I have often felt like my biggest failures lie in my over-anticipation. I meditate on everything that might happen in the future, good or bad. During wedding planning, I piled expectations on myself and others. I was crushed when life fell short. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had regular panic attacks from wandering down the path of what-if’s. I am an over-prepared woman, and it often frustrates and over-complicates short seasons and emotions until they become completely irrational.
Four major events are occurring in the next few weeks of my life. We have two family reunions planned for the next two weekends, one is a camping night and the other is the longest drive my family has taken since my son was born. My daughter starts her first year of preschool the week after we return from this trip. The most exciting event is a new niece that could be born any day now!
I find myself tending to worry about forgetting something in the chaos, being forced into unplanned purchases, or a crazy “poopsplode” from my infant son right in our suitcase. The reality is that we would make small purchases, ask family members for help, find the closest laundromat, and pray over whatever happens. While I understand my tendency to plan to a fault, as my emotions are tangled with my expectations, God has been guiding me to a better understanding of how I can use my weakness for His glory.
Practicing self-control enables my ability to be accurately prepared. Food has been a tricky relationship since my pregnancies. They were close together, followed by at least a few months of breastfeeding, and included intense hormonal shifts. I based many of my food choices on healthier urges, trying to replace my craving for doughnuts with dark chocolate and almonds. It was incredibly expensive. We drained what little income we had on sudden food purchases (and textbooks). We often look back at our financial failure and mourn our foolishness. While we thought we had plenty of self-control, which we did for our age, we did not have enough for our circumstances. Like a big mouse standing next to a lion, we look back and gawk at how little self-control we exercised.
He Is Faithful
Self-control really came into my life when I asked God to help us with our finances. I learned how to save money as a stay-at-home mom. Making more from scratch, building activities and crafts for my kids instead of buying toys, and the biggest one: meal planning. I struggled with meal planning because I was not self-disciplined. I was not willing to submit my cravings and instant gratification, making it impossible to plan out meals I would stick to. I constantly made mistakes and spent more money as I resisted my own plan. I needed to prepare for busy and crazy days, add the right amount of variety for my family, and practice portioning groceries so we were not hungry AND over budget by the end of the month.
One of the biggest shifts in my meal planning was finding a quick and easy tear-off planner that went right onto the fridge. I was able to write it down as I needed, make edits on the fly, and see what groceries I would need to use up or purchase for the next week or two. I highly recommend buying one for your sanity and finances!
It is very similar to this one on Amazon.com, plus the grocery list tears off so you can grab it and go. And if you buy it through this link, you can support me at no extra cost to you. Win-Win!
For imperfect humans like me, planning does not work without practice. Practice does not occur without perseverance. Perseverance does not happen without motivation.
My motivation was to open up more of my husband’s income so we could go on dates and possibly small trips. Looking back, this has been a huge step forward in our marriage. I understood that busting through debt was not a practical goal for our current income. That goal lies in developing our income as we invest in our work. But I did know that I needed to first learn how to manage what I already have.
Now, I focus my preparedness on goals that Christ calls me to while I wait for his provision. This includes loving my husband and children, God’s children, and investing time into this very blog. Until he moves, I have time to prepare for what is next.