If you were to take a wild guess, what do you think the budget & the schedule have in common?
Stress? Maybe…not the answer I was looking for though.
I think the budget & the schedule, if considered together, will clearly reveal our priorities. Where we spend our time and our money shows who or what we value. I’ve been considering this in my own life as I talk about wanting to be a writer, wanting success in business, being a wife, a mother, a friend, a follower of Christ, a horse lover, a homeschooler, and more.
I looked at my last two weeks of spending – when I had extra cash, when I had extra on the debit card, where was I spending my money? Well, a good portion of my extra cash has been dedicated to home birth since we found out we have another wee one set to join us in October. But when I’m not stuffing the home birth envelope with cash, I’m either feeding my face, drinking expensive coffee, or spending it on my horse and her upkeep. (Even avoiding the tack stores like the plague, I find ways to spend money on her!) I found that I feed my kids a lot of junk, but I don’t buy them a lot of stuff. And, I have even entered a place in life where I spent a little money on “girl” things – I got a pedicure with my friends and I ordered some nail wraps to try. School is on the spending list, and I have to watch it, I love books/curriculum and will buy stuff that we will barely (read: never) use.
I looked at my schedule during the same two weeks – what was I filling up the majority of my time with, and what was I using the small chunks of time for? Well, the majority of my time was split between work and schooling the kids the first week, and just work the second (summer break). I make two trips a day to the barn to take care of the same horse that I like to spend my money on, and the second week, I have tried to spend a little more time on domestic endeavors (you know, the whole cooking/cleaning thing). What really got my attention was my small chunks of time – 5 or 10 minutes, here or there. Those windows of time were wasted, gone forever, sucked away by social media – and the worst part is, I’d get my 5 or 10 minute fix, and often find the wind knocked out of my sails. Sometimes, it was because people can be offensive and blasting offense on FB is so 2014. Sometimes, it was the ugly voice of comparison that would say “look at what that mom is doing with/for her kids” “look at what that family did together” “look at what that wife and husband did together/for each other” “look at” “look at” “look at” – and my head would spin, and I could go from best day ever status, and crash into “nothing is quite good enough” misery. I also noticed that too many hours get lost to the television, much in the same way.
With the budget, the glaring thing that I realized I was missing was anything that said, “First, I serve God,” in fact, there was no trace of serving God in how my money was spent. None. I about choked on that reality, because it hasn’t always been the case. And I prayed, and I prayed. And I came to the realization, I’d rather die penniless & serve God with everything I have – money, time, talent – and not just lip service, than to live in filthy riches, ignoring Him or His commands for my life.
Together, the budget and the schedule pointed out a few things I can do better for the kids – but I am honestly okay not giving them everything in the world. I want them to work for things, too. I want them to feel accomplished when they’ve worked hard and earned something, and I don’t believe spoiling them does that. I did notice that while my husband and I are together many hours of every day, we don’t do anything intentional for us or our relationship. No date night. No put the kids to bed early and talk night. No devotional together. I don’t think things are on the rocks right now, in fact, I would have never thought about it if I hadn’t had this whole priorities thing hit me like a ton of bricks. But I’d like to see us do something that builds us up – we may always have the business, but we won’t always have the kids running around, we won’t always be in this moment in life. I’d like to see us weather the good, the bad, and the ugly together, with God. My time does reveal at least some service to God – I believe He calls us to home school, and that He called us into the business we are in, to be a light in our community and serve others.
I can’t say my priorities are one thing, and then spend my time and money somewhere else. Or say something is important, only to brush is off to catch the next episode of:______________. I don’t want to offer lip service to my God, who has carried me through more than I can put to words.
I’m going to make small shifts, and I’m going to put my money where my mouth is (not literally, in fact, I’m done eating/drinking away so many dollars), and spend my time on what matters. I know it will take focus, and changing small bad habits into good ones. I started with removing social media from my phone to break that time-waster. I’m getting up early to write. I made a shift in the budget. I’m going to talk to Mr. Wonderful about a devotional or bible reading plan on YouVersion. But it’s going to be the long haul that shows the fruit of these changes – not just the first few hours/days.
What are your priorities, and what changes can you make to pursue your spouse, chase your dreams, and live life to the fullest?