Friday, November 11, 2011

Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez

Hah, today is 11-11-11. Kind of cool.

So, I have been praying for years that God would control mine/our money.  I feel like he has taken control of so many areas of our lives-food, relationships, education, entertainment.  I really think that God is 'in the driver's seat' in those areas, for the most part.  And I'm so thankful for that.  But...  when it comes to money, I feel like I'm totally in control-and that is BAD.  Because I can't control it, because I don't know enough, don't have enough self control and don't know the future well enough to be truly 'in control' of money.  And it's definitely NOT a strong point in Drew's life. :)

So, I've been praying for some time that God would take control over it.  I've read and heard lots about tithing and giving to others.  We don't do either.  I feel we can barely keep our head above water, much less do more.  So is it a lack of trust?  I don't think it's that, or not just that anyway.

For some odd, frustrating reason, the only way I can change something is really to study it and understand it, and then somehow, it just assimilates without me trying real hard.  It's weird, and nice in some ways, but frustrating that I can't just 'do' something that someone suggests.  But, I know it will get done once I'm ready, so that is nice.

So, on that note, I've been waiting for a few years for God to step in and start the process on the money.  I've tried to force it now and then, but it's never been successful.

But, lately, I've had an inkling of an idea, that the money thing is about to start.  Granted, it often takes a few years to see any fruit.  But I'm happy to see the rumbles of change anyway.

I have read Larry Burkett, Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey and recently Radical Homemakers.  Each one has given me a little more of the big picture.  While reading Radical Homemakers, I read about a book called 'Your Money or Your Life' by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

I really enjoyed it and found one more 'piece' to put into my money puzzle.  Like many of the other books, they have a '9 step program' to follow.  But yet, it's the overall relation to money that I took from it.  

The 9 steps are:
1. Making peace with the past.
2. Being in the Present-Tracking your Life Energy
3. Monthly tabulation
4. Three Questions that will transform your life:
    -Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy spent?
    -Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
    -How might this expenditure change if I didn't have to work for a living?
5.  Making life energy visible
6.  Valuing your life energy-minimizing spending
7.  Valuing your life energy-maximizing income
8.  Capital and the Crossover Point
9.  Managing your finances

What I really liked was the overall idea of tabulating how much you make-after subtracting taxes, clothing, services, travel, housing/taxes in more expensive areas and any 'spoiling' we do to make up for our lack of fulfillment from our job.  So often, if you account for everything, truly and honestly, you could live on so much less and still live just as comfortably.

Also, I loved the idea of, once you have figured out how much you make 'per hour' at your job, after all expensive taken out as mentioned above, then, every time you are about to purchase something, consider how many 'life hours' it would take to make that purchase.  It's black and white and honest.  It just puts things into perspective.  Sometimes it's definitely worth the life hours.  And sometimes it's not.

I don't make any money outside the house presently.  My husband is the sole breadwinner in the house.  My 'job' is to save as much as I can, to make his go further.  But, we still have a lot of 'extras' that we could live without, if it wasn't for his job.  Especially because we live in basically a 'suburb' of NYC.  Cost of living is very high here, as a general rule. 

Now, I know that because of sin, we all need to work.  Life is hard. Even for the few who are 'financially secure', life is hard. If it's not one struggle, it's another.  So for us, it's not a matter of trying to get Drew to sit home all day and do nothing.  But rather, how best he can use his time and energy.  We are to use every minute of our life to God's glory, and if we are wasting all our time and energy on things that bring him no glory, and are too exhausted after it is all done, to reach outside ourselves.  Then I think it wise to reconsider.  And give it all to God to help you put into proper perspective. 

What that means for us exactly, I have no idea.  But I am praying that God would guide and direct us over time, so we can use our time, energy and money to his glory.

We realized Drew spends approx 750 hours a year commuting!  That's a lot of 'wasted time'.  He handles it well mostly, but he definitely does not like his commute.  Some people love that time, to read, rest, meditate, etc.  But for others, it's a 'waste of time'. Esp as our priorities change, it seems more frustrating.  Not only are we wasting our money, but we're wasting our precious time as well!!

Baby steps. Opening eyes to see life differently.  Seeing outside the box.  All of that.

I so look forward to the sanctification God is/will do in my life in this area.  Bring it on, I'm ready to be RADICAL about it!!!

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