Life Lessons: Contentment and Gratitude

Life Lessons Contentment and Gratitude

You know what I struggled with last month? Doubt. I mean a whole heap of it. I just couldn’t get out of my head that I wasn’t doing enough for our household. I knew exactly where this struggle came from too. For the past 32 months I’ve been able to pay extra on our debts, but this for the second month in a row I made just the minimum payments on our three student loans and boy did that bother me! Could I have paid more on the debt, sure, but Marcus and I have changed a few things in terms of how we’re handling our finances in 2018. We’ve put the debt payoff on a small pause to beef up our emergency fund to $10K and just the thought not making extra payments makes me itch. We have plans to restart these extra payments to our debt in April, but being the Leo that I am I need things to work on my schedule. So basically that means yesterday.

This is also our first month living on one salary, Marcus’s, and using whatever I could bring in from my side gigs to supplement. I knew after doing the budget we’d be fine. The numbers added up, we had sinking funds and an emergency fund, yet I still couldn’t help but feel a slight twinge of panic everytime I thought about how I wasn’t going to contributing to the income like I used to. Because I wasn’t content with my role it led to this insurmountable doubt.  Nevertheless, every morning when I woke up I’d lay in bed and just be caught up with gratitude for even being able to be in this situation. I’d go through a list of everything we’d been blessed and reflect on how far we’ve come. These exercises helped to calm and reassure me that everything was going to be okay, even if I wasn’t in control.

Expressing gratitude can be difficult, especially when your knee deep in debt or going through some other crisis be it financial or personal. How are you supposed to look on the brighter side when it feels like everything else is falling apart around you? Bills are piling up,  your paycheck is gone as soon as it comes in, and you can’t afford for anything to go wrong. When you take a look around, all you see are people supposedly living their best lives. Traveling here, dining there, and purchasing items you’d love to have. In the midnight hour, when it’s the darkest, how are you supposed to find that inkling of light to get you through? I’ve been there. In the beginning of our Broke on Purpose® Journey when it was just me by myself it was hard for me to find that bright side. That is until I started talking about what I was going through with others. As people began to share their stories with me, I realized what I was dealing was someone else’s dream situation. Through those conversations, I learned to be thankful for what I was being given even if it didn’t seem like it was ideal. Remember, it could always be worse.

I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content- whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. –Philippians 4:12-13 NJV

One of the biggest lessons I had to learn while working through the beginning of my financial journey was how to be content with what I was currently being given. I wanted quick fixes, but I wasn’t given them because there were lessons that I needed to learn along the way. Imagine me, someone with over $100K in debt to their name, asking to be given more resources when I hadn’t even proven that I could handle the resources that were currently provided to me. I wasn’t ready! Not mentally and not emotionally. Sure it might solve my problems today, but how has that “fix” preparing me to solve my problems tomorrow? This is one of the reasons why I don’t promote debt consolidation. I’ve been burnt by that “easy fix” too many times to count, but like many, I somehow never got the message the stove was hot. This is why you’ll always hear me saying “You can’t keep asking for increase while doing things that cause you to decrease.”.

In our situation now, where we’re living off one income the lessons that I learned in contentment are coming back full force. God has given us everything we need and we lack for nothing. We were able to get by when things were far worse than what they were before. What you’re dealing with now is just a step away from the peace of mind you’ve been asking for. To me, my situation may not be ideal, but it’s a dream situation for others. I’m thankful for every opportunity to have to pay our bills on time, whether we’re able to make extra payments or just covering the minimum.




1 Comment

  1. Tracie Y.
    February 6, 2018 / 10:27 am

    This morning i woke up and was thinking that i need a Bible verse to keep me motivated on my debt-free journey and reading your post was the answer to that. I sooooo needed to hear this as i struggle through. Thank you

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