My church started off the year with a great sermon series called “Breathing Room.” The concept behind Breathing Room is that our lives are face-paced and hectic, and that we’ll burn out if we don’t slow down. You can watch all four parts of the series here, but I particularly love that part three talks about finding breathing room in our finances. Sometimes it can get awkward when money is discussed at church, but this message does a great job of showing that money doesn’t always raise the quality of our lives.
Hearing this was a great reminder that I need to avoid cultural pressures to raise my standard of living by spending money on things that I don’t actually need. While I’ve worked to advance my career and my salary has increased over the past few years, my standard of living has remained about the same. I like to think that the 70-something version of myself will be grateful that I’m using my extra income to save for retirement, instead of blowing it all on new clothes and takeout.
On the other hand, I’ve been kind of horrible at achieving the concepts mentioned in the other three parts of Breathing Room. From looking at this sporadically written blog I might appear to be a slacker, but I’ve been lacking margin with how I’ve been spending my time lately. We’re in the middle of a hectic season at work, everyone seems to be pregnant or getting married (and that leads to lots of baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties….) and my issue with learning to say “no” has led to a bunch of volunteer commitments. I’m tired.
I realized while eating a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies for dinner at 9:45 pm the other night that I should probably try to achieve more margin in all areas of my life…not just finances. Sometimes I think my life lacks margin because, as a woman without a spouse or kids, I wonder what my legacy will be if I don’t push myself to do everything. I’m starting to learn that it’s okay to turn down opportunities and to not be guilty about doing it. With the six-month countdown to my 30th birthday here, I’m still hoping to tackle much of my 30 Before 30 list, but also realize that my time is valuable and that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy it. It feels good to exhale.
Do you have breathing room in your finances and in your life?