Confession: when I left my corporate job due to my newborn daughter's medical complications, I worried about money. I knew that although we lived as frugally as we could, I was leaving a secure paycheck to care for my daughter and I was scared. During those years, I often said, "No, I can't afford it." I quickly realized that although kids don't need to be expensive, I was the one who was truly expensive. My time was expensive. And I began to focus on everything in my life that I couldn't afford. Maybe you know that awful, hollow feeling as well. It's terrible. Fast forward 12 years + six kids total, and my life is totally changed.
Waking up every morning in house that is paid for, not being in debt for student loans or credit cards, and being available to my kids....that feeling is priceless!
I'm sure you could guess that it has been a long journey to get here. Maybe you are still on that same journey and it feels. very. very. long. There's hope! Along the way, I found 3 key ways to change that horrible feeling of not being able to "afford it" into a feeling of gratitude, ultimately leading to a place of abundance.
1. Change of Mindset
I redefined what I needed. What is truly necessary? Children need their parents' love in the form of time, patience, attention, discipline, and a huge amount of affection. Children don't need a gazillion migraine-making toys or a string of stressful activities. It took me a while to learn that. Looking at all of the abundance that I did have, rather than focusing on the areas of lack, was a huge shift and one that I still remind myself to keep. It's too easy to slip by into scarcity and fear. Abundance is first a choice.
2.Change of Patterns
In my journey to affording the time with my loved ones, I found I needed to change my patterns. First my mindset, but next my actions. I changed what I did for fun...no more shopping even if it was sales or thrift stores or *gasp* upscale neighborhood garage sales. Instead I found I loved hiking and trail running. Maybe you might enjoy free museum days in the city or walking the beach like I do. Quality experiences can be free! I changed my pattern of eating to more homemade, wholesome foods. I changed my social obligations to working with families and business owners so that my calendar correlated with my desire to help others. All of this reflected my new attitude of abundance. I found wealth in hidden places. "I Can't Afford It" began to stop coming out of my mouth!
The path to freedom
must include right choices....
3. Asking the Right Questions
All of these changes happened as I was searching for more income and for more time, less stress and more happiness with my family. And these changes of mindset and patterns brought me to face serious questions. I found that I questioned what I truly needed as far as material possessions and ended up giving away 2/3 of everything I owned to charity. I questioned relationships that weren't life-giving, and allowed those negative relationships to diminish. I found that with asking the right questions, I got the results I was looking for...more time with the ones I loved and less time worrying about affording it. I know you're probably thinking that's not rocket science, but for me, asking the right questions changed everything.
Instead of saying "I Can't Afford It" I began to ask .......
Does it move me closer to my dreams and vision for the future?
Does the item/event/service create value or solve a problem to get me closer to my dream life?
Does this decision provide something that is an asset, creating addition income or making it possible in the future?
You may rightly wonder how these questions wiped away the worry about affording things. Changing my mindset, changing my patterns, and asking the right questions led me to find all the answers I was looking for. I was able to use our resources better. I balanced our finances without fear. I worked from home to expand our residual income with adding new rental properties because I had the time and vision (a ton less time cleaning with 2/3 of everything donated). I was able to start coaching families and business owners in the area of finances through my training and my work with a financial publishing company.
I changed that hollow ache of not "affording it" into an abundant attitude of sharing and loving and living intentionally because I was willing to take the leap of faith and do the work to change.
What faith decisions have you made on your journey to simplicity?