Most of you who read this blog know me through my speaking. Or maybe we’re Facebook friends. What you may not know, then, is that I make most of my living by writing for businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions. I write websites, articles for magazines, blog posts, advertising of all sorts.
I often say I have a “portfolio life” (a thank-you to Jeff Goins for the term). I do motivational/inspirational speaking for churches and businesses. I do copywriting, as I said above. I write my own books (The 29¢ Baby Jesus picture book is SO close to being ready—I can’t wait to share it with you). And I worked two days a week at Ten Thousand Villages because I’m passionate about fair trade and it got me out of the house.
Well, my Ten Thousand Villages closed. In the following two weeks, two of my biggest writing clients stopped hiring me, both due to their own financial constraints. Oh, and my 13-year-old car needed $1,800 of work to pass inspection by the end of this month. Yeah, all that pinches the pocketbook.
So it was a God-directed “coincidence” when my husband and I were asked by our denomination to take part in the National Association of Evangelicals’ Financial Health program. (It’s made for pastors but the videos, devotional and online resources are free to anyone, so I urge you to check it out.) We weren’t overly excited to do it, but we found the value not so much in the financial strategies presented—we had already gotten high ratings in their initial Personal Finances Assessment Survey—but more so in the attitude adjustments it encouraged.
The whole premise of the program is that God is our provider, and he doesn’t always provide through our paychecks.
He has many “income streams” he can direct our way. They recommend creating a “Blessing Journal” and keeping track each week of ways God provides for you that aren’t your paycheck. You list unexpected cash, gifts people give you, meals/entertainment others pay for, coupons or sales that save you money on things you needed to buy, and any other provision that meant you didn’t have to spend your cash. You are asked to list the amount of the provision as well.
We have listed a lot in the last few weeks:
- $900 savings by getting the car repaired and inspected at a different shop
- A free sandwich at Isaac’s deli with a bonus card earned back in December
- Two free lunches for Les when friends treated
- An unexpected $25 check from someone who appreciated my business advice
- A very large tax return
- Two nights out to American Music Theatre shows through generous friends
- A discount from a service provider offered because Les is a pastor
Keeping the list has us seeing God at work, seeing him meet our needs but also providing some fun times as well.
Once we made our list, the NAE’s suggestion was that we calculate ten percent of the total “extra” provision and put that amount into a special fund to meet the needs of other individuals or nonprofits as God directs. Les and I normally budget money for this purpose, but with my work slowdown it was difficult. Now it seemed like permission to be generous!
I am still actively looking for new writing clients and paying speaking gigs (if you or someone you know has a need in either category, please be in touch), but this experiment—especially keeping track of the dollar value—has reminded me to be on the look out and be grateful for all the ways God supplies.
If your money attitude could use an adjustment, maybe it’s time for a “Blessing Journal” of your own.