You wake up in the morning, you're groggy and reaching for your first cup of coffee ((or tea, like me)). As you fumble through the kitchen you cannot find a place to set down your cup and mix it up all delicious-like; you manage. Scrambling through breakfast and getting kids out the door for school. As you continue on with your day, you want to take a shower, but there are no more towels. Your office space is cluttered with miscellaneous who knows what that needs sorting - receipts, permissions slips ((oops!)), recipes, project ideas, lists.... Your kitchen table is cluttered with yesterday's project and this mornings breakfast. All you want to do is climb back in bed and enjoy the peaceful coziness of your bed, but when you walk back into your room you notice that it is just as crazy as everywhere else in the house.
Does this sound familiar to you? I think we all let the chaos of life control us, at least from time to time. Hear the good news, people, ((besides the gospel; that's THE good news)):
it does not have to be this way!
It is possible to take control of your life. Can I get an "Amen!"? Wooh! Everyone is different. Their schedules, their homes, their lifestyles, their needs and desires, their personalities. It is this that makes us all so wonderful, ((God is good, isn't He?)) But that is also what makes this kind of tricky. What works for me, may not work for you. However, I hope that my experiences and experiments can inspire and help encourage you to embark on your own journey of empowerment! Say, "Yes, yes I can do this!"
There are many factors that go into organizing your life, but for my family, step one absolutely must be organizing our financial lives. I love my parents to death, and yes they did show me the value of the dollar but they left me in a position of naivety when it comes to the real world on money. My husband came from his own background with his own issues ((bless his family)) so throw us together and we were a ticking time bomb of 'what the heck just happened??' No one ever showed me how to balance a check book ((simple, right?)) I mean, I get it. You have a starting balance, you spend-you subtract, you earn-you add. However the importance of knowing exactly, and I mean exactly what was going on in those numbers was never taught or maybe just never understood on my part. Well. Oops. Let's try again....
The way that my husband and I are going to embark on this portion of the journey is with Dave Ramsey's, Financial Peace concept. I rented the book, The Total Money Makeover by Ramsey from my local library and I have some forms that my father-in-law shared with me from the Financial Peace University when he went through the program. A lot of churches host FPU sessions, which are 9 weeks long. I have not been personally ((hence the rented book and borrowed worksheets)) but what I have seen in this is amazing. This man became a millionaire from nothing twice. ((I will listen for a moment...)) But what really matters is this, he is not afraid to tell the truth. He is not afraid to tell you straight up. Yes, having debt sucks. Yes, it is no fun to be broke. Yes, it is stressful. But what should we do if we don't like what is going on? Do something to change it!! My church is considering doing a FPU session and if they do, even after doing this mock-run on my own, I will definitely sign-up for the real deal!
The website, www.daveramsey.com, has links to find a class near you, some free tools/downloads, as well as some tips and pointers. It is definitely a great starting point! My favorite concept so far is the motto of the book, The Total Money Makeover, which is listed at the bottom of every page and is a wonderful reminder and even a good prayer starter:
"If you will live like no one else,
later you can live like no one else"2
If you can sacrifice now and live like no one else is willing to, later, you can live like no one else can. Take these words and pray about them. How is God calling you this week? What is He seeking in you?
"Keep your life free from love of money,
and be content with what you have,
for he has said,
I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5, ESV
1. James, Andre C. End of the road for the Benjamin. 8 Oct 2010. http://digitaljournal.com/image/77542. Web. 26 Sept 2013.
2. Ramsey, Dave. The Total Money Makeover. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2003. Print.