Q&A Tuesday: How do I develop patience while waiting for something I really want?
After some financial difficulties, my husband and I are back on track in our lives. I am at home with the children and he is working very hard. I do clean a condo on the weekend for some extra money.
Since we are on a tight budget, saving for a home of our own is going to take some time, maybe even several years. I know you were once in this situation. How did you stay patient? I find myself dreaming of cottages and looking at the real estate listings. I don’t want to feel like I am “just passing time” until we reach our goal.
How did you find the patience when “waiting” for a home? You always seemed so at ease and calm during that time. -Dawn
First off, I will tell you that I’m not naturally a patient person. I’m a get ‘er done and get ‘er done now type of gal.
However, God has taught me a lot about patience in the last nine years of my life. Over and over, things haven’t worked out in the timing or way I would have chosen. There have been unexpected job losses, there have been multiple times when we didn’t know what we were going to do for employment or where we would be living the next month, there have been business failures, and there have been many other setbacks.
It’s been hard, but oh-so-good for me to have to learn to wait and to learn to embrace less-than-ideal situations because that was pretty much the only choice I had. And looking back, I can truly see that God’s timing has always been much better than my own timing.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn’t be writing this blog, I wouldn’t be writing a book, and my husband wouldn’t be running a successful law practice if it weren’t for the hard lessons we learned through times of waiting. So be encouraged; waiting can be a wonderful thing!
Here’s my advice for you:
1) Set Big Goals and Break Them Down Into Bite-Sized Pieces
Where do you hope to be in three to five years from now? Sit down with your husband and map out some specific written goals of where you want to be at the end of three to five years.
Then, break these down into small monthly and weekly goals. For instance, if you hope to have $15,000 saved in three years to use as a down payment on a home, you’ll need to save $5,000 per year. This translates to $417 you need to save per month, or around $105 you need to save each week. If, after reviewing your budget, you realize this is just not feasible, either revamp your goal, extend the timeframe, or find some areas in your budget to cut.
This specific weekly figure gives you parameters to work with. You now know exactly how much you need to save each week to hit your goal on target. You may not be able to hit the $105 figure each week, but proactively aiming for it will give you much greater momentum in actually achieving your goal.
2) Don’t Look At What You Can’t Have
You can’t afford a house right now, so don’t even look. Window shopping almost always evokes discontentment.
Avoid real estate listings, don’t stop at any open houses, and don’t shop for future furniture online. Just block all of it out of your mind right now–except to let it propel you towards your weekly and monthly goals.
3) Make the Most of What You Do Have
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, seek to embrace and make the most of what you do have right now. Maybe you are crammed into a crackerbox apartment. Rather than waking up and going through your day grumbling about the lack of space, let it motivate you to pare down, get creative with organization, and be thankful that a smaller home means less to clean and more time to spend doing things you enjoy.
4) Remember That You Are Richer Than Almost Everyone Else in the Whole World
According to statistics on WiseGeek.com: “Over three billion people — more than half the world population as of 2010 — live on less than $2.50 US Dollars (USD) a day. More than 80% of the population lives on less than $10 USD per day.”
Most of us know nothing about true poverty. Times might be tough, finances might be tight, and you may be worried about how you are going to stretch your paycheck to cover all the expenses you have, but most of us cannot imagine what it would be like to live without a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, shoes to wear, food to eat, running water, a working toilet, and so many other things things we consider necessities that many in the world would deem to be luxuries.
If you didn’t have to rummage in the garbage to scrounge up something to eat for lunch today, if you didn’t sleep on a cardboard box under a bridge last night, and if you own more clothes than you are currently wearing, you have much to be thankful for.
I’d love to hear from the rest of you: what helps you to be patient while waiting for something you really want?
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