Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Make it do

Around the beginning of this year, my husband and I decided to tighten up our budget better. This was done for many reasons. One reason is that in the near (or far...however the Lord sees it) future we hope to downsize our life a bit more by moving out of one of the most expensive counties in the U.S. to a place with a slower lifestyle and better cost of living that is also near our family. To do this, my husband will need to do a major career switch and that will hopefully put us where we will be able to "live more, with less." That is our goal, anyway. So, the tightening up of the budget will prepare us for the "lean times" ahead as well as free up money to invest in that prospect, save, and to give away. That is what we are hoping for, that is what we are praying for. So, when I came across this saying from the Great Depression, I knew it was one to adopt in my own household, my own life:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Do without.

Now, these are useful concepts for a budget and simple living, but when I really looked at what this little ditty was saying, I realized I needed to also use them in my daily circumstances.

My children don't have tire swings and endless acreage to run on....I yearn for that.
Make it do. Take them to Stone Barns (Westchester's multi-million farm-to-table project--hey...make it do!)

We don't live near my grandmother, who I desperately wish my children could visit with on a regular basis.
Make it do. Start a nursing home ministry and visit others who may not have any family close by.

And there are more.

For me, it's a journey of contentment. Being thankful for what the Lord has already given me, not wishing for something else. Sure, we can pray and make plans, but I want to be content in all things:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Phil. 4:11-13

This verse is always interesting to me because Paul speaks of being content in abundance and need in many contrasts. Could you really be discontent while in abundance? Well, yes. I can. But my goal is to "Use it up"--use up my resources I already have in this life. My garden? It may not look like this, but this gives me hope it could be more. I want to "Wear it out"--wear out my gifts, wear out my blessings, for the glory of God. "Make it do"--easy enough. And "Do without"--if that's what He wants for me, then gladly will I take it.


Elise said...

Blessings to you on this journey - may we join you? :)

AIMEE said...

Oh Andrea...I am going to have to read through this entry a few times over. :) Did you read my journal :) We are in the midst of the same financial journey and of learning who the Source of all life, goodness, and contentment is. I want to read Doris Goodacre's "Living More With Less" and haven't yet. My husband has even watched a few PBS videos lately on the Great Depression and it gives such perspective on our wealth. We are about to embark on the Dave Ramsey journey to get some debt out of the way b/c we want more margin to give freely to others instead of consuming more. Great great post!!

Mrs. S said...

This really hit home with me. Thank you for posting this. I would love to hear more about how you and your husband find ways to tighten up your budget. We recently moved from a very expensive and fast paced county, to another state that has a lower cost of living and a slower pace. Its been wonderful so far, and God continues to teach us many lessons.

Andrea said...

Mrs. S~
I could probably learn from *you*! I'd love to hear about your journey.
I wish I could say we are creative in budgeting, but the truth is, we are not. Personally, I think it mainly just takes a lot of self-control to not spend. We try to feed our money to savings and giving, and try to use the bare minimum for the other things. It helps that the only debt we have is our house. Sometimes we succeed, other times we don't. I like to look at it as a process, though, and we are always learning!

bluemountainmama said...

i struggle with this same concept of "contentment"...even in abundance. i really like this post and it hit home with me, also. we've lived in my husband's hometown and now just an hour south of it for the past 8 years...and even though they are "nice" areas....i have longed to be near MY family (9 hours away) and back in the blue ridge mountains. but i try to adopt the principle of "blooming where you are planted". i feel guilty b/c i have so much, yet can feel so discontented. material things aren't the issue for me...i grew up with a very simple lifestyle and actually prefer living slowly and with struggle has been not feeling like i've found "home".

Andrea said...

Blue mountain-
I feel the same way as you--where I am doesn't feel like "Home"--but yet we *are*pilgrims, aren't we? I just want to be content in *all* situations.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

We did the career change thing and downsizing ten years ago - no regrets there! Worth EVERY minute in that really, really tiny rent house! I know what you mean about not wishing for something else, but I also think yearning for a slower pace of life and wanting to be close to family are not just signs of discontentment - they are heart-desires, and are worth putting effort into making them a reality.

And by the way (in case there was any doubt we are true soul sisters!), we are looking at country property this weekend! So excited!

Will pray for you as you make steps toward your goal (we could use to tighten up the belt a bit around here, too!).

Anonymous said...

great thoughts! we also try to live by same "rules"- it really does save money :)