What Causes us to Fall

Some of us, if not most of us, are at the bottom of a mountain looking up for one reason or another. It may be because we’ve never tried to climb one because we are intimidated by the thought of trying something new. Another may be overwhelmed by how daunting the task is. Others may have tried, but realized the persistence needed is just something that they didn’t have, and gave up. Then there are those who have climbed, got too overconfident, and came crashing down.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 16:18

My wife said something interesting to me when we decided to record our journey. She said there were warning signs she recognized; and she mentioned them a couple of times to me before, but I never listened. The funny thing is, I don’t remember her ever saying anything to me, which probably proves her point. There have been times in our marriage where what may have been gentle reminders from her, were mistakenly taken as harsh criticisms by me. When perceived criticism causes anger, or a blown off reaction, it’s easier to just not say anything.

Such is life with a prideful person. It’s difficult to talk to them, it’s even more difficult to reason with them when they are in the wrong. I know this because I fell into this category for many years of my life and my marriage. It helped lead us into where we are now: staring at the top of the mountain while trudging in the foothills.

Married people MUST communicate, and sometimes they must let each other know that there is a problem. If one is too prideful to admit they are not perfect or make mistakes, it will only lead to disaster of some kind. I’m glad she was patient and forgiving enough to let me hit the bottom so I would finally listen.

So what to do if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t talk to your spouse about money problems, or any other kind of problems? What do you do if you find yourself in a dilemma where your stupidity got you and your loved ones in a bad spot today? I would suggest for starters, looking up past the mountain into the sky. That is where King Jesus sits on His throne, and prayer is where humbleness begins. Prayer is like an about-face, like a prideful Prodigal Son coming to his senses and realizing there is a better life out there, but first he must change and be humble (Luke 15:17). Once that happens, the Father is there waiting with open arms. Chances are, if done with the same humble attitude, so is your spouse.

In the end, life’s not about the money, security, fancy cars, big homes and lots of travel. It’s about kneeling before Jesus, hearing Him say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant,” because He is well pleased with what you have done in this life for Him and others. Doing for Him would be giving your life over to Him and trusting what He has for you…humbly. Doing for others? Why not start with your spouse? An attitude of gratitude and not being above it all will help start getting through that foothill snow, and giving you a partner to climb the mountain with for a lifetime.

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Staying Constipated…I mean, Consistent!

Certainly constipation is what I would call my cash flow right now. It’s not going up, but most importantly, not going down. Part of what I’m learning through this fairly new process is that it’s going to be slow going. VERY. SLOW. GOING.

My problem is I’m too impatient. I mentioned in a previous post that my wife and I have been through Financial Peace University. Props to Dave Ramsey I give of course, his program was an answer to a prayer I had years ago. Again, I’m too impatient. K (my wife) and I were talking the other day, and I found that a big part of my problem is I want this hard, painful, not knowing what to do next part to be over. It feels like we’re starting all over again and we should be so much further than where we are right now. I’m finding the only thing I can do now is sit and wait on the next paycheck to come in so I can pay more bills, and try to maintain what I consider the meager balance that is in the account. Sitting around does little for one’s patience.

I have found that I am a highly analytical person, I find it difficult to move on to one task when another is left unfinished. A task unfinished, for instance, is not having enough saved in my checking account to cover an emergency if needed. I get stuck, and I pour over it and worry over it until it drives me crazy. So occasionally, I have to step back, sometimes I have to break down, or work out, or go running, or just have a good blubber on my wife’s shoulder. Stress relief I’m finding is a must these days, so I decided to write a blog about it.  It helps me analyze the situation and sets in concrete accountability to whoever may be reading this. It sounds like an analytical solution to me.

We do of course, in the midst of discouragement, have to move on. One cannot sit in the dark and pout, or drink, or take pills, or eat, or do whatever escape one craves. Life must be lived, money or not. So I have tried to start developing some habits that people who do have money have developed. Besides writing about it, another habit is to read or listen to some kind of instructional wisdom or advice, at least 30 minutes, or 10 pages, every day. It’s a habit developed by wiser men than I. A presidential hero of mine, Teddy Roosevelt, was hardly seen without a book during his administration. Dave Ramsey talks about reading nonfiction books consistently on his radio program. Even Mark Zuckerberg has set a goal of reading a book every two weeks according to Business Insider. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. The most recent book I have found is an audio book I listen to by Darren Hardy. It’s called “The Compound Effect.”

img_1821The premise of the book is that small, minute, almost minuscule good habits done consistently enough times over the course of time will lead to a person’s ultimate goal. Small steps like avoiding vending machines, not buying the kids McDonald’s for the fifteen hundredth time, and spending less than you make will eventually lead to a trimmer waistline and wealth. While if you did those same repeated habits negatively over the course of a lifetime, it could leave you fat…and broke. I’m closer to the fat, broke guy right now with my habits.

The catch for me: It takes a long time. It takes work that no one sees until it’s suddenly just there, but it takes a long time for that to happen! I’m impatient, remember?

This whole situation feels constipated, like nothing’s moving, “icky” as four year old daughter might say. Consistency, that’s key. I’m willing to take another rich guy’s word for it. My bad habits have gotten me where I am today. If I want out of the situation of living paycheck to paycheck, I have to do things differently. I have to start making better decisions and forming better habits to start building some kind of wealth for my family’s security and our dream of not only living well, but giving well. I have to do a mental flush if this constipated time of life is ever going to end.  Until then, I’ll just have to live life consistently well, maybe bloated, but consistently, for now.