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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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109 Comments

  • Susan E. says:

    Prayer. And lots of it!

  • Rebekah U. says:

    This is such an encouraging post. “Be content with what you have!” Although it seems disheartening to stay in the same situation for a long time, enjoying the things you currently have is more fulfilling than getting what you want. There will always be things that you do not have and want. Learning to be content with what the Lord has given you will always be useful.

    • Melissa Z says:

      In addition to “Being content wit hwhat you have”, I would highly suggest spending as much time as possible with like-minded people. People who understand your goals & live a similar lifestyle. It really helps to have friends that you feel absolutely no pressure to compete with/keep up with in terms of lifestyle.

  • Davonne says:

    Very, very good post! We are so blessed to have the basic life necessities met – it’s humbling to think about.

  • Jessica says:

    Great post! Thank you for the encouragement. Unfortunately, my husband and I both work full time and I fall into the trap of convincing myself I “deserve” or “have earned” certain things. While I pay in cash it is certainly well spent.

    I am inspired to sit down tonight with our big goal- paying for a car in cash- and work it out over time.

    Thanks again!

    • Melodie says:

      The more stuff we have the more stuff we have to be responsible for. The more responsibility, the more worry. I know this seems backward, but there are perks to living simply. Even renting is a blessing sometimes. For example, at this moment, it’s nice to think that while hurricane Irene aims directly for our neck of the woods, the shingles on the roof are not going to be my burden this year.

      The way mortgages are flipping upside down and backward on so many people these days, I’m really thankful to be renting. Most of our friends who own are constantly moaning about the loss of property value lately. A couple of them are in the market to sell, but can’t seem to get a bite. They want to move out of state, but can’t afford to without selling. I’m glad I’m not in their position. I would not want to have to be stuck with a mortgage that locks us into one place. We can pick up and go wherever the Lord sends us at any time because we are not tied down.

      Be thankful for the position you are in now. And keep your chin up. My guess is, we are not at the bottom of the economic downturn yet. Housing prices are likely to go lower: at which point you may find you actually can afford to buy at a much lower price.

  • kym says:

    prayer and faith……Just KNOWING that God provides and knows what’s best for you, and that your prayers WILL be answered in HIS time. I’ve learned that when I give a situation to God, it’s in His hands, and I no longer have to worry and get stressed out about it.

  • Grace S says:

    I agree with the no window shopping rule. We are currently saving for a new to us car. I do check out craigslist on occasion, but it’s more to make sure that the price we have set to save for is current. Since I know it will be another year or so, I’m not getting emotionally involved and falling into the trap of “oh I want it right now…” I’ll get my car, and you will get your house. More importantly it will be the RIGHT house and one your can afford. That is worth it!

  • Mom's Plans says:

    Thanks for the Q & A. I desperately want a house, but we are not yet ready to have one (probably in another 3 to 5 years). I have been stopping at open houses lately, but you are right, all it does is breed discontent. I’ll stop doing that now and instead focus on taking the right steps to home ownership.

  • Diane says:

    Be content with what you have all while hitting your small, manageable goals (saving 100 dollars/month or whatever works for you). So thank God for the place you have to live in now, renting isn’t wasting money, it’s giving you a place to live and maintenance is much easier than owning a house!

    Sometimes I want a house with 2 bathrooms but I have to tell myself we are thankful for the one we have and it’s easier to be thankful and content than to decide we don’t like our house because it’s small or whatever else (if we wanted to nit pick, we all could finds things we don’t like about what we do have and think about what we don’t have).

  • Sheila says:

    Thought I would mention this too: fix up what you do have. I am currently saving up for a new couch to replace our 13-year-old one that has gone through 4 kids. A couple of seams had started to open up on it recently and really made it look pretty trashed. Well today I got out my sewing machine and sewed up the cushions that were needing help and it made a huge difference! To look at it now that I’ve repaired it, it doesn’t look that old at all (but it doesn’t seat all our family of 6). If I really got ambitious, I could also replace the the foam in the seats rather inexpensively. Hopefully the new seams will hold though till we have finished saving for the new one!

    • Along the same lines – it is amazing how a fresh coat of paint can refresh the look of a room. I often see mistinted paint for $5 a gallon, it makes a huge difference in our apartment to have a wall color other than beige. Well worth the $15 I have spent on mistinted paint.

  • Diane says:

    and please don’t discount how wonderful it is for you and your family for you to be at home! That is a wonderful priority and one you are living right now, not someday, and that is so good for your whole family.

  • First of all, let me say that the years will go by faster than you could ever imagine. It may not seem like it now, but trust me they will.

    It’s hard when you want something so very much but it just isn’t possible right now. When I get in those situations I look around at what I have and realize that there are trade-offs I may not be willing to make. For example, you could probably get your house a lot sooner if you worked but staying home is more important to you. When you feel yourself in a state of discontentment just look at your kids and remind yourself that the sacrifice of getting the house is sooner is worth it to stay home with your kids.

    I would also agree with Crystal to not look at houses while you can’t afford them. My husband and I are still in our ‘starter’ house 18 years after we moved in. We periodically talk about getting something bigger and better but then realize we’re content where we are and appreciate the other things we are able to buy. Because of this we choose not to go on any of the annual tour of homes or go through open houses. While I love to look at houses I don’t want to compare the house I live in to other houses because it will cause discontentment that I don’t normally feel.

    Hang in there, you’ll be in a house sooner than you think.

  • Amy says:

    I love the idea of breaking out your goals into smaller goals! We do this and it really helps us see what we need to do down to each week sometimes to hit them!

    We also have found it helpful to make a poster board showing your progress with key things on their to keep you motivated. We kept this in our closet so we could see it but it wasn’t open to guest in our home. It really helped us keep in mind why we are saving and how far we had come from the previous month!

  • grace says:

    this is awesomely timed post for me. We have been longing to move into a house of our own for a couple years, without waiting for Gods timing. Thankfully he didnt open any doors and glued shut the couple we were trying to pry open. We still rent, are really overly cramped, and dream of the day we can move 12 hrs away to be close to family. However, we know that day is not for at least another year. Its hard not to be itchy or even discontent (we have as many bills as we do income so its impossible to save but find ourselved dipping into our down payment fund every month 🙁 ) On that note I started reading Dave Ramseys book Total Money Makeover which seems really good thusfar. Thanks for the encouragement. Its been a rough week and I really needed it!

    • Brooke says:

      Grace,
      I just wanted to say that I have taken the Dave Ramsey course Financial Peace University and it has really changed our lives. My husband and I no longer disagree about our finances and purchases, because we set goals every month and work together to meet them. I now encourage everyone to attend this course it they at all can. Churches everywhere offer it throughout the year. I am actually starting it again tonight as a refresher course to get me fired up again about saving and conquering our debt. 🙂
      If it is offered near you, I highly suggest that you and your spouse take the course together. It will do great things for your relationship and your pocket book. Have a great week!

  • I loved this post. These things are lessons that many, many people in the world need to learn. Being content with what I have and not window shopping for the next thing is really what keeps me from being impatient. I just busy myself with my job (raising my kids) and I really find that I have very little time to think about what I don’t have (well, except for thinking about the sleep I don’t have…).

    God makes things available on his own timeline. It’s our responsibility to do our part (by saving and making our way towards our goal) but God will bring things to pass at exactly the right time. It’s hard to remember that when you feel like it’s the right time on your timetable, but we need to remember that it’s God’s timetable that matters. Have heart, God knows what you need and won’t let you down!

  • Maryalene says:

    I think #2 and #3 are soooo important. Nothing makes me feel worse about myself than dwelling on what I can’t have. Or it leads me to make bad choices. I get in a funk about our small, cluttered house and then run off and buy something I don’t need to make myself feel better. Then we end up just farther behind our goals.

  • Tina says:

    Thank you for this post Crystal. We have been struggling with being in a location far away from family and friends. We are unable to move because the job market is not great at the moment and are struggling with patience. God is on our side, but it isn’t always easy to see this when you occupy thoughts of “what could be, what should be.” I found your post to be very encouraging. Thank you!

  • I do find the first one really great one. If we can break a big goal in to small steps of goals then achieving each small steps would bring in joy and a believe that progress towards the ultimate goal is on track.
    Since your mind is the only barrier, overcoming that barrier is utmost important.

    If you can control your emotion, you can control your cash.

  • Crystal summed up most of what I was thinking as I was reading! 🙂 We are in a similar situation and I just try to remind myself that God is teaching us things throughout the experience. It might sound corny but the journey is just as meaningful as the destination. And I so applaud you for what you’re doing by saving on a modest income with small children. It’s not easy!!

  • Cindy says:

    Well, I don’t like to tell on my dad, but since he never reads MSM, I guess I can get away with it just this once. One thing that contributes a lot to my patience in reaching our goals (and man, is this ever taking a long time) is seeing where my dad’s impatience has gotten him. If you’re unwilling to save for big purchases, and prefer to go into debt for them, you’re doomed to spend your life worrying about how to finish paying for things you’ve already worn out. I’d rather wait and have a home of my own and nicer stuff without the worry. :0)

    • Angie says:

      Cindy, your reply really struck me. There is so much wisdom in learning from those who have gone before us. This sentence “you’re doomed to spend your life worrying about how to finish paying for things you’ve already worn out.”, is so profound. I read it out loud to my husband, and we both just sat and talked about it for a minute. It is so true, and no one really explains consumer debt that way. We are working the Dave Ramesy plan, but this is a good reminder of why we are doing this, and motivation to keep going. Thanks for sharing. P.S I visited your blog and love it! I commented on your stay-at-home-wife post. Thanks again for sharing 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    When I am struggling with discontentment, I read Jeremiah 29. The passage is often used as a “graduation verse” but sadly that takes away from the beauty of the whole chapter. It speaks of enjoying the quality of life even though the Israelites were in bondage, not at home or where they wanted to be. I love the reminder that I should plant gardens, be faithful to clean my home and make it as pleasing as I can, and enjoy the life God has given me regardless of the fact that we struggle to make ends meet and rent an apartment.

    • Guest says:

      I’m going to go re-read that passage!

    • Maria says:

      Shannon, what a helpful application of God’s Word! I needed to hear that.

      If I allow my discontent with my imperfect circumstances to keep me from taking care of what I’ve got now (a mobile home with lumps, two old cars with issues, forest green carpet and ugly linoleum), why should I expect God to entrust me with something better? While we may think and plan that we will be moving on to something better in a certain amount of time, it may take years to get to the next house. In the meantime, it’s wise to make my present home as beautiful, efficient, and homey as I can. I like to view it as practice for when we have a home we actually love.

      This quote has been very encouraging and convicting for me:
      “Contentment is knowing that God has given me EVERYTHING I need for right now.” Doesn’t leave any room for fussin’.

  • Shelah says:

    Your #4 point is an awesome perspective!

  • laura says:

    great post. i couldn’t agree more about being grateful for what we have. I often find myself having a pity party & comparing myself to those who have more, but this post was an awesome reminder of how very blessed we are and how much we have to be grateful for

  • Several years we were drowning in debt. I had $12 in cash with which to feed my family of four for a week before any money was coming in. I was in tears and very upset. Fast forward to today where we are debt free and can afford many of the things we want. It is that past moment in time that I will never forgot and believe it or not will always treasure. Being able to muddle through and pull our selves out of debt gave me more pride than any one possession will ever give me.

    That purchase you want will someday be bought and then forgotten or taken for granted, however the time where you had patience and the ability to save, and learn how strong you truly are will always be with you.

    • This almost brought tears to my eyes. We were in a very similar situation four years ago. We’ve since taken Financial Peace & have completed baby step #3!

    • Jinna says:

      That is so true..everyone’s words are so true. Struck a cord. I believe everyone’s positive attitudes will give me the strength to start again. I was so stressed 20 min ago crying in the kitchen I came upstairs to cool down and saw this post and started reading. Thank you God and everyone here today…perfect timing 🙂

  • Rae says:

    I LOVE number 4 and that’s what keeps me going with the small “sacrifices” that we make. Most of my friends kind of look down on some of the choices we make and write them off as me being a cheapskate (they don’t look down on me as person, they are sweet, they just don’t understand why/how we do some of the things we do) which is right I am a cheapskate. But I am not making my family suffer by not having cable or having our A/C up higher than average or our heat lower than average or not having birthday parties every year. I am so grateful for what we do have and know we are so incredibly blessed. I try explaining that reaching our financial goals is 100% worth any little sacrifices we make to both myself and my husband. For me (not my husband, he whines sometimes still), all I have to do is look at a 3rd world country to feel spoiled and “rich”. I wish more people felt this way so that I wouldn’t have to explain my choices all the time to others 🙂

    • Lyn says:

      Rae, sadly some people will never get it when it comes to true perspective in life. Sounds like you are doing great, and even if others don’t support you, you know you are doing the right things for your family.

      I try to remind myself how rich I am (compared to the world), even though we live on a very modest one income. It keeps me humble and grateful. We have what we need a little bit more, and that is enough.

  • Thanks for the reminder! We’re moving, and that means choosing a rental in our new location. It is so easy to linger on the rentals that are out of our price range. But we want to be debt-free in less than 2 years, so that means tightening our budget and our square footage. I keep reminding myself that we have more than enough. Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else! 🙂

  • Mary says:

    We are patiently waiting to be out of debt and buy an acreage (which is going to be a while — we just started Baby Step 2!!!) I know that I will not have acres to plant any time soon, so I am “farming” our suburban backyard. We just recently got 2 hens, and I planted a massive garden. It isn’t my homestead in the country, but at least I’m not putting off my dreams for decades — I can do what I love, just on a smaller scale! 🙂 I have a friend who also wants land — she just planted a container garden using window boxes at her apartment! I know not everyone wants to be a farmer, but whatever it is you want to be, you can still do it — you just have to scale it back! My hubs has always wanted a college degree, so he is going for it, but because he has to work all the time for me to stay home, he is only taking one class at a time… Slowly but surely is the way!

    • Melissa Z says:

      I’m in the same situation as you. I want an acreage but it’s not currently feasible as I’m putting my husband through school. To keep me from becoming discontent, I try to learn as much as possible about gardening, keeping livestock, traditional food prep methods, ect. It keeps me busy & I feel like I’m working towards my goal of having an acreage/farm.

      • Amanda says:

        I’m in almost the same exact boat. We can’t afford an acreage right now but I really want one! So I’ve been gardening an reading about homesteading. I’ve found that even in our tiny backyard I can have quite a few vegetable plants and I’ve even used a raspberry bush in my “landscaping.” It has made me realize that I still have a lot to learn before I’m ready to have an acreage and that if I could afford it now, it probably wouldn’t be a blessing because I would be so overwhelmed.

  • Jessica says:

    Crystal,

    I can not begin to express my gratitude for this post at this exact moment in time. Its amazing how God works. I have been going through a very difficult time (well for me personally) and its been a struggle to not be angry all the time. I moved trying to downsize and reduce expenses only to end up in a place that looks nice but nothing works (AC, Plumbing, door locks, ect). I absolutely love my job but am in a difficult season and its wearing me thin. I haven’t made any new connections in my new town which is also bringing me down also. This post helped remind me that this is temporary and that it will pass. While the topic of a home is not something even on my radar right now your advice can be applied to other aspects in my life. I’m just really hoping that all these trials will lead to a wonderful future.

    Thank you!

  • Lisa says:

    Patience is not a trait I’ve even come close to mastering yet and in a world full of consumerism it’s hard not to want something and want it now. My husband and I have been married for going on 12 years now and when we were first married we bought a condo that we couldn’t afford. We ended up selling that condo only a year and a half later and hoped that after renting for a while we would be able to buy a house. But God had other plans and we had some hard lessons to learn. Throughout the following years we had cars repossessed and bill collectors calling every waking moment. It was stressful and demoralizing and caused us to take a good hard look at our lives. What were we willing to sacrifice for those “things” and how much stuff would it take for us to be happy? The answers didn’t come easy and it was so, so hard to be patient when all around us people were buying new cars and new houses. I felt sorry for myself and more times than not tried to push the limits but nothing ever panned out. Every door was shut and every window sealed up and so I had no choice but to submit to the idea that our family would be “long-term” renters. But daily I still scoured the internet for houses and it just further bred the discontentment. I gave in because I had no other choice, but by golly, I wasn’t going to do it willingly. I was angry-that other people had this or that and that I couldn’t have it too. Those years were horrible, not only for me, but my husband and four children too. I was unhappy and ungrateful and downright depressed. I can’t say at what exact moment I finally figured out that “stuff” isn’t what makes you happy, but at some point God decided to hit me over the head and knock some sense into me. People like Crystal and Dave Ramsey were certainly part of it and so the long road of living within our means began. We started paying off old debts and got to a point where we were able to actually pay our bills on time. People talked about how strange it was for us not to have new cars or go on vacation and that’s when I knew we were headed in the right direction but it wasn’t always easy. Every day I asked God to give me the patience I needed (while slightly encouraging him to hurry the heck up). And there were days where I would just break down in tears, but God was always there to hold my hand and shine a flashlight down the foggy path. The bottom line is patience is never easy but having a little faith in God’s directions is what will guide you along the way. In the mean time, make your rental house your own. Paint if you can, add your own touches, and make it your home. You will be happier, and so will your family. As for me, eleven years after selling our condo, we are finally closing on our first house this Friday. It’s small and outdated, but I know God and his timing is always right.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, I find myself feeling angry and depressed a lot. Your story has reminded me that Im not the only one feeling this way or going through hard times. Thanks 🙂

  • Kathy says:

    I have a lot of those moments. It helps to live in the moment. God will set you on the right path but first you have to learn patience. It is a very hard lesson to keep in mind. I also a get it done kind of gal. Every time I push, I get shoved back into the ground. I feel blessed for all I have. I sometimes want that nice iPhone but then I think of the extra bill and I am happy with my tracfone.

  • Jenni says:

    It was funny to me the way the question was worded, because the first thing that popped into my head was that, “Well, how do you ever develop patience without waiting?” Patience to me is like a muscle that can only be built up by the exercise of waiting. Unfortunately, it often feels like a marathon of waiting, but still, that’s how it happens, at least for me.

    I had the opportunity to work overseas for five years in an area of the world (Uzbekistan) where many people didn’t have running water and only a few dresses/outfits to wear. Cars were a luxury item. Even though I lived among this, however, I still find myself discontent sometimes because it’s so easy to compare yourself to your family members/peers/living standards on magazines and television shows, etc. That’s why I enjoy reading blogs like this of others who are making sacrifices, choosing the less glamorous but more sustainable path.

    We used to be a two-car family, and planned on staying that way when we moved so that my husband could attend law school. But then, once we got to our new state, we wondered how hard it would be to just wait as long as possible and do the one-car family thing. It hasn’t been bad so far, and there is a relief in not having a big chunk of our savings locked up in a second vehicle (plus twice the risk of auto repairs, insurance, etc.) We also hoped to purchase a newer sofa when we got here (we didn’t want to move our old one), and yet when we got here, the previous owners of the house we’re staying in had left a so-so sofa behind, so I covered up the stained seat cushions with a cheerful quilt and realized how glad I was to have a sofa I didn’t have to stress about with little children. I guess my point is that there is relief in waiting just as much as there is stress.

  • Sarah says:

    I fully agree with everything you said! When my husband and I got married over 4 years ago, we set out a 5 year plan to become debt free and save up for a substantial down payment on a home. At this point we have one last payment on a student loan and are 3/4 of the way to our down payment goal. My patience comes from the fact that every penny we save gets us one step closer to having that home of our own that we have looked forward to for 5 years.

    One thing I’ve also learned is to not compare yourself to family or friends. You never know what situation others are in and even if it seems like your friends have bigger and better homes, cars, etc, they could be in debt up to their eyeballs and underwater in their mortgage, but you don’t know. You just have to focus on what you have in your life and not worry about keeping up with the Joneses.

  • Sharon says:

    Lean on Him. Start to envision where you are as where God wants you right now at this minute. Sometimes we are in such a hurry to complete and succeed that we speed by the blessings that we have right now in front of us. If you are in such a hurry to buy a house, get a promotion at work, get the children all potty trained, get dinner cooked and on the table…..etc….you miss the beauty of that moment, and the God that blessed you with that moment. Thank God for those moments, and you’ll find that it is those moments that make up your life and not what you’re waiting to accomplish and do and finish. Thank you Father for this roof over my head. Someone does not even have a home tonight, but you love me so much and care for me so much that you have provided me and my family with shelter tonight. And I rest in you because of your care. Thank you Father for this job that I have: the money that I bring home may not be much, but it’s enough -enough for food for my children, to buy a pint of my husband’s favorite ice cream to share, enough to pay my water bill for this month. Thank you for giving me enough. And thank you for not giving me too much too fast, because I don’t really know if I would be wise with it even I didn’t learn to appreciate the little I have right now. So thank you for giving me just enough to learn to be a good steward of what is really yours. Thank you Father for potty training. Thank you for little children that want to please me and toilets for them to sit on. Thank you becuase this is part of what I “signed up for” when I had children, and I know that each day is another day closer to no diapers -which means a little extra money too. Thank you for the opportunity to practice patience. Thank you for books to read with my children about this new stage in their life. And thank you for all the funny things they do and say at this time as we learn together. Thank you most for a little laughter in this time that seems to drag on forever but will really only last a moment. Thank you God for dinner tonight, for the food in my hands as I chop and cook, seperate and mix. Thank you for these hands that you gave me that can prepare food for my little ones. Thank you for recipes my husband enjoys. Thank you for the rich variety that I find in the stores each time I visit. Thank you for leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Thank you for your presence with me each day, even right now you keep me company as I prepare food alone in my kitchen. And ….. thank you for coupons (and the people that blog about them) becuase they helped provide just a little more food for my children’s mouths tonight.

    After all of this…….I think you’ll find, that the moment is perfect, your home is perfect. Becuase this is where He is, right now, with you. God allows us dreams and desires to propel us in a direction of his blessing and goodness that is waiting for you. But as you walk past those homes and dream about your own place, take time to thank God for his love for you and his wisdom in this moment, and you’ll find that patience is less about waiting and more about living in this perfect time -right now.

    There is a reason for each season, and only He understands that wait. Trust Him. And thank Him for this gift of time and season where you are.

    • Lyn says:

      So beautifully stated, thank you. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you for this reminder. I will be saying a prayer similar to it tonight.

    • Lindsey says:

      Ohhh….that was so wonderful. You really spoke to my heart, Sharon. Thank you! I had to repeat this sentence over and over to let it really sink in, …”and you’ll find that patience is less about waiting and more about living in this perfect time – right now.” I LOVE that. Even tonight I felt like I was rushing to get my kids out of the bath and ready for bed. I’m always in such a hurry with them it seems and yet, as I pray for patience, I need to be praying to slow down and live in the moment; for living in the moment doesn’t make me anxious for the next. Ah! Words to my soul.

  • Nicole says:

    I am a mom of 2 wanting a house for my family. On top of that, I am architect staying at home with my kids right now. Try for 2 seconds NOT thinking about something that is the lens in which you see life – design! I try not to think about what we don’t have, but my sketchbook would suggest otherwise. “Happiness” and a “home” is not always found in that perfectly designed house – as much as I want it to. My hope and trust is in the Lord, all that I have and where I am is completely in His trustworthy hand. We will have a house one day, but until then, I pray I receive His grace to get there. (That includes the disciplined act of saving the money and not spending.) Right now, I also need to focus more on the “home” I am creating. I have learned that over these last 6 years of marriage the memories I cherish the most have been when we have had even less. To more happy memories in our tiny rental house….

  • Vicki says:

    It was interesting to read the post. I would say we as a society need to get out of the mentally that your first home is a starter home. I am not sure why we feel like we always need more and bigger.

    We use to be 2 income, 2 car, home owning family. We gave that up for a better job for my husband and me staying home with the kids. We longer have a home or 2 cars. But we have manage quite well. We live in apartment close to work and we know we have the ability to just up and move to better opportunties if we are called.

    I would say don’t compare yourself and for sure set small goals. Show grace and have gratitude for what you do have:)

  • Tara says:

    Because of our financial mistakes, we have lived with my husband’s parents for the past 7 years. (And there’s no light at the end of the tunnel yet!) I find myself sometimes feeling sorry for myself then I stop and realize how blessed I am! God always supplies our needs. We may not always get what we WANT but He does see to it that we ALWAYS have what we NEED!
    Great, encouraging post! Thanks!

  • Audrey says:

    It’s funny how the grass always seems greener on the other side. I own my home (well, the bank still owns most of it!) and yet we bought it when the market was almost at its peak so now we’re upside-down by thousands of dollars on our mortgage. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and rent instead of buying and save up for a good down payment! We’re pretty much stuck in our home for now because there’s no way to sell it without taking a tremendous loss we can’t afford, but we’re very grateful to have a place to live in! You live and learn. 🙂 So keep saving toward that house, it will be SO very worth it!

  • The grocery ads came in the mail today, and I threw them out. I can’t afford to buy food right now, and knowing about the “great deals” that I have to pass up, on an essential–food–is very painful to me. It’s better if I don’t look at the ads, and instead look at what I have in my pantry and in my garden. If I look, I feel discontent.

    I know this if where God wants us to be right now. How much more we will appreciate things because we have waited for them. Here’s a little encouragement for you while you’re waiting.

    I agree with what others have said above as well. Be thankful for the place you’re in. Be thankful for the trial, because it is through the refiner’s fire that you become the woman God wants you to be.

  • cat says:

    Great post!

  • Dawn says:

    We worked extremely hard last year to pay off our second mortgage and become completely debt free other than our first mortgage (which we refinanced to a 15 year loan). We paid off $23,000 (not including principle payments) on a $75,000 gross income. One of the things we did was increase our gross income by $10,000. But we scrimped and cut back and lowered budgets lower than I ever thought possible. I made a countdown and hung it on our fridge so we could fill a little in each payment we made. We were blessed immensely.

    It was so hard being patient and saying no to myself. In fact I grumbled about it so much that when the end of the year came and we went as a family to the bank to make our last payment, there was no room for the joy to set in. My ornery attitude, didn’t allow my soul to rejoice. I have since decided as we have been working hard to complete Dave’s Baby Step 3 that there is definitely a need for balance. We are working the plan and the time will come and I need to just take time to enjoy each day in itself.

    One more thought: Our children, our home, our clothing and most prized possessions are all a loan offered to us from God so that we might have joy on this earth. Once I gave up the feeling of ownership of my stuff and my things, my desire to own more stuff decreased. His promise to give us more than we have room to receive was understood and my desire to give more increased. All that we can take with us from this life is the knowledge that we’ve gained and the relationships that we’ve made.

  • Elise Adams says:

    Really appreciated this article–especially the last paragraph. While we aren’t wrestling with impatience about buying a house I am incredibly impatient to get off government assistance AND finally just pay our own way! Yes, we are taking the steps. We have set out the plan (hubby in pre-nursing classes, I’m blogging/speaking/writing as fast as I can). But it is enormously taxing to still remain on food stamps, worrying about how to get my husband to the doctor without insurance…it’s enough to make me want to scream!

    But that last paragraph makes ALL the difference. Who am I to judge which road God asks me to walk as we crawl out of this hole? And we are so wealthy compared to so many in the world. Thank you for the reality reminder!

  • Becky says:

    Wow! Thank you for this encouraging post, Crystal. Your response really hit home with me. Reading your response and everyone’s comments has been a huge blessing to me!

    Lately I’ve begun praying that the Lord would help me, so that whether I have a lot or have a little, I would not be distracted from loving God and serving God. I’ve wasted so much time in anxiety, self-pity, and despair-inducing window shopping. Some of the decisions I’ve made in the past (trying to help resolve my financial problems) have only made things worse because those decisions were rooted in fear or made without seeking good advice.

    I’m recognizing that a lack of material possessions can distract me from living as I ought to live just as much as having too many material possessions can distract someone else from living as they ought to live. I’ve wrapped myself up in self-focused discontentment when I should have had the perspective in #4 of the advice above.

    There are several big things my family needs right now. (I say “needs” because these items aren’t luxuries, but necessities, in my opinion.) We are learning to wait for the right item, at the right price, and at the right time. Last week, after months of waiting, we thought we found the right van at the right price on craigslist, but it apparently wasn’t the right time because we didn’t get the van. I was so very disappointed. But, life has gone on without the van and we have been able to make do for a little longer yet again.

    I’m learning to draw closer to the Lord, and I’m trying not to rush ahead of His plan for my life. As I wait for things I think about God’s provision for me in times past. Although I don’t always understand God’s timing, I know nothing is ever provided “too late” on His time-table. I realize it is a blessing “in disguise” to be pushed to depend more on God when I have to wait.

    • Becky says:

      Others can say this so much better than I can, but I just wanted to add that I have come to realize that all the patience and strength I am developing as I learn from my financial struggles could end up really amounting to nothing in the long view of my life. These good qualities are nothing beside what I have in my relationship to God through Christ. When I consider my feeble attempts at personal growth (trying to become less self-centered and worried), it is nothing in comparison to all Christ went through to be my Savior. When I keep that perspective and look at Christ as more than enough for me, then I can wait for anything else.

  • Lyn says:

    I have found in my life that gratitude is key. When we learn to be happy with what we have and where we are at, there is a great level of peace that comes with this.

    It took us 3 years to get out of debt the 1st time. Then it took another year and a half or more the 2nd time. We scrimped and sacrificed with anything extra we had. I’ve lived frugally out of necessity pretty much my whole life and don’t see that ending. Such is life but there is still much to be grateful for. I don’t necessary feel that a life of being rich is a life of happiness. I have a sibling who is wealthy but is not really happy. I would rather be me than to be them and to have money, no time, and be miserable.

    It is normal for Dawn to have such feelings. The challenge is – what will she do with them. They will get there. Some things just take time.

    Your article was very good and I believe it can be applied to many people in challenging situations right now. It’s easy to feel down and to not feel like life is fair. Well, in reality, no it’s not. But we are all so much richer like you said than so many in the world. There is absolutely no reason not to be grateful in some capacity. Many may be broke in the U.S., but most truly are not poor. It’s important to not forget the blessings that we all do have. (A daily gratitude journal is something that can help to remind ourselves when we are having a low day or are not feeling patient, etc.)

    Focusing on what IS positive will go a long way in making the journey more enjoyable. Your suggestions of making the most of what one has are good, and something I try to do in my own life.

    Some suggestions I have are to maybe make weekly goals that are fun. Challenge the grocery budget and anything that is spent. Make or buy gifts from the heart for $5-$10 or less, date nights for free or very little, etc. Rearrange the furniture and use what you already have to spruce up where you live. Have the urge to shop? Go on a cheap spending trip to the local dollar store – setting a small limit for yourself. What other frugal things can be done to achieve their goals? Can any bills be cut back or eliminated? I do all of these things and more. Make frugal living a fun game and the journey will be more enjoyable. 🙂

  • Dee says:

    If God answers your prayer, He is increasing your faith.
    If He delays, He is increasing your patience.
    If He doesn’t answer, He knows you can handle it.

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for this. I needed this!

  • Asmith says:

    You learn patience in the process of waiting. No other way to get it. Trust that God is good and that he is for you.

  • Ashley says:

    Thank You very much for this post Crystal! It’s what I needed to stay positive and “calm down”. Patience is hard for me too. I have always said I would much rather have patience than have money or a vacation spot. Patience is learned. You can’t buy it. It’s one of those things that some people spend years trying to learn. Your faith really has me thinking “Do I need to turn everything over to God?” Maybe I’m not doing what he wants me to do. I’ve never asked.

  • This is timely advice – we signed a purchase agreement 2 weeks ago, and it looks like it is not actually going to work out after all (due to some issues on the sellers end.) I am sitting in my living room surrounded by boxes that I will likely have to unpack back into our small apartment next week, instead of into the large fixer upper with a huge yard that we thought would be ours. It is disheartening because it is unlikely that we will find another house for such a good deal in the near future, and it is so, so hard to be content with what you have when you were so close to having what you want.
    But it could be so much worse. I am truly blessed in the circumstances that I am in, even if they aren’t what I was hoping for.

  • Lynn says:

    I know for many people this seems like a very small change but…take your name off of catalog mailing lists. We are very fortunate and have a beautifully furnished (debt free!) home from my working days, but even I still can get a bit of the “I want” streak when I am being bombarded by Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc in my mailbox. Someone suggested removing my name from the catalog mailing lists (a lot of times you can do it online). Not only is it greener, but now I don’t thumb through these catalogs looking at the latest and greatest designs that I don’t have. Especially since something new will come along in 3 months!!! I found it is actually a great way for me to just be grateful and “in the moment” in my home instead of looking at all the things I don’t have.

    • Heather says:

      Totally agree. That seemingly small change makes a big difference in my opinion. Or throw whatever mags and catalogs come in the house straight in the trash. There is a reason why many magazines are very cheap or free these days: advertising. The costs of publishing are covered by the advertisements, and the advertisers buy the spots because IT WORKS. People want the stuff the see while flipping pages.

      I’m much more content when I don’t know about all the stuff I’m mission out on!

  • Martha says:

    My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory!

    Give thanks, share what you have, love the unloveable and you will be amazed!

  • What a great post. I thought the “Don’t Look at What You Can’t Have” advice was so spot-on. That’s one of the reasons I had to recently go through my blog subscriptions and unsubscribe from all those pretty-houses and pretty-clothes blogs. They just made me envious, which is completely unnecessary! Thanks for posting these kinds of posts that are down-to-earth, real, honest and God-honoring. They are appreciated 🙂

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