Everything around me seemed to be leaking – and I was out of options.
I stared at my computer and the price per troy ounce the silver I had spread out around me might get me. It might pay the mortgage for a month. At that moment, might seemed better than nothing, but it was not enough.
We started struggling after the economy crashed in 2008. I missed the signs of the upcoming storm – being distracted by things immediately around me. I was not prepared for the foundation I had built to crumble around me and to crumble so quickly.
But it did.
We clawed and pushed our way through the next six years. Troubles continued to pound us down and we continued to find the strength and courage to stand back up and move forward.
It was not the first time.
The tornadoes of April 27, 2011 crushed our home and could have crushed us. The experience I had gained writing insurance content for online companies helped me handle the disaster without despair. The lessons I learned from the people who had gone before me allowed us to be insured in such a way that our home was rebuilt even better than it had been before the tornadoes.
My mom visited our new home twice before her health deteriorated to a point that she could no longer come over. She passed on March 17, 2012. The heaviness of the situation threatened to bury me. My friends and my family gave me the support and encouragement I needed to dig my way out and keep going.
We continued to inch our way through – despite the obstacles that continued to go up.
And then we hit a wall.
Looking at our budget on paper never had made much sense. The income and the outflow do not mash. I cut the outflow all that I can. I set up a pantry challenge a few times a year so that I can skip a month of grocery shopping. I did all that I knew to do to make it work out.
But it refused.
That is when I found myself staring at the silver handed down by my grandmother and my mother trying to determine if I wanted to sell it to a company online or sell it to a local dealer that would melt it down.
The reality hit me. Even if I sold the stuff around me, it would not fix the situation. Until I fix the situation, I will be left trying to bail out the boat with a spoon – and that just does not work.
FIX THE LEAK IN THE BOAT
1. A budget tells the truth so it is high time I believe it. Although we have been blessed to have unexpected money show up just when we needed it most, that is not the answer. Yes, I know that God can do amazing things. Yes, I know that God owns it all. Yes, I know that He often does things in ways that make no sense in this world. I also know that He expects His children to be wise in the plans they make and the steps they take. Our budget says that is not happening and so we MUST adjust.
2. Bring in more money. I have wished and hoped that my books would sell more copies. I have asked people to share their experience with the books so that the word of mouth would increase enough to sell my books. I have taken out ads and tried new directions to publicize my books. The income from my books is not even covering the experiences involved with the books. It is not the answer. Admit that what you are doing is not working and look for a different direction. It may take a more traditional route for now, but something needs to give until the leak gets fixed.
3. Cut expenses. We have cut our outflow to the bare minimum, but it may be time to cut away even some of that. Things that we “must have” are items that we have lived without in the past (albeit a past that did not actually include the possibility of said items). We could survive with a few more cuts even it those cuts might cause some serious pain.
Until the bottom line falls into the black, things have to continue to be adjusted and changed. There is not easy button and no magic beans. It takes choices – sometimes hard ones – to make change happen.
I may end up selling some items in the long run or the short haul or somewhere in between. No matter what actions I take, recognizing the need to fix the leak in the boat will get me a long ways toward having a successful journey once again. For the long haul, my trust will always be in God and along the way I will continue to make plans that will reflect on me as a wise and faithful steward.
Are you struggling in your journey? Share your thoughts, ideas, and even heartbreaks. Sharing gives us the opportunity to work through our troubles. Sharing helps us connect with each other. Sharing makes it easier to understand the issues by letting them out.