“If you’ll live like no one else, then later you can live like no one else.”
Self-discipline. That’s what this quote speaks about most in my brain.
My husband and I have been implementing the “Baby Steps” to financial freedom Dave Ramsey outlines in his “Financial Peace” curriculum. Though we have always been reasonably responsible with our money, we weren’t doing anything “on purpose” – we just kind of tried to make sure we didn’t overdraft. Long story short, we are entering our third month of budgeting all our money at the beginning of the month together. Amazing. Considering that the words “money”, “budget”, and “bank statement” used to send my husband anywhere in the house but next to me.
Part of our new system involves a cash/envelope system for a lot of our categories, like groceries, clothing, oil changes, blow money, etc… If we don’t have cash in our envelope, we don’t go to the store. Period. We only use our debit card for gas now. This is a new experience for us! As we’ve been learning to adjust our budget a little, I have already had one embarrassing experience at the grocery store. I had to put a bunch of stuff back at the checkout counter because I didn’t have enough cash.
I had a credit card with me that we are getting ready to close out, which I could have easily used. But I didn’t. And I was feeling pretty stupid. However, knowing that my husband & I had pre-agreed on our grocery spending, I knew that I could not go back on that agreement in good conscience.
I was all full of self-discipline. Teehee. Actually, it was really really hard not to pull out that credit card to cover the rest. (I didn’t have my debit card with me – long story not worth telling.) And really really embarassing to put back so much stuff. Needless to say, we will be budgeting a bit more for groceries this coming month.
Well. I said all that to say this: a lot of people think we’re a bit weird for doing this, because doing our budget this way means that we are giving up a lot right now in order to have a little more elbow room later. Most people in this country do not live the way we are choosing to live.
This doesn’t make us more virtuous, by the way. Just wanted to make that clear.
We are going against the flow because we believe it’s best for our family. We want to give our kids a good foundation for life, so that when they’re finally on their own, they’re confident and wise in their decision-making. In order to do that, we are going to have to walk our talk.
If we want them to be self-disciplined, we will have to be self-disciplined. Not only in our finances, but in our walk with Christ, in our work, in our play, in our marriage, and in our relationships with those who come across our path. There will be times that we will have to grit our teeth, clench our fists, and force ourselves to do the right thing and stick to it when we feel like taking the easy way out. I know by experience that the desire to “do it the easy way” crops up all too often.
I must learn to live like no one else – to be self-disciplined when I want to be lazy; to be wise when I don’t want to think; to love when I want to hate; to keep silent when I want to speak – so that later, I can live like no one else – to have discipline, wisdom, love, & peace in such abundance that laziness, hatred, ignorance, and idle chatter are obliterated. And not even missed.
At least, I pray that I’m at least heading in that direction. I’m on a journey. I’m in a race. I am a long way from the finish line. At times, it’s a bit discouraging, but I know why I run. I run to win.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
~1 Corinthians 9:24-27