I am extremely thankful for the church that I go to. I have been attending since 1996 and my faith life has grown and continues to grow immeasurably. And perhaps what I appreciate most is that my pastor teaches us thoroughly about redemption and what belongs to us in Christ Jesus. And the more we learn, the more we realize just how good God is. So needless to say, we are one positive, overcoming, victorious minded group of people.
With that, at the beginning of every year we typically have a pronouncement of all the good things in store for the upcoming year. Often times there is a cute phrase like “2009 is going to be divine,” and we eagerly press into the new year with great expectation. But even though I say it will be divine doesn’t necessarily mean it will be. Ultimately, for things to change, our thinking must change.
And that is the difference this year from year’s past. This year I am armed with better thinking. Wherever we are in life is a result of the information we have taken in and the decisions we have made based on that information. So if you truly want to know if the knowledge you have gained has been beneficial, check the fruit in your own life.
I have had areas of my life with some good fruit, but many areas in my life with bad fruit. And that is what I have been working hard to change the past few years. And because of that work, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a harvest of good fruit is coming. One of the primary areas of struggle for us has been our finances. Up until the end of 2008 we were living pretty comfortably. My wife was in real estate and I was a recreation director. Things seemed to be going well.
Then the real estate market tanked, and Courtnee was out of a job. She made more money than I did, so obviously, we lost over half of our income. But hear me on this: our financial situation was less a result of the economy and more a result of our attitude and thinking towards money. Like nearly everyone else you or I may know, we financed everything. We financed our home, vehicles, hot tub, camper, and then put all sorts of other purchases on credit cards. And you know what, those things come with payments. And when the economy crashes, your income decreases, those payments don’t.
At the end of 2009 I was introduced to a different way of thinking about finances. Phrases like “long-term vision” and “delayed gratification” and “the power of compounding” began to make sense to me. I began reading the book of Proverbs differently than I had before. I realized that finances are less about “calling” and more about operating in wisdom. I learned that finances follow rules, and that money is not fair. It goes to people who know how to accumulate it, hold on to it, and make it grow. These are principles that must be learned, and then habits must be developed to create the discipline it takes to win at the game of finances.
We had dug such a deep hole financially with our “play now and pay later” attitude towards finances, we have had a long, strenuous climb out of the hole. I won’t say we are completely out of it, but my head is at least above ground now. I can see the horizon. And that is why I know this year is going to be different from years past.
If you have followed me during my blogging journey, you know that I’ve made some bold statements and challenged people to watch Courtnee and I. And so I am putting the pressure on myself yet again to perform (kind of). I am confident that this is our year for great results financially. We have been steadily growing through addition, but this is the year of multiplication. Courtnee and I have been steadily growing in our marriage, in our family and as parents. We are learning more about what it means to be free as a nation and what our part is in restoring those freedoms we have lost. We have been building great relationships in our lives and are learning more and more how to be people of grace. Our purpose has become more and more clear as well. But this year, the results of sowing into our business, learning sound financial principles, and applying those principles will produce a great harvest.