This is ME Thursday: Money. - Pretty Real

This is ME Thursday: Money.

4:31 PM

So after this post where I duped you into thinking I had a 6 pack after two kids, I came up with a series for Taste{Full}.  I don't typically do series because I don't blog often enough (sad, because I love blogging) to keep up with them.  But I'm going to attempt a monthly series where I share something personal. or something real.  or something close to my heart. or some fatal flaw.  Or all of the above.  So this week here's my admission:

I'm having a hard time adjusting to life on ONE salary.
I don't know if that makes me shallow, materialistic, or simply human, but it's true.  And it's not as if I was pulling in six figures.  Not even close.  But when I left work, it cut our annual income nearly in half. By the way it makes me feel good to say that because it means I was making nearly what Joe was making but in reality that was only for one year of our careers and didn't include his bonus.  My little ambitious husband has always out earned me.  hmph.  On top of that, had I not volunteered to be laid off, I would have received a substantial increase in pay. With which would have come substantial increase in responsibility and hours.  Of course it's easy to forget that part.  By the way I'm pretty sure most of my girlfriends in the workforce have reached a higher level of success than I did so I'm totally not bragging in case its coming across that way--just giving you the facts and keepin it real yo.

The way this is playing out most for me right now?  Wanting to update my home.  What's interesting is that I didn't care much about my house when I was working.  Pinterest and I hadn't met yet, I wasn't as into blogs as I am now, and the main reason: I wasn't HERE ALL THE TIME.  Therefore discretionary income went toward vacation/entertainment/eating out and clothes.  Makes sense right? I wanted to look nice when I was out and about and I wanted to get away from work and have a nice time.  But now, I live in sweats and I'm in my home all the time.  And sometimes (when I let myself) all I can see are flaws.  You can read my sad description of the
room I was blogging in at the time in this post.
I took this photo for a future post about hair but it also demonstrates my uniform of a hoodie and a tee (& too big sweats).
So here are the lies I sometimes fall prey to, followed by the Truth:

lie #1: Everyone else has it better than me-- a fancy house, prettier stuff to fill that house, designer duds, bigger "toys."
-If your annual household income is 44k to 45k you are among the top 1% of the world in terms of wealth.  In other words, most of us reading this are RICH. Simply put. We like to compare ourselves to people higher on the economic scale but why don't we compare ourselves to the 99%?  And if that's not enough, you never know if the people you're comparing yourself to are actually living within their means or swimming in debt.  Not that you want them to be doing poorly but I think sometimes we (at least I) wonder what we're doing wrong when it seems everyone else can afford things we can't.  In reality, it's easy to live a lifestyle you can't afford.  I'm passionate about living within my means. Oh and if you want a laugh check out this sketch "Don't buy stuff you can't afford."  This is maybe my favorite SNL sketch of all time.  I repeat it to myself well as Dave Ramsey's "Act your Wage" quote.

-My Pastor used to say chasing wealth is like chasing the horizon.  It's always moving.  No matter where you are on that scale there will always be more to attain. You have an apartment? Someone has a house.  You have a house?  Your friend has a bigger one. You have a big home? Your neighbor's home is filled with fancy things.  You have a big home filled with fancy things?  Your sister has a big home filled with fancy things AND a boat.  You see where I'm going with this right?

lie #2: Money will bring me happiness and security.
-Mo money mo problems.  I've heard it said that the more stuff you have, the more stuff has you.  I can see that in my life.  Even though I've gotten rid of lots of clothes since the good 'ol shopping days, the amount of time I spend sorting/organizing/washing/donating/consigning the clothes I still have is sort of ridiculous.
-You know what will bring happiness?  Contentment.  We've all heard that the best things in life are free.  Its a cliché because it's true.  Snuggling with Genevieve at the end of a long day or receiving the sweetest mother's day card from Joe, telling me how hard I work and how much my family appreciates me; that's what makes me happy. 

-I Timothy 6:6 "Godliness with contentment is great gain."

-Psalms 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need..."

-While money does offer some level of security it doesn't make you untouchable.  When Steve Jobs passed away  I remember thinking of how wildly successful and wealthy he was.  Yet it wasn't enough.  I don't know if he was happy or not but I imagine he would have traded wealth (at least some of it!) for health.

lie #3. Once I get X, then I will be happy. 

-This doesn't just apply to money; oftentimes it applies just as much to life's circumstances.  Once I'm married, once I have a kid, once I'm a stay at home mom, Once my kids are in school...blah blah blah. 
-also see lie #1.  Especially the "horizon" example.
-Philippians 4:11, 12 "...for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live with almost nothing or with everything..."
-Hebrews 13:5 "Don't love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said I will never fail you; I will never abandon you."
lie #4: Earning money (i.e. an income) makes me more valuable. 
-This couldn't be further from the truth.  Yes that's how the world might see it, but that's not how our Creator sees us.  We are made in His image; therefore we have intrinsic value that can't be measured by wealth, gender, color, sin, or anything else we can think of. Nothing can separate us from His love. 
One last thing...and I'm totally preaching to myself on this one (actually I'm preaching to myself on all of them!).  sometimes it's easy to trust in our wealth...we tell ourselves (if we're persons of faith) that we're trusting God but in reality it's easy to trust God when we have money in the bank.  Last Sunday the sermon was about money and a central verse was about not trusting in our riches but instead trusting in Him who richly provides (I Timothy 6:17). It's easy to worship the provision instead of the provider.  God is really using this season in my life to teach me to trust in HIM rather than our finances.  I might be the only one in the universe struggling with this but hopefully at least one of you can relate and this post encouraged you!
So that's me keepin it real this month.  Anything you need to get off of your chest? ;)

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  1. It never stops : ) Once you have a big house, nice car and well paying job you just want an even bigger house, a nicer car, and a higher paying job and you continuously compare yourself to that one friend who has what you want.

    I think it's important to remember that everything you 'see' doesn't necessarily mean someone else has reached a certain level of success that you haven't. They may have had family help along the way that got them to where they are. For instance, Matt and I have no student loan debt because our parents paid for college. That's was a HUGE advantage to us right of the bat and we were SO fortunate to be able to have that taken care of. We have another friend who's parents bought them a house. Imagine not having a mortgage?

    And you're totally right, you never know who's swimming in debt and who has a ton of money saved up. I have friends who spend thousands of dollars a month eating out and traveling who haven't really put anything away for retirement. hmmm... probably not the best idea ; )

    1. Kristin, thanks so much for sharing! I'm glad you can relate and it almost makes me feel better that it never stops; it's motivation to make a choice to be content at whatever "level" I find myself. and you make good points--you never know what's behind the curtain! The 401K thing is SO true and boggles my mind! From my first job I always put away from that and we have a substantial amount saved up...but I often forget about that when thinking about our "wealth," or financial situation. Oh and to answer your question-- no, I can't imagine NOT having a mortgage. ;)

  2. So good, Tiff. Mark & I have been learning a lot about our finances these days, which was one of the biggest reasons God put it on his heart to share. Thanks for writing this!

    1. Hey Amanda! Thanks for stopping by! Mark did a fantastic job. Congratulations on the house! Can't wait to see snippets via IG and your blog!