Week 2: As we remove the non-essentials and do without more, I could easily cop an attitude about all of it. I could cast blame on others, sulk in my self-pity and complain to others. But after reevaluating what was essential I have found that much of what I am choosing to remove from life just clutters it up anyway. It either distracts me or takes up precious time, neither of which is necessarily good for me. So its really all in what my attitude is as I choose to make changes. If I continue on with our current lifestyle that includes haircuts and new clothes and eating out, we will spiral downward into a sea of debt. Yes, it is the American way these days, but its not smart, its certainly not Biblical and when you get to the bottom it takes way longer to recover.
One thing that is really helping my perspective these days is a thankfulness journal. Each day I strive to write down 5 things that I am thankful for. Specific things from that day. Be it a cooling afternoon thunderstorm or the pretty wildflowers my daughter picked and placed on the kitchen table. There is so much to be grateful for and as I talk to my Creator at night, I often forget all those little things. With a thankfulness journal I find that even in my lowest, darkest moments I can pull myself up by my bootstraps and continue on, feeling better about my current situation.
I am constantly talking to God about our situation. These days He seems so hard to hear and although He blesses me constantly with little "gifts" that let me know He's aware of all of it, we haven't been rescued from our current plight and have to continue to cut costs more and more. While God hasn't solved our current dilemma as of yet, I know He cares and that He has a plan. As my dear, sweet friend always tells me; "He is never early and He is never late." And that truth resonates in my mind when I spend my days trying to figure out what exactly He is trying to teach me during this trial we are experiencing. Recently I came to terms with all of that. I need to stop trying to figure out what He is doing and just rest in the fact that He is "doing it." God doesn't think like I do. He sees the big picture and the happy ending and He knows the path I need to take to get there. I need to let go and not try to "figure" the next step to get out of this and just do what He wants me to do in this moment.
It blesses me to be with like-minded friends as I let go of things. People that understand why we do what we do and understand why we don't do the dramatic worldly things that would "solve" our problems. Having a good support circle makes the tough days doable. Friends don't let me have a bad attitude. They listen when I have a bad day, but they won't let me "waller around in it" for long and they are quick to help if they see I can't quite get to where I need to be. Friends can also put things in perspective. I have friends that are worse off than me or are battling horrible illnesses or have been right where we are and can give sound advice on getting through it. Friends aren't made in a day, it takes years and the true ones always shine during your dark moments. They don't walk away and they won't take "no thanks" for an answer.
Strive to make it better
As I continue to remove and reevaluate, I need to make what we do have better. I need to find free or cheap pleasures to replace what is gone. I need to invest in my family and friends and enjoy what life is offering to me. I need to laugh. A cousin recently shared with me that laughter got her through her battle with breast cancer. Lots of laughing, no bad news, no "reality", and if it didn't make her laugh, she didn't partake. Its a radical plan, but it worked for her. So this week I plan to laugh more. I plan to have friends for a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea. I need to fix pancakes for supper and play board games after lunch. I need to replace each item removed with something "free and fun." It will take some extra energy. Changing routines always does. But soon they become habits and who can argue that making life more rewarding is a bad habit?