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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cramming for Classy Contentment

"Blah blah economy" seems to be a bit of a catch phrase these days. Everybody is worked up about it. Some people have lost houses, some have lost jobs, countless others spend a good deal of time worrying that they're next. Nobody knows what politicians to believe and our hope seems to lie purely in God alone.
In the midst of these trying times, rises up a group of women out of the confusion. Some are working moms, others are home raising their kids. Their agenda is not one of delusions. Their agenda is to survive the times with class. Not just survive, but thrive.
I am one of those women. To be honest with you, I've never been very successful at living within my means. I'm a pretty undisciplined girl. Its really only been since the dawn of the past few years that I've actually been doing it. I have had a lot of examples, both bad and good with which to model myself after. Because of this, I have decided to share some of them with you. Its my hope that they can inspire you to live just a little bit better ;-)
Miserable Mira and Naughty Nancy were once my friends. They had a lot of influence on me at one time in my life. Both were married with children. Both have great and incredible qualities that attracted me to them. Both, however, were very unsuccessful at surviving the times. With Mira, there was never enough. Her kids spent a good deal of time trying to find food. Sad, but true. I never felt comfortable eating at her house. Everything was rationed. Her kids were always hungry and as a result they foraged on what they could find other places including stuff from other peoples houses, cars, and even the woods. She wouldn't let them waste anything either. Many of the things she fed her family I didn't want to eat - gross! The kids didn't want to eat them either. Miserable Mira rarely smiles. She's one of the most miserable people I know. No matter how much she has or doesn't have she's going to feed her family diluted down yuck and ration it.
I knew Naughty Nancy for many years. She always enjoyed the finer things in life. Naughty Nancy usually stuck her nose up at what I had or was making. She taught me a good deal about buying "quality over quantity", for which I am grateful, however, the problem was, she could never make due. Naughty Nancy always went over budget. She NEVER lived within her means. In her mind, it was her husbands job to provide period. He worked long hours to provide that which was never enough. She enjoyed a life of buying nice food and house hold stuff. Shopping with her was an unforgettable experience. Everything was name brand no matter what the cost. I left the store feeling sick at the things she decided on a whim "were cute". The only time Naughty Nancy ever worked, she insisted the money was for herself, not for bills. Nancy and her husband went bankrupt once or twice. They lost houses a few times too. Eventually, Naughty Nancy divorced her husband and went on to find "somebody better" leaving her husband and children devastated.
I never understood why Naughty Nancy acted the way she did. Then one day it occurred to me. She felt prosperous when she spent money. Making elaborate foods she couldn't afford made her feel wealthy. I also wonder if Mira didn't feel like she had enough by hording what she did have. Either way, I'm afraid that their children have spent years living under conditions that are less than happy.
I know some other women too. Mist, for example, seems to be happy most of the time. She has lived for the past few years in a one room cabin without running water, electricity, or even a septic. She manages to make incredible meals despite the small grocery budget. When she cooks, there's always plenty. She is enjoyable to be around. She enjoys a happy marriage. She doesn't chase after romantic ideals, she recognizes that true happiness is a choice.
Ruth, the woman who is a co-laborer with her husband in running our orphanage in India is also in incredible woman. Despite losing countless homes due to persecution, she has managed to feed and clothe her own children along with 10-15 orphans at a given time. Currently they are living in a small 2 bedroom abode with their own children and 10 orphans as the land they were purchasing was wrongfully taken from them. They are struggling with a legal battle to get it back. Years ago, I asked Ruth what her goal was. She told me without blinking an eye "To die for the Gospel".
As you can see, I've shown you some incredible examples of women that I have known. Where there is a will, there is certainly a way to survive and thrive. Difficult, yes, but impossible, no. Choosing to arm yourself with a good attitude, sowing in the midst of adversity (that means being generous, being a giver), and learning to live within your means are all important keys to thriving in the times that we now live. Our choices must be based on what we know and not on how we feel. Here's a few scriptures :-)

1 Timothy 6 (New International Version)
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Philippians 4 (New International Version)10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Hebrews 13:5 (New International Version)5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."


Me said...

Great post, Mom!!!
If it had anything to do with modesty, I would link ur post to my blog:-)

Anonymous said...

That is a great post Outdoor.Mom! I'm pretty content living within the means, but occasionally that evil one will come snatch my brain, er heart and make me want, want, want...It's tough to stay focused and diligent, but when I maintain the focus within the means, we are so much happier and so are our children! The blessed you with some great scriptures to match your lesson. Well said.

"Indescribable" said...

My ex husband once told me I would be miserable if I left him b/c... and I quote him.... he said.... "money is the root of all happiness." How misinformed he is.. I pray for his salvation.

When I go about my day I feel as if I'm in fog until I read your deep thoughts - you are crystal clear - let the Holy Spirit guide you b/c you are allowing others to see!
Peace and Love,

Heather said...

I like how you take the "bad economy" idea and use it to develop your ideas and apply them to our lives. Excellent, excellent!

Thanks for the talk today. I love you!!!!!

Molly @ Star Cottage said...

The Lord has blessed you with wisdom and great experiences to learn from. I too have seen both sides of the spectrum & it is truly sad indeed. May God help us all to be good stewards of our money, a blessing to our children and a helper and supporter of our husbands @ all times, especially these.
God Bless you Outdoor Mom. I am greatful for your posts and your friendship.

Becky said...

Sometimes when I shop and spend I feel like Naughty Nancy. I have a tad of Mira at times, I am known to ration. Try to be like Mist, I like cooking good food, but feel I need to be better at making due. And like Ruth I live in a tiny home and am willing to share what I have with those that the Lord brings by.

Toni said...

wonderful thought provoking post as always. I have known a few Mira;s and nancy's in my time. So sad. being able to share what we have is a god given ad wonderful thing to do. We don;t hord, and our budget is tight and it gets tough, but we can always squeeze one more in at the table;-)

toytrkman said...

Are times tough? I hear it all the time but I guess I haven't noticed. The Lord has been good to me and because of His wisdom we're in a position that I really don't notice the difficulties. If you endeavor to follow His guidance you will thrive no matter the situation. Even if you make the stupidest mistakes He will still get you out. I know because I've done it.