Sunday, February 21, 2010

Disciplines & Hurricanes

What a day, what a day!

I spent most of the day with my good friend Indefish, eating good food (yay Red Twig!), perusing bookstores searching for Browning and his ilk, antiquing, and worshipping in the evening. A very fun, very wonderful day!

But my mind has been heavy, recently, on something which I wish didn't matter but turns out it does, and that's money.

Ah, money. Money and I have always had a fascinating relationship. My parents happen to be very, very good with money and have always tried to instill in me a responsibility with it, too. I always label myself "cheap" and "frugal" and shop at thrift stores and think I'm so good at handling money.

But the truth is that I stink with money. I am truly blessed to be working at the moment, but my paychecks tend to disappear into those thrift stores, coffeeshops, bookstores...anywhere there's something neat to bring home.

So when it started to become clear that my car--the car I learned to drive in and have been comfortably driving for a long time--was starting to become more trouble than it was worth, I started to panic. Saving up for a new (used) car seemed miles away.

Tonight, I received some information from my parents that put the idea of saving in a more reachable light, and I feel hope again that I won't go broke from saving!

Tonight, I wrote my very first realistic budget.

It's rudimentary, but it's designed to keep me from needlessly spending. It's designed to keep me accountable to myself, teaching me self-control. And with a lot of prayer, I know I can succeed.

Discipline is such a good thing that gets such a bad rep. In any part of life we KNOW that discipline is good for us, and yet we shy away from the very idea. As we embark on the Lenten season, my discipline for Lent is going to be managing my money responsibly. Because money, thus far, has drawn me further from the Lord than I would ever want to be. I convince myself that spending money will give me pleasure, and then I sink into the depths of guilt and anger when spending doesn't work. When it just makes me feel like a failure. And anytime I'm those pits of unhappiness, God is the furthest thing from my mind.

There are so money things I want to do with my life. I would like to travel some more, take more classes in things that interest me, maybe learn a few more instruments or a new language. And the unfortunate part is that money is required in all of those things. But I can build myself up to financial security. I know I can. I'm starting relatively young, and I know that being responsible with my money is an attainable goal.

I am giving the control of my money to the God whose timing is perfect, who knows what's best for me, and who is standing by to help me. It will take a lot of work on my part, but I know it will be so worth it to come out of this feeling comfortable with my finances and having a fair degree of self-control to my name.

I'm currently sitting in the glow of a little red kerosene lantern as I write this to you. It was $15 I spent at the antique store today. Perhaps the last $15 spent in a moment of impulsiveness, at least for a little while. But the glow is a nice, homey reminder of what I've decided to do.

-The GLS

PS: Kerosene stinks when it burns. But hurricane lamps are totally worth it.

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