I feel like budgeting is something that is always talked about with high esteem. It is something that is sought after, and it is something that grown up, wise people do. When I decided to stay home with Lillian, I went from having a job with a decent salary to nothing. I went from getting my bi-weekly deposit to an allowance from my husband. I am not complaining, I am merely stating that life changed big time. The need for budgeting hit us almost instantly, and it wasn’t an option.
Budgeting is hard. It is very revealing of my selfishness that I try and bury deep down. Budgeting often forces me to be humble. It often makes me realize how much of what I “want” is truly luxury and unnecessary.
When Christmas came last year, I was in a fit over the fact that for the first time in years I would not be able to give people what I wanted. I felt like I had to explain to everyone why I could not buy them fancy things.
When we have guests in town, I want to be able to run over to Whole Foods and pick up a nice wine, cheese, bouquet of flowers, and chocolates for them. I want to lavish the people in my life with little gifts of love.
I have found that the struggle most lies in my contentment. I find that I struggle with budgeting most when I feel discontent with my relationships, with what I have been so graciously given, or with myself in general. When I truly look around I realize I have all I need. I am blessed to have a healthy and beautiful family that I adore, a husband who works hard for me so I can stay home and raise my daughter, and a home over our head. We eat three healthy, home cooked meals a day. We get to eat dinner out a couple times a month, which is really nice. We also host a meal or two here and there for friends and family, and do our best to make something home made and delicious.
My discontentment comes lurking in when I get a sudden call from a friend who wants to grab sushi and happy hour, or when I am invited to a long weekend away in a hotel that might cost me my entire month allowance. For some reason I struggle to tell people I cannot afford to do these things right now in my life. I struggle to admit that I am not in a place to live glamorously. I struggle to be content with where I am at.
My pride comes poking out of me and I want to be able to go buy a new outfit, or spend $50 over dinner and drinks with an old friend.
I have all I need. More than what I need. Even as I type this I am humbled by my pride and selfishness in my response to budgeting.
Living simply is beautiful. Budgeting is a good thing. It is a way to love my family and ensure that I am putting them first. Not saying “yes” to every offer is wise. Knowing our needs is important.
I just struggle in the grey area of being too frugal and greedy and sticking to my plan and wanting to be free with my money and generous. The area gets all muddy and icky, and my heart gets that way in the process, too.
Why do I need to buy people things in order to feel good about my relationship with them? The people who have most profoundly impacted me did so with their presence, their love, time and affection. They never bought my love. They were generous with their heart.
If you are feeling like me, a little worn with trying to stick to the course of budgeting, please know you are not alone! It is a difficult path to take in an age of instant gratification. I often feel the pressure coming down on me to try and “keep up with the Jones'”.
These verses get me back on the right path. They remind me of what is important, and what is fleeting. They remind me where to set my mind. These truths anchor me. Money does not buy happiness, and the more we have the more we want. I have all I need. Contentment is what I seek.
He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken down city without a wall.
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry of facing either plenty of poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.
Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.