Lately we’ve been hit by multiple unexpected expenses that have thwarted our efforts to be “gazelle intense” and become debt free. It’s been discouraging, to say the least.
Each time our budget has been assaulted by these unwanted expenses, it has been tempting to complain, to whine, to say “this isn’t fair – we’re doing everything right, so why is this happening?” It would be justified to allow ourselves to feel badly about it and to feel defeated.
But, as I’ve been diving in and studying Scripture in preparation for writing a Bible study, I’ve been reminded (over and over) about how the Israelites lived life in the Old Testament. They focused on the past, on what they had in Egypt (conveniently forgetting that they were SLAVES and were mistreated and miserable), on what they lacked instead of all that God had provided. In short, we shouldn’t follow their example.
Their attitude would have been so different if they had only focused on all that God was doing, all that He had provided. He rescued them from slavery and did miracle after miracle. He literally rained food down for them every day. They could SEE His presence as they traveled. And yet they whined and complained because they wanted more.
In light of this, I’ve been focusing on what God is doing and not what I wish He’d do.
When we realized how close it was going to be, I told Brennan that we had a choice to make: we could be disappointed because this unexpected expense was preventing us from putting money into savings and we’d have to have a super tight budget, OR, we could be thankful that God had given us exactly what we needed to pay this expense AND our normal bills/needs.
We chose to be grateful.
This doesn’t mean we didn’t waver; it took many reminders to shift our perspective back to gratitude. It took encouraging each other when we felt defeated. It took remembering God’s faithfulness over and over.
Though we didn’t know how we’d make it to the end of the last pay period, He provided. We had just enough to pay our bills, we had just enough food to get by (even though it wasn’t the healthiest of choices), and we survived. I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to shop on pay day and get everything we had been needing. It felt like a gift, like such a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I was so excited about God’s provision. I didn’t take it for granted.
One of the reasons we love budgeting is because it’s a twice-monthly reminder that God always provides for our needs. I fill in the spreadsheet with our bills and needs prior to knowing our income; and EVERY time, God provides. It may not be in excess of our needs, but we are always able to eat, give, and pay our bills. And for that we are abundantly thankful.
Where is your focus today? Are you lamenting over what you do not have, or are you praising the Lord for what you do have?
Perspective is everything, and when you are filled with gratitude for all the Lord has done, that’s worship.