by Rachel E. Newman, ACP
One of the greatest challenges we face in our culture is living within our means. I’ve never been more aware of this than right now. God is walking with and leading me through a new season in which I’ve found myself a widow, a single mom, and the one responsible for my family’s financial security. In the midst of this unexpected storm, my heavenly Father, now also my heavenly husband (Isaiah 54:5), has been teaching me how to walk in a new level of peace. He’s been showing me how to lie down with Jesus in the boat and just sleep. And the more I meditate on the supernatural life I’m called to live, the more I realize how radical it is.
God calls us to things that are not only counterculture but sometimes seemingly impossible. For instance, he tells us not to be anxious, worried, or afraid (Philippians 4:6-7). He tells us our supply comes from him (Philippians 4:19). He tells us that along with Jesus, he gave us every spiritual blessing (Romans 8:32; Ephesians 1:3). These are truths. Whatever contradicts them is a lie. And when we apply them to our finances, we realize living in intimate relationship with the Sustainer of life comes with significant advantages as a byproduct of being completely submerged in and submitted to his love.
Building on the foundation that God is our supplier and we can safely trust in his love, ability, and willingness to care for us, here are some practical steps to apply in order to live within your means.
- Use a program such as Mint.com to create a budget, tracking your income and expenses and upcoming expenses. This clarifies where the money is going and why it’s been disappearing so quickly. In this way, you can curb unnecessary spending and focus your money on what’s important. Remember to include God and listen to his Spirit during this entire process.
- Start tracking your time. Some of us hate tracking our hours of work. One of the beauties of freelancing is being able to accept flat-fee jobs and not worry about how much time we spend. But if you’ve been struggling to live within your means, this is a must. You have to determine how quickly you can perform different types of editing and figure out how much money you’re earning per hour. To meet the national average, you should be making between $30 and $60 per hour.
- Make it a policy to only accept jobs that will pay a fair wage and provide what’s required to meet your budgeted income. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to say no. As children of God, the only thing we are desperate for is more of him, not our next editing project.
While there are many wonderful lessons we can learn while experiencing poverty, it is never a place God intends for you to stay in. May his grace empower you to live as his child.
Rachel E. Newman holds a BS degree from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. She is a Gold Member of the Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, is certified with the Christian Editor Connection, serves as a judge for the Excellence in Editing Award given by the Christian Editor Connection, and serves as a faculty member for PENCON, the only conference for editors in the Christian market. She is also a licensed skydiver. When she’s not at her computer diligently editing for her clients, you can find her in the skies flying her rainbow canopy after a jump from 10,000 feet. Visit her at www.RevisionsbyRachel.com or email: Editor@RevisionsbyRachel.com