on budgeting, the luck of the irish, and the thesis from (but not about) hades

23 03 2011

BUDGETING:

My budget is tight.  I mean, I have 26¢ to my name right now.   For about a month I was really perturbed with the big Guy Upstairs for not miraculously providing  me with some extra income.  I mean, seriously, if God was so “all-knowing” couldn’t he tell my car was about to cost me $600???  Well, the truth is, I have car trouble.  I should have been prepared for a car expense.  A big one happens about once a year and I never plan for it.  And my lack of planning somehow gets twisted into God’s lack of concern. 

And the truth is, I made some foolish decisions and wound up in debt.  And the truth is, I chose to go to expensive schools and sign the dotted line for those overwhelming loans.  I’m not sure God is responsible for much of this…

Anyway, the past week or so, I’ve come to some peace about it.  I finally talked to my small group pastors and owned up to all the debt, all the bad judgment, and all the anxiety my finances were causing.   We started a “get Jill out of debt” game plan, and my anxiety levels dropped about 92% immediately. 

I’ve learned a few things during this time that I’m truly grateful for:
1. discipline:  budgeting requires intense discipline.  I cannot buy anything I want.  I have to think about what groceries I will actually use and only buy those.  I have to be intentional about gift-giving.  I have to plan for purchases.  Budgeting requires my brain be engaged in the bill paying. 

2. the difference between needs and wants: buh-bye netflix.  buh-bye air conditioning whenever I get even slightly warm.  buh-bye supply of chocolate that is large enough to sustain me for several months if I ever had to move underground.  buh-bye new purse (a tear just rolled down my cheek).  buh-bye afternoon 7-11 big gulp run.  It’s hard letting go of some of my luxuries.  I’m re-prioritizing, and, the fact is, I’d much rather have groceries than have netflix.  I’d much rather have gas in my car than a new purse.  I’d much rather save the money to build my underground bunker than have chocolate with which to stock it!

3. I’m not doing this alone.  Part of why I was so angry is the injustice of being a well-educated woman who barely makes ends meet.  Adding insult to injury, I was making those ends meet all by myself.  I’m not married.  Don’t even have a boyfriend. I don’t have a roommate.  I pay 100% of all my expenses.  After talking with my pastors, I realized that they’re in this with me.  No, they aren’t going to pay half my rent.  No, they aren’t going to fill my gas tank.  BUT, they offered me a part-time job to help generate some extra income to pay off some debt.  Jessica even brought me some cereal and black beans to help my grocery budget (I’m not sure she knows how amazing of a blessing that was).  Most importantly, they listened and helped me strategize.  They helped calm me when my emotions regarding my budget were overwhelming. 

God wasn’t ignoring all my desperate pleading for help.  He wasn’t overlooking my sleepless nights.  He wasn’t disregarding how physically sick I had made myself by worrying.  He was leading me to new levels of relationship.  He was teaching me to trust Ryan and Jessica in ways that I’m not comfortable trusting.  He was teaching me to give despite having nothing to give.  He was teaching me to let someone else carry my burdens and to rest in that provision. 

I’m only starting to learn this.  And, no doubt, I will have to learn these lessons over and over again.  But I know God has started this work in me and that it will be completed 🙂

THE LUCK OF THE IRISH:

I never win anything.  I need to kiss the Blarney Stone or something…

THESIS FROM (BUT NOT ABOUT) HADES

My thesis is due 39 days from now.  HOLY CRAP!  How is it due already?  Why isn’t it done already?  Geez, loiuse.  I’ve got around 25 pages and only about 60 more to go.  I know I can do this.  I know I WILL do this.  I am going to have to be crazy obsessed with it for the next month.  So, unless I work with you, go to church with you, or work out with you, I’m going to be MIA until May 1.  Then I’m going to be a nervous wreck waiting for my marks to come back.   Hopefully by the end of the summer, I will hold my actual MA in Religion degree in my hand.  What a glorious day that will be. 

Then it’s on to a PhD????????????? 

peace

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