the goal before all other goals.
my husband wants to be a goat farmer in switzerland and live off the land. he doesn't want to live a conventional life. ever. he doesn't want to live for his career or money or a big house or new cars or anything the american dream entails. bryan would love to be in fulltime ministry or a missionary or move all around the country with various church plants.
now, you won't find me complaining when bryan starts some sort of career after he graduates college or when we have a house that isn't on cinderblocks. but i don't really want to live a conventional life either. i'm not convinced that means we're moving to switzerland and purchasing some goats. i'm not even convinced that means we're going to be fulltime missionaries and live off of support. i like money and stability and america. but i don't want to live my life for those things and bryan and i agree on that.
in order to keep ourselves accountable to our lifestyle goals, we've come up with a financial goal that directly affects all of our other financial goals:
give generously, all the time, no matter how much is in our bank account.
our idea is that if we're always giving generously, than we'll never get fully caught up in making more money, buying bigger and nicer things, or focusing on our careers.
my goal is to be transparent but not prideful. so while the below ideas are indeed things we have implemented into our own lives, i thought it would be fun to point out all the amazing examples that have influenced us to give more generously. we've had a lot of good examples.
tithing is a non-negotiable.
this one is exampled by many people we know. whether rich or poor, they are disciplined to tithe. my favorite story about tithing is when my best friends parents were teaching their youngest child about tithing. after he thought he understood he asked: "wait a minute, we give God 10% and then we get to keep all the rest?!"
giving to God's work is first priority.
i can't express how thankful i am to be receiving support from some of my dearest friends. i've been support raising for just two months now, but i completely under-estimated how cherished i would feel by receiving support-thank you! (you know who you are!) now that i am on the receiving end, i am all the more eager to give, give, and give some more whenever we get any sort of support letter.
not just money, but time and resources too.
two families stick out in my mind. first, my best friend's family practically always had someone living with them. i got to know so many college students/random people because there seemed to always be someone new living in there basement. it was awesome!
second, the family of one of my old roommates might be the most modest and generous family i know. they are so quick to borrow out their possessions, be it their truck, their tv, or their vacuum. seriously, they are ridiculous. it makes me jump at the chance to give away our stuff, too!
putting others before ourselves.
i can't think of anyone in particular that exudes this character, aside from the above people. i'm going to admit, sometimes we just like to challenge ourselves. sometimes, we write a check to someone in need just because it's a little uncomfortable. sometimes, we offer our home to people just because it might be a little awkward.
in our experience, giving can be challenging, uplifting, frustrating, annoying, and freeing. but i can't say we've ever had "giver's remorse." it's always good for us!