|Future me? Who knows!|
I also am a big saver. I was raised in a household where a certain amount of any money I received, whether it was an allowance, a gift, or hard-earned money, was put into a special savings envelope. I eventually grew up into a savings account at the bank, but that's where I started. Thankfully, I saved enough money over the past few years that I could put a down payment on a house, buy a car, or put on a wedding - at least those are things I said I was saving up for.
This was all when I had a steady income, and could afford to be a bit frivolous with my money.
And then the time of no-job came about. Since my last substantial paycheck from graduate school, I've had to cut my costs enormously. I'm talking cutting my credit card bill in half - which is not an easy feat. Despite being frugal with my money, I do like to shop the sales. So I had to make some drastic changes. No shopping, unless I absolutely need something. No eating out, which I used to do multiple times a week (I'm a single gal, it's tough cooking for one!). Only travel somewhere when necessary, and combine my trips when I can in order to save on gasoline expenses.
And I was successful. I cut my credit card bill in half for three months.
And then I hurt my back again. Hello, crazy doctor bills.
And then my roommate decided to move out. Hello, doubling the rent.
|Don't let him get your bank account number!|
So, I've been trying to budget even more. Thankfully, I have parents who help out where they can (hello, crazy doctor bills!), friends who feed me for free (even if it's free packages of cookies leftover from Girl Scout meetings), and a temporary position that is guaranteed for a couple of months. The pay for this job would be more than enough to get my through the coming months... if I didn't have these surprise additions I mentioned above added to my monthly expenses. Now, it basically covers my rent and internet bill, with a bit of spare change leftover for everything else.
So, I've started seeing dollar signs in terms of food and gasoline. Here's an example scenario:
Me: They withheld $35 in these taxes, when I filled out the tax exempt form...
Someone else: It's not a big deal, it's $35...
All of this has me feeling like I'm unable to make decisions to go this way or that and a bit useless - I feel like I'm stuck in this constant state of stagnantly waiting.
For a job.
For a new, innovative way to make money (No, MetroExpress, I will not go to the "dancer" auditions that will make me $500 a night...).
For a way to volunteer my time without being required to give a long-term commitment.
I do not mean to give off the impression that I am so poor that I am driven to searching the couch cushions for spare change and on the verge of living in a cardboard box. I have many blessings in my life, including a substantial amount in my savings account that could allow me to live very frivolously, if I chose to do so. However, being me, I am finding it difficult to balance continuing to plan for the future and meeting my needs of today. This Sunday's epistle speaks a bit of knowing both abundance and need:
I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me...My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 4: 12-13, 19)Sure, St. Paul. Your life was sooooo easy... at least, sometimes I feel like he leaves out a lot of details that really show how much of a struggle it can be. Did he just wake up each day completely trusting that God would provide for him, or did he struggle with it as we all tend to do? I'm not sure, but I wish I could better emulate St. Paul, who trusted God to care for all of his needs:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6:25-34)
|Where are the wormies?!|
It was about a year ago that I made the decision to switch from the PhD to the Master's program, thereby "leaving" graduate school by graduating this past May. I was scared. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I knew that I was not supposed to continue with school at this time in my life, and so I placed my complete trust in God, trusting that He would take care of me since I only sought to follow His lead.
Yet, every path I've felt like I've been led down since then has quickly and suddenly turned into nothing. I trust that all of these paths didn't work out because that's not where I am supposed to be, but I have to wonder why I am in this state of getting my hopes up, only to have them dashed away in a heartbeat. It's come to the point where I don't know where to go, because if all these previous paths have been wrong, then what (or whom) was I following?
I have not lost complete trust, because I still trust that in the long run, things will work out (as people constantly remind me). It just has been a long, uphill (both ways! in the snow! without my snow boots!) battle, and now that I've gotten to the point of becoming such a penny pincher that I worry what I'm going to do without $35, I'm not sure how much longer I can continue in whatever direction I am going. To say the least, wandering around feeling lost is a stressful burden to carry - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I just long to seek God and His will for me. I've been told that's all we need to say - Thy will be done - and maybe this all is His will. I just sometimes wish I knew what it meant, and where it will eventually lead.
Until then, I have to keep trying not to worry as much about tomorrow as I have been recently, but instead work to keep my heart constantly seeking Heaven. Since I trust that Christ always spoke the truth, I know that God has His eye on the sparrows in the sky as well as His eye on me.