Every Saturday for a bizillion Saturdays to come, I gather around a table with some fifteen other seeking souls.
What we are seeking is a healthy relationship with money. In a world where marketers would have us believe that what we wear somehow defines who we are, we are seeking ways to learn to say “yes” to our future by saying “no”.
One of the comments grounding the class is that as a culture we have come to be convinced that dessert ought not be denied. We want what we want and we want it now and if having something when we want it means we sabotage the main course of our days, well, so be it.
The “so be it” is ransoming our present. We are living with increasing debt. That debt means that we are living with past choices that constrict our present choices and rather than learning to say “no” to dessert (cars, vacations, meals out, palatial homes) we whistle in the dark of our financial reality and keep piling on debt. And, we are miserable.
Learning how to say “no” in order to fully say “yes” is a spiritual discipline. Learning to say “no” is a taking into ourselves and our behaviors the belief that we are enough and we have enough. We don’t have to have the magical thing that will somehow convince us and our world that we are worthy.
We have enough.
I’m playing around with this in my own life. I’m creating a budget. Before anything else happens to my money, I give. I give 10% (the biblical teaching about tithing) to my church. I pay my bills, and then, before the temptations of unplanned spending takes me, I put money in savings.
Financial Peace teachings advocate for an initial goal of having $1,000 in savings ($500 if salary is less than $20,000) and then working toward the creation of an emergency fund of six months worth of expenses.
I have some work to do. But I have to say that spending time with paper and pencil, creating a budget, saving money, and giving money has changed my way of living.
No more am I hostage to the anxiety that accompanies bondage to debt. Having a plan means claiming the “power God gives me to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (UM membership vow).
The oppression of a sense of insufficiency and debt are real. Throwing light on the dark that I and so many of us have whistled in is claiming power.
“No” power is feeling power full.