Baby-steps

Atleast learning to take baby-steps is easier when you get to wear cute fall shoes:)

Okay so here is my problem with saving money and being an adult, in general.

I take BIG steps.

Lately the Lord has been showing me that a lot of being a grown-up is remembering to still take baby-steps.

The craziness of summer is over and all my trips are finished (Las Vegas. Charleston twice. Gatlinburg. New York city. Ocean Grove etc.) and I have no more rent anymore thanks to living with my aunt & I finally finished paying so much money on school stuff & textbooks… so it’s time for me to start saving money.

So in the beginning of last week, I took a huge chunk out of my paycheck and put it into savings. A very large portion,  you see. Of course as a result of my zeal I over drafted that week. Go figure.

This is the same problem I have when I decide to go running. I go out the first day after a two week dry-spell and power out two or three miles and then the next day I am not motivated or too sore to go out again.

I take huge leaps right at the get-go & I burn-out quickly.

I do this also with blogging. I don’t often write quick blog-posts with pithy sayings or daily reflections. I wait a whole week for so many ideas to build up and then my posts are verbose and drag on. After reading Hayley’s Blog this weekend, I want to focus on including quotes and quick reflections.

Ofcourse, I was really frustrated at my failure of being fiscally responsible so I went out to eat that day three times; breakfast at Dunkin Doughnuts, Lunch at the company cafeteria (10.5$) and dinner at the Courthouse Tavern.

Then, on Tuesday I listened to a sermon by Kris Vallotan about being a good steward of the small things God gives you in life. He said point blank, “Why do you think God is going to trust you enough to inherit the kingdom, if you can’t spend your finances wisely?”

Boom

I want God to be able to say to me like he does the faithful servant in Matthew 25,

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” 

I want to share in God’s joy!

So right now I have to be faithful with four important things while in Atlanta; my family, my dog, five special ladies I work with & my money.

So I was so frustrated in my inability to do so. I want to partner with the Lord in bringing his kingdom to this earth and I can’t even partner with him on my measly weekly paycheck.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “To earn money is easy compared with spending it well.”  And Kris inspired me that I had to get real with this matter of life, because the way I spend reflect my heart “where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”

Then, the other day while listening to the Bert Show on Morning Radio, I listened to Jeff Dauler talk about going from a “couch surfer” to a triathelete” in 9 months. He said one of the greatest lessons he learned was to take small steps instead of gigantic ones. The biggest step in losing weight or saving money is to realize the beauty of doing things in small increments. Instead of going out and running a mile get  off your couch and jog in place for one minute and the next day, for two minutes and then pretty soon you are in Malibu, California swimming, biking and jogging in a Marathon in & near the Pacific Ocean.

But baby steps require two things I have always always lacked, patience & perseverance.

So patience is a fruit of the spirit. It’s not something instantly given to you like a vision or a prophetic word,  for instance. It comes as a result of a daily dependence on the Spirit and perseverance to chase after the desired fruit. So, this week I started praying “God, help me to be faithful with the small things you’ve given me today.” and it’s working! “Help me not to be broke!”

I also talked to Judge on Tuesday night in a bad mood about alot of things, in the parking lot of Chickfila downing a spicy fried chicken salad (because I forgot to eat lunch that day). He gave me such wonderful practical steps on how to slowly change my behavior instead of sporadically moving 50% of my paycheck into my savings in a fit of frustration.

First, he told me to go to the grocery store. He knew me well enough to tell me “Katie, don’t spend 200$ and buy lunches and dinner. Commit everyday to only eating one meal out and use groceries for the other one.” Sweet, so for once I went to the grocery story and only spent 50$. I bought the essentials (including Skinny Cows, hummus and oatmeal raisin cookies).

Secondly, he told me that as much as I “hate debt” I am the one who creates it. I am the reason I over drafted. I am the person who chooses to spend over 100$ in gas every week. Everything that happens to me and my bank account is a direct result of my small decisions that add up. Thirdly, he told me to make a budget.

Ek, I hate budgets. Budgets sound like prisons & restrictions to me. It’s not like I am going on shopping adventures or doing anything crazy with my money, right? I don’t go to departments stores or eat fancy dinners or anything. But Judge  asked me questions like, “how many alcoholic drinks do you drink a week?” I guessed I average about two a week – one during the week in Atlanta, and one in Athens on the weekends. He suggested I stick with only drinking one a week. I can do that! This is the beauty of being loved by someone who is so distinctly different than you!! You get GREAT advice & encouragement.

You see it’s the baby-steps, like deciding to ride the Megabus to Athens every weekend or eating the free firm BBQ lunch instead of eating at Rising Roll that make a difference.

A calling transforms things by reminding us that drudgery is part of the cost of discipleship. No one has written on this more persistently and bluntly than Oswald Chambers. Repeatedly he hammers home the point that “drudgery is the touchstone of character.” We look for the big things to do– Jesus took a towel and washed the disciples’ feet. We presume the place to be is the mountaintop of vision– he sends us back into the valley. We like to speak and act out of the rare moments of inspiration– he requires our obedience in the routine, the unseen, and the thankless. Our idea for ourselves is the grand moment and the hushed crowd– his is ordinary things when the footlights are switched off. After all, Chambers continued, “Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed Him afar off on the land. We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient, we can face the strain magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.” – Guiness 

And finally a brief message on perseverance from my favorite evangelist, Kris. I seriously considered last night dropping everything and moving to California to follow this man around. For now, in my call to be moderate & patient, I will just continue to watch his sermons online…

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