but on myself there’s guilt, shame, and bargain bin hunting. Not to say bargain bin is bad, I want to be a good steward of what i have been given but I deserve nice things as well.

    • Christa Black Gifford

      Bargain bin is NOT bad, because I love a good bargain! But the FEELING I get when I move OUT of the bargain bin into desire…that’s what I’m going after in my own heart. Excited to go on this journey with you!!! (: xoxo

  9. Unreal. I was given a Louis for my first baby shower. I remember thinking this was my dream purse and then when my boss who is a close friend blessed me with it… Totally surprised and amazed…. Within days I could barely take it anywhere without feeling unapproachable to people and over protective of the handbag. My husband and I didn’t have much in the bank but I had this purse and it challenged me . I think I convinced myself out of shame or maybe that I didn’t deserve the hamdbag to sell it. 🙁
    Now being a mother of three girls my husband and I are separated and we are doing the hard work of digging and getting well. I’ve realized how much I learned not to value myself and eventually lost my voice because of it. Going to the deeps as a child and the way I observed and judged my parents and now have reaped what I’ve sown.
    The beauty is thatFather turns our ashes into something beyond what we can imagine if we let Him. He’s always ready. Doing the hard work and getting healthy along this journey and learning to buy things and appreciate the quality of things because Father made me with precious quality. Longing for my Loius built a victim, martyr and self pity within self and I have no one to blame for that but me. Taking responsibility for myresponses that were sin and valuing the beauty of who I am has been such a beautiful and painful journey.
    A couple of months ago I was gifted another designer handbag that I was eyeing! I was overwhelmed with joy and amazement that Father was giving me another chance. A chance to receive well. I’ve felt tempted to return to buy things for my girls or pay bills or even because I didn’t want my husband to think I was being irresponsible, but daily I’m choosing to see it as a reminder of my value my voice and my desires and how much Father delights me. He loves to bless his children. This hard work is braking the chains of our past and past generations and allowing our children to receive what Father designed from the beginning. This is the greatest gift we can give them.

  10. Angelica

    Thanks so much for writing this blog, Christa!! I wrestle a great deal with receiving rides from people and as I don’t see well enough to drive. Tonight the Holy Spirit spoke in needing to accept a ride, even though the person taking me didn’t have a need to go there themselves at all. They took me & picked me up later. My heart broke & I cried; it was so healing. I was reminded of how worthy I am, in a way I was unable to receive before. In terms of spending money on myself, I wrestle with that too. I’m not into namebrand things, but I will buy myself a nice something now and again, especially if it’s good quality I’m after. Also, I took the leap paid for the conference, my plane tickets, and my hotel and I will be going to the Gold Monarch Healing Center in January for the heart sync trainings!! I’m so excited about all God will do!! You’ve already inspired me to have of Rose Garden as you have your Diamond Cave!! Much love!!!

  11. Patcine McAnaul

    Love this! There’s no misinterpreting your heart and point… I had struggled with the very same thing, but I also love fashion and how much better I feel when I’m taking care of myself..(Allowing Him to take care of me). I feel my biggest struggle is getting over what others may think or their judgment that you can’t love & serve Jesus if you wear lululemon and drive a nice car. This post really helps to encourage me to know that God sees my heart and knows my motives and that’s all that matters.. I don’t enjoy mani/pedi’s but I do love a nice new pair of boots every once in awhile! He’s my daddy and He wants to pamper me! Thank you!!

  12. Amen Shannon

    Thank you. I have felt like God has been saying the same thing to me about my car. While I at was at WorshipU this summer I swore I heard Him say “Stop acting like I’m poor. Don’t you believe I CAN and WANT to bless you?”. My heart was filled with so much courage and joy. I told my husband what I had heard and he supported me. However, by the time I got home to my 7 children and 14 year old mini van I had talked myself right out of it.
    Maybe its time to start test driving.

  13. I get your message that you say it’s not a sin to pamper yourself, but I do wonder… what about those of us who truly can’t afford to just go buy nice things/take care of ourselves in this way? For us it would be a sin and selfishness and irresponsible, etc. So, why is it different? To one a sin and to one not? “A bit tired of the 7 year old car” – I’d love to have one that new! It’s a hard message, Yes, I’m a child of the King – just now though I do live like a (1st world) pauper.

    • Christa Black Gifford

      Did you catch this paragraph within the blog:

      (Disclaimer: I am in no way asking anyone to spend outside of their means or budget. But I’ve had the budget for a new bra for years and just never bought one. I’m asking you to gauge how you feel every time money is spent on you. Make sense?)

      This blog isn’t about money. It’s about self-worth. My personal indicator for a lack of self-worth was manifesting in my spending, or lack thereof.

      Say you can’t afford a new car like I can. Then let’s talk about something you can afford….like food. How do you feel when you upgrade your coffee to a Venti instead of a Tall? Do you feel guilt? Do you feel unworthy?

      There were many years that I couldn’t afford new things, and I felt terrible about myself. And there were years that I could afford them and I still felt terrible about myself. My point is….the value issue must be addressed.

      The value of the heart is always the issue. Money, and the way we feel about it, simply reveals the heart. (:

  14. So deeply moved by the way you speak to the Holy Spirit. He is a Lion and a Lamb and this has inspired me to speak to Him like a friend. Thank you Christa for being so unashamedly honest! I need to go buy some journals and pens and value my words enough to start writing again. Lion of Love come breath in me a lion to be.

  15. LauraB1186

    I’ve been having trouble with this too. I have a certain amount of funds given to me through circumstances that I am using to help me start a new life in a new country. I am planning my wedding and finding it hard to say what’s justifiable until I get a job (it’s not easy in a new country). It’s like “do I have a full meal at the wedding or just a afternoon tea? Can I have flowers? Would God be more glorified the less I spend? Doesn’t he like beauty too?” All those thoughts and more run through my head. I have the means, yes, but I struggle with it. I’m learning that I don’t receive well, as I see my fiance’s church family blessing me in so many ways, and they don’t even know me yet. They just love me because they love him, and have been told a lot about me. I appreciate everything, I just feel better when I earn something. I feel more deserving then. I feel wiser then. Any thoughts Christa? BTW: I’m in OZ.

  16. Kiah Dority

    I found your blog by the way of my friend Sarah who was moved by your “Angry”blog post. Man did I need to hear that post and this one. I’m a church girl through and through and struggle with shame but God has been working on me too. In fact today my pre loved Louis Vuitton bag came in the mail. My hubby is giving it for me for Christmas (so I have to wait till then to wear it) and thoughts flash across my mind. Is this purchase justified? Is it right? What about the world!?! I am a giving, sensitive person. I love pouring into others. And you are right. It’s all about the heart. He is in control. So I will wear my new to me LV (after Christmas:)) without shame and keep my security in the One who holds my heart. <3 thank you for sharing! I look forward to reading more.

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