What is perception? Simply put, perception is how you view something or someone. Is perception different from fact? What does all of this have to do with stewardship anyway? And maybe you are wondering why there is a picture of a chandelier on a blog about stewardship? Well, I love analogies, metaphors and good stories that bring home a point. So today I'm going to use my dining room chandelier to bring home a point about perception. Over 2 years ago I purchased my chandelier. I had been eye balling this chandelier for almost a year waiting for the right time and extra money. Finally, right before December, the price dropped 50%, of course this was my Christmas gift to myself from myself.
I loved this chandelier and it was as beautiful in person as it was online. My husband installed it and after about a year he mentioned to me that it needed to be cleaned. I looked at it as I did everyday and did not notice anything. In fact, to me, the chandelier looked just as good and shiny as it did the day he put it up. I did not think about it again, after all who has time to clean a chandelier, especially if it was not dirty.
One day I was just curious, so I took a clean, wet, cloth and put a little soap on it and cleaned one crystal. To my surprise, the crystal was dusty! Not only was it dusty but it was dull and had grime. I could not believe my eyes...how did my beautiful chandelier look like this?
So what is my point? My husband told me the chandelier needed to be cleaned, however, I looked at it and my perception was that it still looked new and as shiny as it did a year ago. It was not until I actually investigated myself and found the facts. The facts were that the chandelier was dusty and dull and in need of serious cleaning. Of course I had to clean each crystal one at a time, and as you can see, it was a lot of crystals. It was then that I saw the big difference between the clean ones and the dusty ones. Finally, my chandelier looked shiny and beautiful again.
I used my chandelier because often times we don't really see things the way they are, but rather see them the way we think they should be or used to be. When was the last time you took a good look at your stewardship? How are you handling your bills, creditors? Are you using your money wisely? A good way to match perception with facts is to look at your checkbook or account balance. Look at your bill statements. Look at your receipts. What do all of these say? Instead of assuming, sit down and take a good look at how you're spending your finances and what you have to show for it. Are you ruling your money or is it ruling you?
Stewardship requires you to look at your finances and see the facts. Once you see the facts, you can move forward in the right direction and if need be, start cleaning things up. Just like the crystals, take it one at a time. Take a good, hard look, you never know what you'll find!
Next: How to track your spending. (Accountability)
Remember. "True empowerment comes through stewardship"