Skittles, Wedgies, and the Monthly Budget.

I used to pride myself on being a guy who didn’t worry.  I frequently said things like “stress is a waste of emotion,” which is true, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.  Now I wish I could go back and allow my 28-year-old self to introduce my 18-year-old self to a concept known as the “wedgie.”  Telling someone (intellect) not to feel something (emotion) is addressing the wrong part.

God in his infinite sense of humor has grown me to the point that now, with a wife, a child, and a host of other responsibilities, I have become more of a worrier.  And now my annoying 18-year-old self is telling me (intellectually, of course) that “stress is a waste of emotion” or “stress is the opposite of faith,” among other harsh truths.  Thanks for that, kid.  It was easy not to worry when the biggest decision of the week was “do I eat all of this bag of skittles or save some for later?”

With the aforementioned media hype regarding the economy (based in part in the realm of fact, for sure), we have had more than a bag of skittles to worry about, (but thankfully we have also had far more than a bag of skittles to eat).  We received a few short paychecks a few months back, but have been able to pay all of our bills.  God has continued to provide.  It looks like we are even going to be able to go ahead and pay off the bill from Little Ben’s birth (in just a shade under half a year), and turn our attention to the bills for his recent medical issues.

The problem looming at the back of my mind now is the fact that we don’t have enough monthly support coming in.  We have been floating along on some larger one-time donations recently and have not gone negative in our staff account (or our bank account), but again I see the funds dwindling, and I am prone to start worrying.

Jacqueline and I have been on the Dave Ramsey plan with our finances since we got married (and I was on it before, having paid off my $16,000 debt to the College Foundation of NC in under 4 years—on a salary of $16,200 per year—before we were married) and have been making it work.  I have found myself in the past few months avoiding the process of budgeting, though, because I worry less.  That’s not at all fair to Jacqueline, making her handle the budget all by herself.  Would you pray for me to engage in this process, and to avoid running from the issues, but instead to take those worries to Jesus?

Also continue to pray for our finances.  Praise the Lord with us for his provision thus far, and ask that He would increase our monthly gifts significantly in the next three months.  We currently need around $1500 in additional monthly support to reach a healthy spot.

As always, if you are interested in being a part of the answer to those prayers, check out this page for more info on how to give.

It turns out my 18-year-old self, though he is annoying, is correct.  But the way I am now admonishing myself and others not to stress is by giving myself a reason not to worry.  And that reason is Jesus.  He came and lived a perfect life that I couldn’t and can’t, died the death that I deserved and deserve, and made a way for me to be perfect in the father’s eyes.  That actually affects my wallet.  I still sit on my wallet, but it’s not my foundation.  My 403-b is still there, but ultimately I run to God to provide.  He provides again and again for his children.  What a joy to have a job that forces me to realize that.  I’m telling students on campus to trust Jesus, and at home I have no other choice but to heed my own advice.