Thursday, March 13, 2014

The 5th "P" in Our Rule of Life: Provider

The adage that it's easier to do something everyday than occasionally is definitely true for me when it comes to blogging.  Onward with the Boucher Family Rule of Life!

If you have no idea what I'm writing about, I decided as part of my Lenten mission to create a Boucher Family Rule of Life based on Holly Pierlot's A Mother's Rule of Life.  In previous posts in this series, I've written about:

Today, I'm resuming the series with the 5th "P": Provider. 

Today's "P" focuses on providing for the material needs of our family and being good stewards of our finances.  Today is all about giving our provider role the proper, regular attention it needs so that we can focus on the rest of our other "P"s: prayer, person, partner, and parent.  

"In God We Trust"

Yesterday, I mentioned Holly Pierlot's metaphor that parents mirror the work of God during creation in many ways (providing for the material needs of our family, creating a mini-paradise for them, etc.).  One of the ways we mirror God's work during creation is through our work and stewardship of the resources God gives us.  It is essential that we recognize a few things:
  • Work is GOOD!  God asked Adam to till the garden before the fall.  Work is good for us.
  • What we have belongs to God, so:
    •  we better take good care of it
    •  we better give God what He's asking
So, what does all of that mean?  Let's focus on a few key areas:

Our Home
We need to maintain it, improve it, and make it a "little paradise" for our families.  However, a "little paradise" has nothing to do with keeping up with the Joneses.  We need to be prudent, aware of our financial resources, and use some creativity to develop our own skills in creating a haven for our families.  If whatever we have belongs to God, then we can transform our attitude toward homework when we realize that we're doing it for the Big Guy and serving our families to reveal God's love.  Practically, Holly Pierlot gives some suggestions in making your home a "mini-paradise."

  • Do a "room by room analysis"
  • Decide:  What is the purpose of each room?  What does each room need for that purpose?
    • Place items in the places where they will be used
    • What do I need to remove?
    • What needs to be repaired?  (Remember to prioritize and budget)
    • What improvements would I like to make?
  • Housework
    • What housework needs to be done in each room?
    • How often does each task need to happen? (Daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally?)
    • Who is going to do the work?  (Delegate, teaching everyone that working is part of being good stewards)
    • When can I schedule these chores into our day?
    • Create a "home-and-property analysis" to discuss with Philip (the needs in and outside of the home including: lawn, garage, garden, repairs, purchases, future projects)

What does being a good steward look like?

  • Take good care of what we already have (proper maintenance, giving everything a "home," learn to repair things ourselves)
  • Budget, budget, budget 
    • How much money do we have?  
    • Where is it going?  
    • What's a want?  
    • What's a need?  
    • Are we tithing?  Are we giving God what belongs to Him?  Do we think it's "our" money?
    • What debt do we have?  
    • What bills do we have?
    • Are we saving?
    • How are we wasting money?  (Groceries, eating out, etc.)
    • How are we helping others?
  • Schedule time to:
    • File receipts
    • Record expenses
    • Review the budget
    • Plan future purchases
    • Review the payment schedules of any bills and debt
    • Revisit our savings and emergency fund
Are we taking it to prayer?
  • Pray that God to release us from the temptation toward materialism and jealousy
  • Pray for wisdom in creating & maintaining a budget
  • Pray for clear communication, goals, and teamwork between Philip and I in our finances
  • Pray for a transformed heart when it comes to the work we do 
  • Pray for peace and trust when we are in want
  • Pray for generosity when we are not in want
  • Pray for thanksgiving at all times
  • Pray for faith that God will not be outdone in generosity when we give Him what belongs to Him
Questions for you
  • What do you do when you're struggling to find value in your work?
  • Have you ever done a "room by room analysis" of your home?  Do you feel like each room has a specific purpose?  Is each room set up do accomplish that purpose?  What changes do you need to make?
  • Do you have the housework schedule in your head, or do you have the schedule written out somewhere?  Do you struggle to delegate tasks because you think they won't be accomplished properly?  Are you teaching your children to be good stewards through their participation in housework?
  • How are you taking care of what you already have?
  • Do you have a family budget?  Who handles the finances?  Is one of you "in the dark" in this area?  Have you considered having a regular meeting to check in?  Do you have a regular time to organize this area so that the monthly bills, taxes, etc. do not become an excessive burden?
  • How can you take this area of your life to prayer?

*     *     *

Now that I've tackled all "5 'P's," it's time to start sharing how I'm drawing up our Family Rule of Life. Chapter 8 of A Mother's Rule of Life is all about pulling your rule together.  This will involve: 
  • creating daily time frames
  • prayer time
  • chore time
  • meal prep/eating/clean-up
  • laundry
  • daily constants
  • filling time between meals
  • routinizing everything
  • organizing weekly & seasonal schedules
  • discerning through prayer when to add or remove something from the schedule
I look forward to hearing your answers to my discussion questions and getting feedback on Our Family Rule as I share it.

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