Contentment is: Realizing God has already given me everything I need to be happy. (This definition is from Crossroads of Character, one of my favorite books to teach our Littles godly character traits)
Let’s face it. Most of us want more income and a few things “we’d really like to have”. Today. I’m not talking about goals here, just desires.
But what if I told you it’s not about the amount of money you have, but what you chose to do with it that counts.
And our choices are a direct reflection of our values and priorities.
Have you (or a friend of yours) ever been on a missions trip to a less developed area of the world and upon returning home, you realize how happy and generous those folks were? Even when they have considerably less money and stuff than you? What do they value? Why are they so happy? And yet, the U.S. is now considered one of the the top 2 most depressed countries in the world!
When we started on our journey to Financial Peace, I had to come to grips with the fact that I was never happy. There was NO contentment. No area of my life lived up to my expectations! So, obviously, I had to realize my expectations were not aligned to God’s design.
Did I really believe God loved me and was taking good care of me? Or would I continue to gripe about the perceived shortage of money? Not to mention the pressure Brad must have felt by my constant drip drip drip. I’ve come a long way baby!
And it wasn’t an epiphany that took hold in a fortnight. I think it’s been a 4-year process that has changed my outlook on pretty much everything. Even relationships have blossomed because I quit putting expectations on people to make me happy.
The “B” word… Budget
So, when it came to our finances, the first thing that showed my lack of contentment was the powerful tool called a Budget. The moment I started budgeting, I felt like someone had taken my ice cream away and I was now pitching a 2-year-old fit.
Was my happiness really this tied to the amount of money we had?
Yep. Yep it wuz. And that was a hard pill to swallow! You know what I’m sayin?
Thankfully, Brad (and Dave Ramsey) helped me focus on the right thing:
This is the money I have, now I tell it where it goes and what it does… not the other way around.
We made several decisions that helped “trim the fat” and “buckle down”. It was hard at first, very hard. But when I re-trained my thinking it became a game to see if we could stretch our money further. And boy did it ever!
We got our kids on board and told them we were learning God’s way of stewarding our blessings. They jumped in with both feet and started looking for ways to make money!
This really was the start of a great adventure where we are still discovering great ways to engage with God’s design for our life and family. It has enriched us tremendously!
To my surprise, our financial situation had little to do with money. It had everything to do with how we thought about ourselves, God’s blessing upon us, and our attitudes about money and stuff. Material stuff.