One of my favorite songs right now is the recent edition of “Forever Reign” by Kristian Stanfill. The chorus says, “My heart will sing no other name; Jesus, Jesus.” There is something powerful about singing words like that to God. It is declaring who is boss, King, and controller of our lives.
If this is true then we must give him ALL of our lives… yes, that includes our money.
As April and I set out on the journey of financial stewardship we had to start with a budget that worked for us. In an earlier post I wrote about our journey of surrendering our money to God. The real nuts and bolts of our journey isn’t nice and pretty.
April and I started to write down our monthly budget goals as outlined in the Dave Ramsey book. We “spent” every dime that we had, basicly allocated it to a certian place. This was HARD, DIFFICULT, and NOT FUN! We were getting down to the real needs vs. wants in our life. We were beginning to put real values on long term things like, auto maintance, car ties, oil changes, and other 1-2 times per year expenses. Realizing that those things are ultimately costing us at a monthly expense.
Now, some of you at this point would be saying… duh… Jeremy, of course they cost you at the monthly level. You would be surprised at how many people I have talked to who do not plan on expenses like this. They just “hope” they have it when the time comes… or that “God provides”. What a scarry place to live, and I cringe at the thought that I once lived at the place.
I would be lying to tell you that April and I did not fight while working out the budget. It was sometimes down right brutal. Many times we wanted to throw up our hands and say for the sake of our marriage the budget is not worth it. I honestly do not know what made us push through those moments, maybe it was the goal, or the calling to surrender, or God’s power… but we made it.
Here are a tips to budgeting that I have learned after 2+ years:
- Before entering the conversation lay your pride down.
- Think the best about your spouse no matter what they say.
- When it gets tough remind yourself of why you are doing it. (You must have a passionate reason.)
- Personal financial accountability is honoring to God.
Questions to ask as you enter a budgeting conversation:
- Do I serve money or does money serve me?
- Am I willing to throw away my marriage for that item or budget? (Of course not… but we act that way sometimes.)
- How can I honor Jesus with the way I spend my money this year?
- Do I have a plan for giving money away?
- What personal expenses can I cut out or sacrifice?
- Am I ready for my faith in God to be stretched?
Budgeting is not easy. You will learn dirty little things about yourself that you did not know. Parts of your character will be exposed to your spouse that you are not proud of. But, just remember, it is worth it now so that you can have the financial freedom later. God will grow you through the process.
What is stopping you from living life on a budget?