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About the Writer:

Ingenuity, creativity, persistence and gentleness are just a few characteristics of this faithful entrepreneur. Charlotte brings life and love to her work, her writing and to her purpose in life: to serve God with everything she does. As a wife, mother, teacher, journalist and business leader, Charlotte has much to share.


Building Strong Character - Sacrifice

by Charlotte Petty

I have been accused of being materialistic because I run The Spanish Lake Word and teach part time. I consider myself blessed that I have the energy to do what I do and enjoy both, despite that either pays much. The paper is a service to the community, not just a business undertaking and teaching is a blessing to students. It is a blessing to have choices.

To test myself I took on a yearlong, you might call it a shopping fast, starting in December 2004. Not that I thought I was particularly materialistic but sometimes we don’t see things in ourselves. So I created this challenge. I didn’t buy anything for a year that I didn’t absolutely need. I bought things for others but not for myself until December 2005.

Over 2005 I learned some things and noticed some things that I didn’t pay attention to before. Yes, some times things and the work it takes to accumulate them can be a distractions to focusing on more important things like service in our community or churches. More clothes are just that much more to wash, dry clean and organize from season to season. Too many collectibles large or small just require that much more dusting and maintaining. Focusing on family I don’t think I’ve ever had an issue with and I pray I never do. This I feel particularly good about.

During 2005 I still made trips to various malls and discount stores for necessities for myself and other things for family. I could not totally delete trips to the mall from my life with a teenage daughter. Some would call that cruel and unusual punishment. This was my undertaking not hers, as she often reminded me.

I learned I can handle delayed gratification well. I don’t mind window shopping. I’ve had friends through the years who hated window shopping. It has never bothered me and maybe this is where my faith comes in. If its something I really desire and within reason eventually the Lord will bless me and sometimes even when it at first doesn’t seem within reason; and if I don’t get it that too is alright. I’m happy with the blessings God has given me.

It is interesting that I choose 2005 as the year to do this. A year that opened with the tsunami hitting on the other side of the world, hurricanes, mud slides, earthquakes, wild fires and threats of pandemics; tragedy after tragedy where massive numbers of people died and lost all their possessions, both necessities and luxuries.

I’ve been writing in my journal for more than 10 years, five things each day for which I am grateful. This keeps me grounded and is also praise to God for his blessings. I pray I never lose this good habit. This has increased my desire to constantly improve my own character and to stay in God’s will. It is in line with God’s plan as Proverbs 21:3 says, “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Being a good person is most important. Jesus has already paid the price of sacrifice. (Ephesians 5:2) Or as Hebrews 13:15-16 says “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Yes, I pray, I give, I serve and try to live as a person of character and as God leads me. It is alright to have a fruitful life, as long as we keep it in the right perspective. This too is a gift from God. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him. Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them….” Matthew 7:11.

Running the paper and teaching I pray continues to be a blessing to others. I’ve had readers and students tell me so. Doing what I do sometimes is a sacrifice but I enjoy it. Just as Hebrews 13:16 says, “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” My work is a sharing of the abilities God has given me.

I ask God often, “What should I be doing? I believe He has other plans for me in the future, and I’ll stop when He says, “Go do something else.”


Copyright © January 2006 - Charlotte Petty, All rights reserved.


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