Happy March Friends! We’re another month into 2021! I’m kind of happy that February is over – it was a little rough. I am ready to move into spring, start another goal, and continue living the good life. This also means that I am ready to give you an update on my goals, my results, and my good life.
The Good Life in March. I want to look at my treasure. Where is my treasure and where is my heart? I thought leprechauns and money go together. It made sense to me a few weeks ago, but now that I’m writing it I think it’s a bit weird. I’m doing it anyway – the reason doesn’t matter. Right?
In March, we’re finally going to begin our budgeting class. We’ve chosen financial peace university because I began it and didn’t finish it several years ago. I already have the material that I purchased back then. I didn’t finish it because I stopped doing anything but bar exam study. I just never picked it back up.
There are 7 baby steps that Dave Ramsey has come up with. They are just standard money-saving methods that are common sense once they’ve been pointed out to you. We’re going to work through six of the seven over the next couple of years.
We begin the first couple of lessons this week. We already have a budget and have been contributing to our emergency fund so that’s not new. We just want to get better at it. We want to save for retirement – our goal is a couple of million dollars saved and we don’t want to have to work at 90 years old. We’re 20 years behind.
What is our future good life? We have a dream of living in a version of a tiny house 800 – 1000 square feet, open floor plan, with a loft set on five acres. We envision a lot of front porch sitting, bonfires, and books. Maybe some good wine and a little whiskey for good measure.
To get there, we need a solid savings plan, we need to get rid of debt, and pay attention to how much and where we spend money. We will try to cut costs, increase savings, and continue to give & tithe. We want to spend and save Biblically. As always, I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Here’s the first journaling prompt for this month: What does your future good life look like? I think we did something like this before. But think about your retirement, your savings, your income sources, etc. I think people who don’t have a lot of money can live a good life – it’s like having cake. I also think that having a little extra can be like the icing on the cake.
Writing it down. Pull photos out of a magazine. Create art journaling pages. Use words, colors, and images to create your vision. This way you’ll know what direction to go in. Going in the right direction always a good starting point.
February & My Relationship goals. In February my focus was on Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” My goals were to build relationships and improve relationships. I wanted to do better at loving like Jesus. And I wanted to guard my heart. (see the post here)
During the first week of the month, I focused on loving the people who are hard to love. I journaled on my relationship vision. I found that Jesus never said ‘I love you.’ He just did it. He healed, he forgave, he had compassion, he was kind, he was patient. I realized that some of the people in my life are easy to love.
I also realized some people are extremely difficult (almost impossible) to love. These people test our patience, push our buttons, and can sometimes be downright prickly. I recalled that there was an expression: how do you hug a porcupine? Very carefully. So, I have a porcupine in my life, so I decided to try to hug it. Figuratively.
After about two weeks, it all came crashing down. My efforts were ignored and rejected. I had to just give in and let go to protect myself. I learned a lesson. Sometimes, you will suffer if you try to hug a porcupine. When the porcupine says no, walk away.
Jesus never forced anyone to believe in him, to accept him, or to permit him to heal them. He never went to other people and asked to help them, he waited for the people to ask for him. So, I stopped trying to hug my porcupine.
I feel better – I’ve stopped making myself crazy trying to help, fix, suggest, and insert myself into relationships that porcupine doesn’t want. It’s sad but I must accept the situation. From this rejection and my acceptance, my other relationships have remarkably improved.
There are three lessons here. One, we cannot control other people, their situation, or whether they like us. We can only control our reactions. Two, when we focus on our things in life, protect ourselves, and let other people have their stuff (failures, emotions, etc), we can live a better life. This is the maxim that we can’t fix other people. Sometimes, we just have to let it be the way it is. Three, boundaries help everyone. Other people may not like our boundaries for many different reasons, but boundaries improve our relationships. When I put my boundaries in place, I felt better and the people I set boundaries with felt better.
Guarding my heart. After all this, I began praying. I was upset that things were not working out the way I thought they should. I was angry. God answered me pretty quickly and he basically told me that prayer is the answer. I realized that I felt angry because of the way things were in our home. So, I set out to pray for my family.
Because God told me to pray, I decided I would write out my prayers for everything and place them everywhere in my home. I wrote down a prayer in every room of my house for everything that I wanted. I wrote a prayer asking God to increase the love in our home as we eat meals together at the dining table and I put it there. I wrote prayers for each person who sits at my table and I taped them to the chairs. Everywhere we sit, live, clean, bathe, hang out, I wrote a prayer and placed it there.
Then, I began praying to God to soften my heart. I prayed added prayers to my daily prayer list for our family and our hearts. Also, I prayed out loud that God would remove the evil one and all his lies and ties from our home because there was a lot of anger, lies, and hate hanging around these walls, in this house. That day, I felt my heart lighten. I felt my anger begin to dissipate.
Prayer is our most powerful weapon. Life is not the way it should be around here. We are a family that is divided by anger, hate, and the lives that we had before we got married. However, we’re on our way to the abundant future God has for us. God does not toss us into the deep end without a safety net. We are not left to sink or swim without his watchful eye. He’s got us covered and he’ll help us work it out. We just have to keep praying about it all.
- What does it look like to guard your heart?
- What is the most important thing and why?
- What is your relationship vision with your people?
Journaling these prompts helped me realize that my most important thing is activism. That’s why I write this blog. But it also helped me realize that I don’t have to save the world, Jesus already did that. I just have to serve the one person in front of me who is asking for help. In so doing, maybe I can change the world for that one person.
Guarding my heart looks like only allowing acceptable things into my life and my mind. What we see and hear affects how we feel. What we say reflects how we feel about people, situations, and things. I came across Luke 6:45 Jesus said, “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” I was saying angry things, which made me realize that my heart was angry. I needed to repent of that, ask God for help, and invite the Holy Spirit in to stand guard. Only then did the anger go away. We can’t guard our hearts by ourselves.
January flashback. My goals from January are still in play. I added in some exercises to go along with my yoga a couple of times a week. I’m still struggling with my water intake – some days are up and some days are down. I still take my 30 minutes a day to be me and it’s kept me sane through all of this.
I did a little more decluttering too – all those manuals that I save for warranties and instructions. I took the cover/model number page and the warranty page and tossed the rest. I also put the home fixtures manuals in a binder with receipts and install dates for the next owners. I decided to do this because my house was a fixer-upper and a lot has been updated during the last five years. I thought it’d be a kind thing to do.
What do you think? How was your February? Do you have financial goals or not? Are you going to work along with me in March? Make a comment below, I’d love to hear your input and thoughts, join in the conversation. ;