How I wish I could stand at the bow of the ship, look in the eye of this fierce financial storm shaking this nation, and command, “Peace be still.” The truth is you and I do not always get to dictate the circumstance that surround us, but we can certainly direct ourselves in the midst of those circumstances. That is what Jenna and I have chosen to do the past year. I thought it might be beneficial to pass along to you how we have chosen to weather this financial storm.
1.) By Giving More
When hard times begin to come, its human nature to pull back in fear. This is especially true when it comes to giving. Recent headlines have highlighted the fact that charitable giving is down as the economy has suffered these past two years. This fact has hurt so many great non-profit organizations.
Jenna and I at the beginning of 2010, when faced with the prospect of seeing less, made a decision to not cut back on our giving, but to actually give more (about 2.5% more). We knew that God would take care of us. That’s faith, not fear. God is a debtor to no man, and He more than took care of us last year and is doing so this year as well. In fact we are out-giving last year right now.
2.) By Using Less
Obviously, you have to cut somewhere. We made the decision that would not be in giving, but in consumption. Here is a short list of a few things we’ve started doing…
- traded the truck (14 MPG) for a 07 Escape (23 MPG)
- drive less
- dining out less
- less trips to Starbucks (and staying away from those $5 dollar drinks)
- adjusting the thermostat
- backyard garden (organic veggies and fresh laid eggs)
We are even considering making even more cuts to cable, and other entertainment venues. Truthfully… I believe that we should do everything we can to make better use of what God has given us. As we are better stewards, I know God will bless with more.
3.) By Saving More
I strive to practice a simple rule concerning finances. 10 percent of your income is God’s, 10 percent of your income is seed, 80 percent is means. Here is how that works. The first 10 percent of everything that comes in goes to God (and we are striving to do more). The second 10 percent goes into savings with the understanding that it is seed to be sown, not but to provide for our basic needs. It can be invested or given, but has to be done with the expectation that it will produce more (and we are striving to do more here as well). That leaves 80 percent to live on (and we want to live on less).
This rule is a great starting place for everyone and one that I am starting to teach Reijah.
4.) By Exercising Faith not Fear
Our choices are driven by our desire to live by Faith, not Fear. Everything we’ve done positions us for more not less. I don’t believe in maintaining or retreat. God has never been in retreat, and neither will I. Everything that we do should be to position us to move forward. I walk by faith, live by faith, survive on faith. Fear has no place! Stay away from those who herald and market in fear. Surround yourself with those who build your faith!