debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!


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Misplaced Faith

I’m thrilled to have Kirsten from Indebted and in Debt for a guest post today.  Kirsten writes on something I’ve been struggling with.  Faith that God will provide enough for me so that I can let go of my possessions and spend my time on pursuing the minimalist lifestyle I so badly desire.

Pardon the Mess

I don’t do well with messes. Clutter in my house makes my brain feel cluttered. I can’t think with messes around; I feel antsy, ill-at-ease, on edge. We did ok with controlling clutter until we had kiddo #1, but as the parents among the readers surely know, kids breed clutter. And they spread that clutter everywhere, no matter how much you attempt to stem the tide.

While I was on maternity leave with my second baby (just a few months ago), a friend shared an article on Facebook from a successful blogger who had written about taking away her children’s toys. She noticed an improvement in their behavior – they seemed more focused. And of course things were neater. Boy, that sounded nice.

Decluttering Machine

As I looked around my clutter-stricken house, where I was tripping over small toys (newborn in hand!) and cursing my eldest’s “junk”, I had an aha! moment (hi, Oprah!). I could also get rid of the bulk of her toys or, at the very least, put her toys in rotation.

faith-misplaced

One day worth of mess on maternity leave

I write a private blog for our families, since they live so far away, and I even went so far as to post there “stop sending toys” – said the kids wouldn’t get them. I even started collecting a few toys a day that were “junk” and tossing them. I started off strong.

Then I just sort of stopped…

Lack of Faith

The thing is, both my husband and I lived through some lean times as children. We remember doing without. We went off to college (borrowing our souls to do it) and planned for a better future for our children with our high-falutin’ degrees.

Now that we’ve burned through any sort of disposable money that we had, I think we are scared that we’ve reached the end, that there will be no more “stuff” and that our children will be left to do without like we did when we were children.

No, I didn’t have brand name clothes and I was often in ill-fitting hand-me-downs, but I always had clothes. I always had a roof over my head and never once were our utilities shut off. We ate fine. Mr. Indebted went through tighter spots, but even then, he was always OK.

In comparison, our kids have a roof, air conditioning and heat, plenty of food to eat, and through the generosity of family, nice clothes to wear. They do not lack for anything. Why am I so worried that they will?

I’ve come to realize that the problem isn’t the stuff we jam into the closets. The problem is in my soul.

God has provided for our needs in astounding fashion. But I lack the faith that God will continue to provide. I cling to those jeans because I’m scared they are the last pair of jeans I’ll ever own, never mind they don’t fit. I cling to my worn out running shoes just in case. I cling to my ratty sheets because I may never have another set.

An Exercise in Faith

God didn’t tell me He’d give me everything I ever wanted. But He has promised to take care of me and I realized I need to let Him. I realized I need to turn loose of “stuff” to make more room for Him in my heart and for Him to work wonders in my life.

I’ve started off slow. The first day, I chose one thing to say goodbye to (symbolically, a maternity / nursing dress). The next day, two. I’ve been going for a week now, and I gave up seven things today for a total of 28 things (which just happens to be my lucky number). And you know what? I feel lighter, less worried about tomorrow, and less cluttered in my closets, my brain, and in my soul.

faith-that-God-will-provide

There’s room to breathe. There’s room to let God work.

Do you feel cluttered where you live? Have you ever tried to declutter? If so, did you take baby steps, or just fly through the house?

Indebted-Moms-faithKirsten blogs semi-anonymously at Indebtedmom.com, discussing her faith and family’s large student loan burden, which has cost her an opportunity at being a stay-at-home mom.  Kirsten is an actual rocket scientist who actually doesn’t know a lot of things people think rocket scientists should know. She loves lists, coffee, and NASCAR, but not necessarily in that order.

Endnotes:

I had the highest traffic Monday when my guest post was published at Financial Samurai.  448 views baby!  OK, when I hear people talk about 20,000 views, this is nothing but it’s big for me and it’s my first so I’ll take it all day long!

I haven’t been doing blogger Carnivals lately but I had submitted to one (twice evidently – you’ll see the same post listed two times!) before I moved my blog to self-hosted and I guess it only runs once a month, even thought it’s listed as weekly in the Blogger Carnival site.  Consequently, I never got a pingback on this site, but happened to come across the Carnival and saw my post so I’m linking back here, which I understand is good carnival etiquette.

How to Blog Carnival – The Benefits of Cloud Software Edition

Do you enter blogger carnivals?  Why or why not?

This post has been linked up to
and of Friday Jet Fuel #7

 


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My New Enlightenment Since Acknowledging our Debt Crisis

ImageChef.com-debt-crisisMy Come to Jesus Moment was in March 2012 (aka D-Day).  I hesitate to use that phrase, because I am quite spiritual and don’t like to use the Lord’s name in vain.  However, Brett Nelson, a contributor at Forbes wrote:

CTJMs, we understand, are all about focus, clarity, intention and gravity—in other words, the very stuff that, if consistently mustered, would wipe CTJMs from the schedule.

He suggests ways to avoid CTJM’s including establishing milestones, embracing conflict, defining priorities and avoiding surprises.  Well that is really is what good personal finance management is all about, minus the embracing conflict thingy.

But wait!  When I think about how we got here, part of it was because we did not embrace conflict.  We avoided it like the plague.  We placated ourselves with shopping trips, one up-ing each other with purchases (well he bought that, so now I’m going to buy this) and saying “I deserve” when we were tired or stressed or just plain frustrated with life.

Laurie from The Frugal Farmer wrote on Debt Roundup What Do You Really Deserve?  I identified so much with that post.   All I wanted was peace, freedom and security but I was looking in all the wrong places.

I defended my spending habits as stress relief from a busy lifestyle that I had created by not prioritizing. I absconded from my role as joint financial steward justifying it in my mind that I was the higher income earner and worked long hours, so that was the ‘least he could do’.  I looked for peace a few too many times at the bottom of a bottle, weary after a long day or fretting about other family stresses.

So now what have I done to (help to) turn things around?

  • I don’t do things that are in conflict with our goals ~ this includes unplanned spending, shirking responsibilities in managing our finances.  I’ve even started grocery shopping (for deals) and cooking a little more which is crazy (for me).
  • I speak up, instead of burying my head in the sand, if I think things are going astray.  Better to have these small difficult conversations straight away, that are actually quite insignificant compared to the ones we had around D-Day.
  • I practice living in the moment – from “The Power of Now” by Eckhardt Tolle.  This helps keep me from getting down about our debt situation and worries about family members.
  • I try to set an example and communicate within our household about ideas we could do to save money and not waste.  It appears I am the most frugal person in the house now, turning off lights, conserving gas etc. It used to be The Irishman.  Go figure.
  • I’m discussing my new frugal philosophy and sharing tips and tricks, budget and amortization spreadsheets and cool posts with my adult children.  I could bear great guilt about how I have not set a good example for them but I know guilt is a wasted emotion.  Instead I am trying to help them as much as I can with the new smarter ‘me’ and an excel file for any situation up my sleeve!
  • I’m a cheap date LOL.  Visiting my grandson on a weeknight, is now Nama’s favourite night out.  Otherwise it’s history channel or just being side-by-side, both on our computers.  A beer on Friday night, unless we splurge on a champagne Friday which means bubbly in the bathtub.

So I think Jesus is helping me, and smiling, when I say my new frugal enlightenment instances are affectionately called “Come to Nama” moments.
Photobucket.com:  tailz2006

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