I’ll be honest; Loaded is an uncomfortable book to read. I recently blogged about why it’s important for us to read books that make us uncomfortable. And though you will never get excited to sit down and read this book on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I imagine this is just the sort of book that you do need to read. Whether you’re struggling with money or dealing with those around you who are struggling with money, we live in a society that is filled with debt, confused about budgeting and not sure whether making money is evil or not.
Clearly, in a culture sickened by materialism, gluttony and greed of all kinds, our call to live simply and to share abundantly is more pressing than ever.
I really like how Heather talks about both ends of the spectrum, worrying about making too much money but then also thinking money is evil and keeping yourself in compulsive poverty. It’s very interesting to see how easy it is to slip into one or both of these mentalities at different times in my own life.
While compulsive debtors use money as a drug, “underearners” use lack of money as a drug. Instead of voluntary poverty, our money life is one of compulsive poverty.
My husband and I have lived through times where we had a lot of extra money and we felt bad and weren’t sure if we should give all of it away. We’ve also had times where income dramatically dropped and we were worried that we couldn’t cover our regular bills and keep tithing.
Spirituality and money don’t obey separate laws: across the board fear contracts; love expands. Underearning is toward isolation; authentic simplicity is toward community. Self-deprivation is toward power and control; authentic “paring down” is toward surrender. Compulsive poverty is toward chaos; authentic spirituality is toward healthy manageability.
And at the heart of all good books that teach to be better is love. Heather helps us understand that the love of money or the warped love of poverty both keep us from Christ. The book has some really interesting and powerful exercises that she leads you through. I was surprised at how insightful the questions were and how I had never been asked many of these questions before, which unusual for a chronic self-help book reader like myself. Some of the questions are around resentment and it’s surprising how many of my resentments and it up being about money somehow.
Any kind of fear is against love—and when we’re most in fear, we’re least able to give. We want to be in communion with reality, because to be in communion with reality helps everyone, everywhere: past, present, and to come. We want to participate in the victory of love over fear.
Just like you can’t look at a drug addict and give them a book about how harmful it is to do drugs, I imagine if there are people in your life who suffer from chasing poverty or living in this vicious cycle, they’re not going to be willing to read this book just because you gave it to them. Rather, if you have people in your life who are like that, and I know I certainly do, I think reading this book will help give you some compassion and mercy for them and realize that it’s more of a sickness than we think.
In many ways I think we offer more mercy to alcoholics than we do people who make bad money choices. Just work harder and spend less, we think. But really, that’s not what’s going on.
…our culture does not do community well, and LA in particular does not do community well. Then again, the problem—I can only speak for myself—may be pride. To admit “I’m a grown woman or man and I can’t stop watching Internet porn, or scarfing Vicodin, or squirreling away every spare penny” requires a terrible vulnerability. To ask for help, invite people in, or show up in any way beyond our immediate comfort zone means taking an extreme risk.
There’s a harshness to this book but I think it’s necessary. I appreciate that Heather hasn’t sugar-coated the truth about what we’re going through. Americans need to wake up about money. We are creating some serious problems not only with our budget but with our soul. And sooner or later we’re going to wake up and find that it’s too late. We need to turn our hearts to Christ, fill our days with love, and learn to live in God’s economy.
Hang in until the end. Loaded really ends on a positive note that will leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle your dreams!
The gifts aren’t “out there;” the gifts are inside us. The goal isn’t to attract people and money to us; the goal is to be us. We don’t want to deprive ourselves, but let’s also be clear that we can lead rich, full, absorbing, useful lives without owning a house, a new car, or a closet full of clothes.
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Copyright 2016 Sterling Jaquith