In the spirit of consistency, I’m here again. Yay!
I had the opportunity to eat dinner with the lovely Renee and Trena at Odyssey tonight. I wish now that I had taken a photo of our time together (or of the food, at least), but alas, it slipped my mind. It was wonderful, though, to sit and listen to mature women talk about raising kids, about home-making and home-owning, about financial planning and security. These are things I’m sorry to say are somewhat foreign to me. I didn’t grow up prioritizing much of anything—mostly, life was day to day, taking it one step at a time, accepting what life hands you. In some ways, that lifestyle has made me flexible and easy-going; it’s easy to roll with the punches when that’s all you’ve ever done. I didn’t have a savings account, or a five-year plan, or long and short term goals. There was just today and then maybe tomorrow.
Now, as Joel and I diligently work toward the goal of debt-free living and the light is (sort of) shining at the end of the tunnel, I realize that there’s a whole world of possibilities out there, and responsibilities, too. Owning the home that we live in makes all kinds of financial sense, though to be honest, the idea of being staked to a single place on the planet indefinitely terrifies me. I’ve lived in this little-ish town for the last 20 years, and just the fact that I could go somewhere else if I wanted helps me to get through the days when I feel trapped, like I’ll never be able to escape this place. It isn’t that I hate it here, quite to the contrary! I love my friends, my family, and my church more than I can possibly express. Still, there are times when I long for rain and green and rocky northwest shores and I wonder…and long.
“Those times” tend to coincide with triple digit temperatures.
Anyway. The point is that I’ve come to the realization that I(we) have to change how we think about time and money and planning. There’s something to be said, I suppose, for going with the flow, but…I’m a grown-up now, and I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck anymore. There are things I want of course, material things, but mostly I long for the freedom to be generous. I want to know that I’m blessing God with how my money is used. I want to be intentional about how it’s spent, not constantly making decisions pertaining to the future based on how I’ve spent money in the past. Maybe that means buying a house, or adopting, or tithing 20, 30, 40% of my income. I kind of hope it means all of those things, one day…
And, I wouldn’t mind maintaining my Starbucks habit.