As I mentioned yesterday in my reflections on this past year of unemployment, I’ve really learned a lot from working for myself. It’s been challenging, yet very rewarding.
1. Working for yourself brings tremendous freedom and little security.
As a guy, I love the freedom part. I love exploring new things and finding creative ways to provide an income for my family in ways that I really enjoy. Having no limitations feels great! However, about half of our income is unpredictable each month. My wife craves that security part, as most women do. We’re both learning the balance of putting each other’s needs first in this area.
2. Balancing time between work and family is difficult.
Except for when I’m traveling on a speaking or consulting gig, I’m home all day every day. The good part of this is that I’m very available for my family and it provides a lot of flexibility for my wife to run out and do her errands while the kids take naps and such. The downside is that there are no real boundaries between when I work and when I don’t. Work tends to just take over because I really enjoy it, because I feel the pressure to provide, and because I feel like I’m already the family all day. But thankfully my wife reminds me that I’m really not present around the house all day.
3. Although our income is unpredictable, God’s provision is always predictable.
It’s been so good for me this year to continually see God provide over and over and over again. The more I work for myself, the more confident I feel that work and money never comes as a result of anything we do, but only because of God’s blessing. I start every month thinking, “Okay Lord, how are you going to provide for us this month?” And every month He does, often in unexpectedly way that I ultimately have no control over. It’s such an adrenaline rush! The only time we’ve had to dip into our savings account this year was to cover my son’s emergency overnight stay at the hospital a few months ago, but even then we were blessed enough to replace those funds the very next month.
Living financnially dependant on God has increased my faith in so many ways. The Lord continues to amaze me and, while we don’t have a lot of margin, we always have what we need. My trips to Haiti two summers ago really continue to influence my perspective on just how blessed we really are.