When It’s Time to Do the Hard Things

“I think it’s time we sit down and workout a budget.”

As my husband spoke these words I could feel the gears in my head, my stomach, my chest turn to a screeching halt.

There are so many things I’d rather do than sit down and workout a budget. Organize the basement? Sign me up. Clean out the fridge? I’m there. Scrub the toilets? I’m your girl. But take a long hard look at how much I spent at Barnes and Noble last month? No, thanks, I’m good.

For the past few years, despite our limited income, my husband and I have cruised along delightfully unaware of how much we spend eating out, at the bookstore, at the wine store, at Redbox. Of course there have been times when our lack of a budget has caused us to scramble when bills come due, but for the most part ignorance has been bliss.

Enter Dave Ramsey. I knew when my husband picked up Mr. Ramsey’s most recent book on teaching your kids how to be smart with money our budget-free days were numbered. (For the record Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze is a great book and a highly recommended read for parents with kids of all ages.)

As my husband closed his book and looked me square in the eye, I knew I didn’t want to do it, to look at our spending, to workout a budget, but I also knew he was right.

Together we sat down at the kitchen table, Chris with his laptop, and me with our most recent credit card bill, a yellow highlighter, and a knot in my stomach.

Line by line we went through the bill, entering each expense in a spreadsheet. Forty dollars here, ninety dollars there; we worked our way through to the truth of our finances.

In the end the numbers weren’t pretty but they gave us a clear picture of where we are and what we need to do.

It wasn’t an easy experience. Start to finish it was a tough thing to do but to be honest, when it was all said and done, I did feel a peace, perhaps even an odd since of joy because we did the right thing. We did something good and healthy for our home, our family.

Setting a budget…

Eating healthy…

Choosing to exercise…

Asking forgiveness…

Inviting your neighbor to church…

Speaking the truth, in love, to a friend…

Doing the hard things is never easy and rarely is it fun. But it’s needed, and necessary, and it comes with it’s own reward.

In her book, Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist writes,

“I resist and kick at discipline every chance I get, and then when I break down and do something hard, I find that it builds something in me, that it makes me stronger, not just in that area but in all sorts of areas.

Spending beyond your means…

Grabbing a bag of chips…

Watching television…

Hardening your heart…

Avoiding your neighbor…

Turning a blind eye…

All of these things are easy, but where is the reward?

Hard things define us, they make us who we are, they make us the best we can be.

Whatever the hard things are in your life today, don’t procrastinate, don’t put them off. Make the right choice. Do the right thing. And live in the peace, live in the joy, live in the reward of doing what you didn’t want to do but chose to do anyway.

Do the hard things. Let them mold you, shape you, define you.

Let them chisel you out of the cold, hard stone into the masterpiece you are.