The Tortoise and the Hare, an Aesop Fable
One day a hare was bragging about how fast he could run. He bragged and bragged and even laughed at the tortoise, who was so slow. The tortoise stretched out his long neck and challenged the hare to a race, which, of course, made the hare laugh.
“My, my, what a joke!” thought the hare.
“A race, indeed, a race. Oh! what fun! My, my! a race, of course, Mr. Tortoise, we shall race!” said the hare.
The forest animals met and mapped out the course. The race begun, and the hare, being such a swift runner, soon left the tortoise far behind. About halfway through the course, it occurred to the hare that he had plenty of time to beat the slow trodden tortoise.
“Oh, my!” thought the hare, “I have plenty of time to play in the meadow here.”
And so he did.
After the hare finished playing, he decided that he had time to take a little nap.
“I have plenty of time to beat that tortoise,” he thought. And he cuddle up against a tree and dozed.
The tortoise, in the meantime, continued to plod on, albeit, it ever so slowly. He never stopped, but took one good step after another.
The hare finally woke from his nap. “Time to get going,” he thought. And off he went faster than he had ever run before! He dashed as quickly as anyone ever could up to the finish line, where he met the tortoise, who was patiently awaiting his arrival.
Slow and steady wins the race.
THIS. This sums up the past 9 months so perfectly. The tremendous advantage of the hare, the poking fun, joking, and scorning the tortoise and his long, slow, totally unexciting, non glamours journey, the distraction, instant gratification, pride, and lack of discernment of the hare, and patiently trusting in the hope that slow and steady does indeed win the race.
I’ve realized that we are a herd of tortoises living in a hare world. I have heard from more people more times than I can count something along the lines of “I don’t agree with Dave Ramsey”, which by the way is totally fine with me, but to my Christian friends: it is not about some dude and what he says, have you and your spouse prayerfully searched the Bible and intentionally sought to use your money accordingly? Without descending into a rant and giving examples, suffice to say we have felt and heard no small amount of opposition to our slow and steady, using money God’s way attempts at living, and for a people person like me that is hard! My women’s group is studying the book of Galatians and I have been so incredibly convicted and comforted by verse 10 in chapter 1:
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Also finding a new perspective that if I’m truly living for God’s call and not merely an outwardly “christian” life that looks and feels good, I will most certainly be persecuted for that. How many of you know that if your life is not making waves and facing opposition even from those close to you, you’re not really living for God but rather for yourself or the approval of people!?
2 Timothy 3:12 – Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I was pretty discouraged yesterday by how long this process is taking and overestimating my own ability (which is the definition of conceit) to fix that. In my head I really wanted to pay off all our debt, $50,000 worth, in 12 months! I told a sweet friend who is mentoring me and speaking truth into my life this goal and the personal pressure I was letting it bring and she plainly asked if pride was the reason for this goal? She was so right, seeking and having those who can speak real truth is more precious than gold!
I told Josh yesterday that I wanted to prove to all the people who doubt us and our financial plans and methods, that this works by becoming debt free so quickly. He encouraged me so well by reminding me of what I already knew, we are not doing this for “those people” we are doing it for God, and for our family. He also reminded me how far we had come, not using a credit card since before last September when we began, cash flowing a whole bunch of bigger expenses like medical and home and auto repairs, no longer living month to month like 76% of Americans, paying off $34,000 in debt, and working together as a team like never before. He also reminded me that for most with our income level and amount of debt, it takes about 2-2.5 years to pay off their debt. He is SUCH an amazing leader and partner in this, I am so incredibly grateful for the way he has swallowed his pride and been willing to learn, change, and take responsibility, and how he has been in the trenches with me, growing personally and standing up for God’s call on his financial life with me. He is a constant encouragement, praying with me, loving us so well, I’m so glad us two slow tortoises can crawl through this journey together!
So what else have we been up to the past two months? Well this is our shower. . .
It’s molding and rotted through to the foundation. So there’s that. This is one of those circumstances where we don’t have answers yet as to what/when we’re going to do with this, just a choice to be grateful. Grateful that we have another shower just down the hall we can use. Grateful for a home, for clean, running water, for the chance and ability to redo this bathroom and closet into something amazing, and for duct tape.
And then there’s this . . .
Slightly quirky, totally amazing Japanese book on decluttering and organizing. In a house full of projects to do and money not to do, I keep focusing my heart on being faithful and caring well for what I have. Without the distractions of always shopping and improving and consuming, I have been loving making a clean, uncluttered, organized, well cared for space to call home, it has been so rewarding! Also, with all the STUFF I’ve collected I have made over $1000 from selling it and was able to use that for some clothes for my kids, backpacks and school supplies for next year, and medical bills.
Also, in all transparency I have to tell you that in June Josh and I were not diligent about our budget meetings and watching closely over all those numbers. It was a pretty big oops, we’ve had to use a little of our savings to cover some things at the end of the month and were not able to put anything towards debt because of medical bills, which really, really bites. We mess up and make mistakes, but we learn from them and get back on the bike and keep pedaling, inch by inch, to that beautiful finish line in March! We messed up and you will too but it’s okay, we just shake off and keeping going. Slow and steady wins the race!