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Extravagance. Just saying the word right now seems borderline reckless.

In this climate of uncertainty, our thoughts and conversations are permeated with words like frugal, economize, restrict, and ration.

We should be tightening our belts, the news admonishes us on an hourly loop. So, even as we’re setting up our home office and our kids’ homeschool nooks, we’ve got one eye on our storehouse of essentials. We are constantly assessing and dividing: need vs. want. And, we’re practicing restraint like the Karate Kid preparing for his match with Cobra Kai.

So, if we’re doing this lockdown thing so right, why does sticking to our eating plan feel like it’s going so wrong?

It’s because we have eliminated extravagance. And, believe it or not, extravagance at this time can actually provide some balance.

Now, before you give your accountant a migraine, hear me out. Extravagance does not require your wallet. Of course, the word, extravagance, conjures images of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” with Robin Leach sipping champagne on a yacht. But, extravagance just means a nonessential frill which provides a measure of comfort and self-indulgence. It’s a treat. It’s a bit of luxury. And, it will provide some much-needed balance.

Because, the truth is, enjoyment has intrinsic value. It keeps our emotions strong and healthy. And, emotions are not a bad thing. God gave us emotions. While we must not allow them to rule us, denying their existence is equally dangerous.

Life may look a lot different right now. But, one thing remains the same: you cannot labor through the day without any expectation of enjoying the fruit of that labor. Treating yourself is not wasteful, it’s an investment in your mental health.

Of course, treats are different for every person. Maybe taking a nap or watching a movie in the middle of the afternoon would feel extravagant. For other people, eating meals on the dishes normally reserved for special occasions would feel luxurious.

Taking time for living room dance parties is an extravagance for me. I also enjoy foot baths, card games, wearing my best jewelry to fold laundry, and watching the birds from the comfort of my recliner.

This week, I pray you’re enjoying conversations with loved ones, fresh air, and hearty laughs, as often as you’re washing your hands. Balancing concern with joy can’t wait for the world to settle down. It’s essential.

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