Friday, May 21, 2010

My Two Cents On Budgeting: Before The Bills Are Paid

 Thanks for joining me for the first installment of my budgeting series!

As I was praying for direction and wisdom concerning how to begin this series, two thoughts came to mind.

One was the phrase "It's all God's" and the other thought was the word "gratefulness". 

Everything we have is really the Lord's and each penny we earn is a gift straight from His hand.

James 1: 17:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

 Before we sit down to pay our bills and work on our budgets, it's important that we see our money and our paychecks  as His provision to us and not something we have been able to attain all on our own. Because even though it may seem like you are able to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, so to speak, God is the one who gives us all things. It is good for us and humbling to realize that God is our ultimate source and Provision.

When we begin to think about God's provision and how all we have comes from Him, our next reaction is gratefulness. Gratefulness for the way He provides and thankfulness for everything He blesses us with.

Seeing our money as a gift from Him and having a grateful heart for what we have been given will change the way we look at budgeting and finances. Instead of always striving for more, we will be content with what we have. Realizing it is all His will give us a desire to be wise in the stewardship of our finances.

In no way, am I saying that we should never look for extra income. We all need a certain amount of money to live and keep things going. A roof over our heads and running water are nice to have as well. I do believe as we seek God's best in our finances, He will give us wisdom as to when to pursue extra income or when to tighten our belts and do without for a season. This is what He's done in our lives and I know it's no coincidence that when He shows us to look for extra income, that without fail He provides a way to accomplish it!

Soon after we were married, my husband got a new job. We knew it was a part-time job from the start, but as time went on, it became even more so. At first he worked 30 hours a week, which eventually dwindled into 20 and finally plummeted to 15 hours a week. I had only recently come home from my full-time job to be a stay-at-home wife so we really depended on his income. I was doing some childcare at the time which although didn't bring in piles of money, helped to bridge the gap. Looking back now, I can see how God both provided for us and protected us from any major financial emergencies. God used this job to really begin growing my faith and trust in Him.

We began to pray for a new job with more hours for Andy and after about 6 months, he was hired at another company. This was technically part-time as well but right from the start, he worked nearly every day averaging around 35 hours a week and the pay was significantly more than the previous job.

I will never forget how amazed and excited we were at his first paycheck. We hadn't seen that amount of money at one time in a very long while. As I took it to the bank, I remember praising and thanking God for His abundant provision. " Help me to always be so thankful for every pay check, God!", I prayed.

Well, He has never let me forget that prayer. Every time I sit down to pay bills or work on our budget, I remember. While I certainly am not always perfectly content- it is a process after all- it has become a habit  for me to pray before paying the bills. I simply thank God for what He's provided and then ask for His wisdom in spending, stretching and saving our dollars.

The true heart matter behind budgeting is not simply giving every dollar a name and living below your means. It is recognizing God as the Giver of all things and the Source of our provision. Only then will we be able to effectively manage our money.

**Before we delve into practical things such as listing all expenses, saving for a rainy day and paying off debt, let's talk about another heart issue. Come back next Friday as we discuss what God's Word says about tithing!

**This post is a part of Frugal Fridays.


The Working Home Keeper said...

Great post Mary Ann! I'm looking forward to the rest of the series - especially next week's post. My husband and I come from different faith traditions, so tithing is an area where we have not agreed.

Mary Ellen

Katie said...

Such truth, Mary Ann! Great post! I am keenly aware that everything we have is the Lord's. Instilling this concept in my children, along with gratefulness, have actually been two very popular topics in this household lately. You stated this all very well. We are also trying to teach them that tithing is truly giving back to God what is already His from a sacrificial and giving heart. I will be very interested to read your post next week! (And LOVE the button ~ darling!!) Have a great weekend!


Serenity Now said...

I'm so excited about this series - I'm TERRIBLE at budgeting or sticking to a budget, I can use major help in this area. Thanks for doing this, I definately haven't been praying or giving thanks as I sit down to pay bills, and I think just doing that might help soften my heart and resolve to follow a budget!

DarcyLee said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Mary Ann. God does provide every time. Looking forward to more from you on finances.

Debbie J said...

This was a good reminder to me in lots of areas. This is a good series and you are sweet to take the time to do it.