When a new challenge lands me in the whiny pit…

I need to step it up.  This is kicking my butt.  It’s becoming embarrassing. Why is it that when I am facing a difficult task I suddenly forget all the things I have learned?  

It’s a new situation – a totally different context. So somehow my brain thinks the old lessons don’t apply…

Do the truths gleaned during the last battle work in this situation?  Or do I need to use ALL new weapons here, new wisdom, new truths?

A truth – if it is worth anything – is timeless.  It is universal.  

What lessons have I learned in past situations that I could apply to a scary new challenge?

  • Perseverance
  • Relying on a strength greater than my own
  • Trusting – always trusting
  • Refusing to worry by constantly keeping fear and insecurity at bay with truths such as scriptures or quotes or songs that speak to my spirit
  • Keeping my eyes OFF my own inadequacies and focusing on the complete competence of the One who can help me through
  • Honest prayer!  Being real about where I am and asking for what I need!  Then believing I will have it…even if it doesn’t manifest right away.  
  • Keeping the faith

It’s like I suddenly develop amnesia when I am faced with a new challenge!

I can be such a slow learner.  If I were a Jedi in training I would be far from hearing Yoda’s words: “Ready you are”.  I still need A LOT of training. But that’s OK. The fact is I AM learning, because I am here, with a teachable spirit, ready to make the changes I need to in order to be triumphant again.  I caught myself early in the spiral of “I’m overwhelmed, this is more than I can handle”.

I CAN absolutely do this.  I haven’t done it yet but that means NOTHING. Key word is YET.  

If I only ever did or attempted to do what I know FOR SURE that I can handle, I would never attempt anything great, scary, ambitious… I would stay stuck within my comfort zone.  Not a very exhilarating way to live. And this is a worthy goal!   

So I need to put on my big girl pants and stop whining about the unknown and how hard this goal is. I need to grow up and own it!  

Remember girl: He has shown you enough of Himself for you to know that there is no mountain or ocean or obstacle that you cannot get over with His help!  Align with the one who made the oceans and mountains. There are not obstacles to him.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Faith is the first step.

Just for fun, and the sake of full disclosure, I will share with you the new challenge that has brought me to the edge of defeat. And you will see that it is NOT life threatening, heart wrenching or anything that would be considered an epic plot for a dramatic series.  It’s rather mundane, but sometimes it’s the smaller things that can trip us up because we underestimate them…

It is a financial challenge which I admit is a sensitive topic still because of the years spent as a single mom, stressing over making ends meet.  There is a special place in the gut where money stress lives, and for years it would churn there and keep me awake at night. There is nothing quite like the sickening feeling of not being able to provide for your loved ones.  Over 30% of the kids in our country today are being raised by a single mom, so I know there are many women out there who are intimately acquainted with this type of gut wrenching worry.

So finances can be a touchy topic in my home, even today when it is years later and the children are grown and learning to provide for themselves.  I don’t want to go back to that place of worry, want, lack, deprivation, saying no to everything…

But my husband has big dreams and thankfully he is not held back by the scars of my past or my money fears.  And so here we are with our big audacious goal of paying off a house in 10 months. We moved, downsized our mortgage to a manageable amount, and now we are attempting to live solely on my salary for 10 months while we throw all of his salary (much more than my teacher paycheck) and all of our savings at the house.  Every week we go over what needs to be spent, how we can cut back, what we can put off for yet another week…we set the budget limits and they are TIGHT.

And it’s HARD.

It’s been 8 weeks and I am struggling big time.  Just being honest.  So that’s my challenge, and it’s kinda been kicking my butt emotionally.

Now’s the part where I talk to my spoiled self.  Seriously spoiled.  Let’s take an inventory, girl:

  • Do you have a roof over your head?
  • Is it a safe place to live?
  • Are you healthy?
  • Do you have a warm shower?
  • Do you have clothes to wear – even multiple outfits?
  • Do you have healthy food to eat everyday and clean water to drink?

If the answer is yes, then girl, you are happily provided for and your needs are MET.  You are GOOD. In fact you are doing better than millions of people who woke up today in a world where their answer to the above questions is NO.  Their basic needs are unmet, day after day, and they have to fight to provide for themselves and their loved ones. They TRULY feel that sickening pang in their gut.  

My little challenge, in my world of consumerism, is to fight off the hundreds of messages I receive everyday – telling me I need this and I need that and filling my soul with bitter dissatisfaction – with the simple truth that I don’t NEED it.  I may want it, but I have ALL I NEED already, without spending another dime.

So I am on a strict no-spending diet for the next year with this plan.  Does it scare me and make me uncomfortable? Dang straight it does. Do I like it? No. But is it like I’m fighting for my life?  Hardly. So while I need to admit that it IS truly difficult for me, I also need to be realistic about the intensity and severity of what I am facing.  Put and keep it in perspective.  

Yet no matter the scope, size and difficulty level of what we face, the fact remains that it is still a challenge.  Which means that it is HARD to do and it can wear on you, both emotionally and psychologically.  

So I got worn down, and yesterday I was acting like a whiny, spoiled, and scared little girl who was not believing in herself.  I argued with my husband. I cried. I felt sorry for myself, like this is simply too much to handle… How can I do this for 10 whole months when 8 weeks has been such a struggle?!? Cue the violin player. I know, not showing up as my best self there… 

Reality check: If I did it for a week, I can do it for another.  

I CAN do it – that’s been proven on a small scale. I just need to apply it again.  Big journeys are simply made up of small steps, we all know this.

It’s also a matter of deciding – do I want it bad enough?  What am I willing to pay for financial freedom? Bottom line.  Because if I do this, I will be financially free from any debt, and from then on, all the money we make is ours.  We decide how to use it. Fix up the house, go on vacation, buy the van we have been dreaming of, adopt 100 homeless dogs… but most importantly my husband can move towards retirement and quitting his 2 hour commute and stressful job and we can spend more time together, traveling, camping, hiking, doing the things that make us feel alive…

The mountain looks HUGE but I need to keep my eyes on the goal – the prize.  It’s easy to lose sight of it when you are in the valley, tired, with achy muscles and blistered feet.

Eyes on the dream girl!  Keep yourself motivated! Trust in the One who gave you the dream, the desire, and the ability to pursue it.

Start dreaming big because the size of your dream will be the amount of fuel you have to propel you over the hurdle.  And this is not a sprint…it is a marathon. You will need a lot of fuel.

And most importantly for me in this situation: practice gratitude.  That is the single greatest weapon I have to use against the materialistic mentality that I am surrounded by in this very consumerist society.  Gratitude slays dissatisfaction, and dissatisfaction with what I have is the way they get me to spend money…and get off track with my goal.

I need to constantly give thanks for all I have.What I have is more than enough.  And I CAN do this. One day at a time.

You can’t do the whole thing at once, but you can do it today.

So when facing something new and scary, remember the truths you have learned – they are applicable EVERY TIME you face a challenge, regardless of what it is.  Go back to the source of your strength and then watch as you start to experience daily victories in that area! Struggle is part of the adventure – not a sign that you need to quit!  The resources are good for today only – so make use of them TODAY. Tomorrow’s resources will be provided then. Focus on where you are now, what you have now, and who you are today. You are powerful, wise, and capable.  Strong and wonderfully stubborn.  

My friend, whatever you challenge may be, focus on the goal, use your weapons, live with gratitude in the moment and take a step closer to triumphant living!

I have a feeling I will be revisiting all of this many times over the next 10 months… wish me luck and I wish you victory over your hurdle today!

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