By: Julie Todd
T’was weeks before her tax refund and there, sitting on the couch….she was pondering and listing what needed thrown out. “I’ll get new this and new that….oh YES and THAT! Then we’ll see what’s left and get THAT for the cat!” She was so excited as her list grew and grew, but little did she know that it wasn’t the smart thing to do. One day, a miracle happened and filled her mind with relief…”It’s not all of these THINGS we need…good grief!” With a new vision and goals, wisdom began to sprout and she believed money couldn’t buy what’s most important, no doubt.
One of our goals for our family this year is financial freedom. I think this is a very common goal that looks different for every family. For us, financial freedom means:
- No debt
- A growing savings/emergency fund
- Able to give beyond 10% of our income
- Continuing to become as self-sufficient as possible. i.e. Growing what food we can, canning food, fishing/hunting, etc.
During this most wonderful time of the year, that we call, tax season, Chris and I always make a list of how we intend to use this money. The list is always long: Tithes and giving, savings, pay down debts/bills, eye appointments, vet visits, household needs, vehicle repairs, home school needs, etc, etc, etc!
Then of course, we have our wants, because you know, we are human: Plan an anniversary activity for Chris and I, phone upgrades, YMCA membership for the family, eating out so Mom doesn’t have to cook, spoil the kids a little, some Pioneer Woman products for Mom, tools for Dad, etc, etc, etc!
This year, I would like to be content with taking care of the needs and doing as few of the wants as I can. I consider the YMCA membership more of a need than a want. This will allow for different activities for the family and making memories. Tools for Dad is pretty important so he can be self-sufficient in fixing what we have without having to borrow from others. This also gives us the opportunity to be able to bless others who are in need of help. I don’t think that I am willing to give up an anniversary date either. As Drena was talking about last week, it is important for us to spend that time together; however; we can do it as frugally as possible.
So, what does the Bible say about money and being good stewards of our finances? “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21. I used to want a lot of things. I wanted the big house and all that would fill a big house. These days, I’m grateful to have just enough room. “Big”, means more to clean and take care of. I don’t place value on having the latest up to date such and such. I place value on things that have a purpose and can help our home and the people in it, function and grow.
I love being able to give to the church and to others. However; I cannot say I have completely surrendered our finances to God in this area. During lean times, I still struggle with giving that 10%. I have not put my complete trust in God that he will do as He has promised. But, he does promise that if we do trust Him in this, He will bless us and bless us abundantly. ” ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’ ” Malachi 3:10. I believe that this is a common area of struggle. It is hard for me to give with a happy heart that pleases God, when I know we need that money. It is hard for me to just know that God will get us through and we will come out even better because He will bless us so much. I know it in my heart, but I don’t know it in that anxious human brain. This year, I would really like to grow in this area and live on my faith and not the amount of dollars in my wallet.
The Bible says much, much more about money. My prayer is that, as we go on through the years, we will have wisdom with our finances and faith in the lean times. I pray that we will be able to give beyond what we ever imagined we would be able to give. I pray that our trust in God, overpowers any doubts the enemy throws at us. I pray that my children learn that things and money are temporary and that our treasures are the people around us and the times we share together.
Check out the free budgeting printable attached! God bless!