By Faith Umoh
Most people hate wearing uniforms to school. However, I was one of the few who loved it because deep inside I knew my dad would not take me shopping. My Nigerian father literally pinched every penny he had because he supported me, my two sisters and my family in Nigeria. Thus, I did not grow up as your average American girl. My dad barely gave me money to go out with friends so I did the next best thing with my time – sports. I played three sports: volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Each of the sports kept me busy all year and during the weekends. Therefore, wearing a uniform did not completely bother me, because my life growing up was not about fashion. It was about getting shirts from tournaments to wear to practice and getting new uniforms every two-to-three years.
So, by the time I graduated from high school, I was sad that I could not wear uniforms to college. At age 18, I literally had enough non-uniform clothes to fit into one dresser drawer. I honestly, had no clothes. Later that summer, I got a new job and started using that money to buy clothes. I kept telling myself, “I need to build my wardrobe, so it is okay if I spend money.” Also, I was coming to the University of Florida so I wanted to come in as this intelligent beautiful young lady who dressed classy.
When I started school, I took out a loan to pay for the costs. I had about $1,000 leftover after all my school fees were paid and thought to myself, “I’m rich!” I started doing $100-shopping bouts at the mall just because I believed I needed to build my wardrobe for the winter, since I did not have winter apparel. Then, summer came and I needed to build my summer wardrobe. Additionally, I wanted to transform my whole wardrobe into dresses. I justified all my shopping as a necessity, which led to my debit card being declined twice. I actually over drafted about four times at one point, and my card got declined again. I owed Wachovia hundreds of dollars. I over drafted again a couple of months later all because I hated looking at my bank account to check how much I had left. I had the false assumption that I could spend and just keep track of funds in my head. This was the same head that kept telling me I needed to buy more and more. Luckily, my cousin bailed me out of the first overdraft, and my mentor bailed me out of the second one, because my father would not help. After the second overdraft, I knew I had a problem and that I needed to slow down. I had so many clothes and shoes in my closet that even to this day, I still have not worn everything.
I had to hit “debt bottom” before I could hear the Holy Spirit’s voice speak sense to me, and give me the fruit of self-control towards shopping. All of this happened in one year. Yet now, I can boast in the Holy Spirit and say that one year later I have been to the mall only two or three times. I went both times with a purpose. I got in and got out!
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” — 2 Peter 1:6-8
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galations 5:22-23
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” –1 John 2:15-17
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