Finances are truly something I didn’t have to really stress about, ever. I don’t think I will ever truly realize how blessed I was to be born into the family that I was born into. My Aunt Jan always says that when you are given a great family, you win’s life lottery. Growing up, I had a dad who did all the providing and all the worrying. I do remember days when mom and dad would have all the bills spread out on the living room table, and I knew that it was a tense time for my father, who would often question why my mom had written this check or what she possible could have bought at Macy’s for that amount. I knew that “bills” were associated with a level of stress once a month, but for me as a child and a teenager and to a certain degree, a college student, that responsibility landed on my dad and not on me.
I had everything I could have possibly wanted as a child, I went to a school that stimulated me both creatively and intellectually. I had dynamic Jesus-loving friends at church and school. I had my own purple room to call my very own filled with my Christmas presents from the years, and a wonderful fun-loving family with three siblings that provided me hours of entertainment. We were an upper-middle class family who loved each other and had enough money to love each other comfortably. We couldn’t afford to go on cruises like some of our neighbors, but we did spend a month in the south every summer with my family at the beach and in the mountains. I felt completely safe and taken care of financially, spiritually and socially. I think so much of our financial provisions came from the fact that no matter how large my dad’s paycheck, we gave the “first-fruits” to the Lord. I got whatever I wanted within reason, and when Kristen and I felt called to Hun, my parents remortgage and later sold their home to be able to afford our education.
I don’t know why we make high-school graduation such a big deal, because its not really. College graduation is a HUGE deal. Ever since I put on my robe and accepted my University of Georgia diploma I am expected to be an adult and take care of myself and pay the bills. Once a month now, it’s my turn to “balance my checkbook.” It’s my duty to give to the Lord out of my paycheck, it’s my duty to pay the rent, electric and water bills. It’s my duty to go to work every day and be there on time and to grow up and be a part of the American work-force. It should probably be my duty right now to be saving a certain percent every month, and to be thinking about 401k’s and to be planning retirement or to be constantly applying for a better job.
I’m not, though.
Most of the time, I am enjoying the simplicity of this life. I have rent for 200$ a month, usually with all utilities that’s another 100$. I have a dog now to care for, I never use my car ever because Judge and I carpool to work every day. I am living paycheck to paycheck and though I see why this would be a horrible way to live if I had a kids or wanted my own house or wanted family vacations… right now as a single girl right out of college, this life is wonderfully free of complication and mortgages and debt. I am slowly (SLOWLY) going to pay off my college debt, and in the meantime I am enjoying not saving but investing into the kingdom.
I really am not saving anything that moths or rust or Roxy could destroy. Will I live like this past this semester? Most likely not. I’m praying the Lord gives me something more fulfilling and higher-paying until I hit Central Asia. I figure I have about three to five more years living in the states. I do realize the long-term need to save and to be responsible. I do realize the need for a savings account. I do LARGELY appreciate the great gift my family gave me in providing for me to earn two degrees… and I plan on using them, someday, hopefully soon.
In this season, though, where the Lord is “perfecting in me patience so I am lacking nothing” and I am learning to find joy in his Spirit and to discover what his LOVE really looks like… this type of simple financial lifestyle has been perfect. I pay my meager bills every month and if I starve or if I freeze rests on me and the Lord alone. Sometimes, my dad still frets and feels it’s his job to provide for me… he’ll call me and ask how I am doing and then prays that the “Lord would protect his little girl.” It’s hard for my parents to place me in God’s hands completely. For the first time in my life, though, I can look at my life and know that it is resting on me and the Lord.
I have finally jumped out of the nest, and I am seeing how true it is that Jesus said that if we look at our treasure, there our hearts will be also. So far, my treasure rests in good community with friends and a new dog:)
You can’t serve both God and money, but we do have to be a good steward of our finances… I guess? They tell me that money is talked about more in the new testament than anything else. How quickly, while I work for crap-tips and my coworkers get competetive and sometimes manipulative, that we can get in the mindset of poverty and start fending for scraps from the table of life. It is so easy to jump into a spirit of despair or hopelessness or feeling like your stuck at a dead-end job. I could spend my days irritable and mad at God for having me work at a family-resteraunt instead of for the state department. On the good days, I have faith that the Lord has me in this simple season because my schedule is open for time with Him and my stresses and commitments are so low that the only burden I have is for Him and my boyfriend and friends, and that burden is LIGHT, y’all.
I know that the Lord won’t have me working at Bretts for long, but now in the moment I am learning to jump into a lifestyle of freedom and joy.