last post (1%) was about how we have this poor me, we don't have enough money perspective. My friends, we are so blessed even if you are not the 1%. So, now that we know this, what do we do if we're living paycheck to paycheck and have no margin???
FIRST, Recognize how we got there. In this world, there is a backwards approach to stewardship... a careless attitude to money management and a warped thinking of "I deserve more." We all do it... We compare our situation and belongings (or lack of) to others: the amount we make, the house we have, the car we drive, what we own ... It's our identity. This kind of approach is Satan's perfect trap for deception and ultimately destruction. (1 Tim 6:10).
It's an endless cycle. Our flesh always wants more.... and so we GIVE IN resulting in no margin to GIVE OUT. And then we rationalize by saying, "I don't live lavishly like "they" do." The problem here is, we are never the ones living lavishly... it's the ones who have more than us. There will always be someone who has more or makes more than you to justify this way of thinking. Be careful, It's a lie.
Our Situation: George and I are house poor. We've lived paycheck to paycheck our whole marriage. This is no ones fault but ours. What happened? Unwise choices, unrealistic expectations, verbal promises unfulfilled, a booming market that went bad... An "I want this and deserve it" mentality. For the most part, we live off of one income since I am at home with the kids. This is a wise choice in our minds, however, we must recognize our limits and make sacrifices for this decision.
Our Consequences: Because of our decision to purchase a house we can't afford, there is stress from living paycheck to paycheck. A Savings that is slim to none. And I catch myself feeling worry over financial security, as well, guilt for not bringing in extra money. Stress, Guilt and worry ... these are not from God. THIS is why He wants us to live within our means.
SECOND, become good stewards of what we do have. God has given each of us a specific portion to manage. Most look at their amount as "not enough...I need more!!!"... I CHOOSE to look at our amount as a blessing. I know myself and where my attitude used to be in this area. I am thankful for the hardships that I've faced. I no longer have a me, me, me, more, more, more... I deserve it mentality.
A good steward ...
1. Gives to the Church. A Tithe is giving back to God (remember it's His anyway) your first 10%. In return, He will bless the other 90% (Proverbs 3:9-10). We do this to release control and trust Him. Blessing: When business was down, George took over a 30% paycut for close to a year. Things were already tight so you can imagine things got really tough. We refused to stop tithing. In fact, one time, scattered me wrote the tithe check for George's WHOLE paycheck instead of the 10%. Oops!!! We noticed it, but decided to give it anyway out of faith that He would provide. Guess what?!?!...He did!!!! I'm not sure how, but our checking account never overdrew! Pretty cool, huh? Pure and simple - we were obedient and he blessed us. Give it a try.
Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (emphasis mine)
2. Provides for his family living responsibly within his means while creating margin.
3. Sacrifices wants to give to others. Blessing: I've been stretched to be creative in my giving. When we had no extra, I started giving my time at the Dream Center and giving them things we no longer needed (clothes, baby stuff, blankets, household items, etc.). That is where I learned to appreciate all that I have and I developed a servant heart.
I'm so thankful for what George and I have been through. I've learned to depend on God's provision regardless of how the outlook appears. Our situation has allowed Him to show us how He is the true provider and that our security is in Him and not money. For this, I am truly thankful and blessed!