I was in a situation this weekend where I watched someone being presented with a potential purchase and the monthly payments that had been approved for them. The person looked at the numbers and said they really couldn’t afford that payment. Essentially the salesperson said that the credit was good, the bank had approved, and all they had to do was say yes. The potential buyer said no, thanked them for their time, and walked away. Why? Because he walked in with a standard and no matter what the businessperson said was possible, if it didn’t hit the buyer’s standard that he had walked in with, it wasn’t going to happen. That would have been an entirely different ending if that person had not walked in with a standard and had allowed the seller to set it for them on the spot. Potentially, years of regret were averted.
I remember several years ago, my wife and I had decided it was time to upgrade the living room and dining furniture. We went in to a furniture store, chose what we liked that we knew we could afford, and started closing the deal with the salesman, who was a very nice, older gentleman. He told me about their zero percent for three years credit card deal. Now, I hate debt but when I can keep the money in the savings account and use someone’s else’s money for zero for that long, I’ll do that every time. I know how that game works but I just make sure the payments are made on time and in time to pay off the balance by the date.
When I agreed to get the card, the salesman came back a few minutes later and said, “Wow, congratulations, Mr. Noland, you’re approved for a credit limit of $X,XXX. You can easily increase what you and your wife want to purchase tonight.” I smiled and said, “Well, thanks but I set my own credit limit. In fact, the whole reason you can give me that number you just did is because I set my own.” He laughed uncomfortably and we kept the purchase the same.
In this crazy culture we live in, there are so many people, businesses, organizations, governments, and circumstances that will gladly set your standards and limits for you. But as soon as we hand that God-given privilege over to someone else, we lose. Every time.
A middle school boy allows his peers to set his standard for the language he will use.
A high school girl allows her boyfriend to set her sexual limits.
Young parents allow the media to set the standards for their kids.
A businessman allows his boss to set, not only his business principles but his personal standards.
A middle-aged woman allows social media to set her standards.
From finances to ethics to relationships, we can get lazy, intimidated, and fearful of standing up for what we know is right and best for our own lives.
So the question for today: Is there anywhere you are allowing someone else to set your limits or your standards for you? If the answer is yes, then get a plan for taking it back and making it right.
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.” —Matthew 7:24-25 MSG