Today I've been playing with some old friends . . . numbers. I used to play with them every day when I was an auditor. I would check to see if all the formulas had been correctly applied or whether someone had "accidentally" plugged a number to the wrong category. But because my job is not in the numbers field anymore, I only get to play with numbers about once a month when I'm balancing the checkbook and working on my personal budget.
But this month, I've expanded my budgeting project. Besides balancing the checkbook and preparing the monthly budget, I've completed a comparison of my expenses in 2007 and 2006, as well as a balance sheet. I've also entered all the figures for my taxes into Turbo Tax.
All these numbers projects are to help me set some goals for how to use my tax refund wisely. And, with Lent quickly approaching, I'm thinking that it is a good time to see what I need to fast from financially. Where am I spending money that I don't need to? That answer lies in the statements that I've prepared.
I realize that I don't dread these tasks; I look forward to them. Because the numbers speak to me. (And yes, I know that makes me a big nerd.)
And though the numbers don't care if I'm wearing make up or if I'm still in my pajamas after lunch, I can't completely relax around them. It's not always fun to see what the numbers have to say. After all, the numbers don't lie. And as much as I'd sometimes like to shift the blame for overspending in a certain area, I have no one else to blame. I have to face the numbers, confess my shortfalls, and make a plan for how to be a better steward of my God-given resources.
So, that's where I'm at in this process. Thankfully, I have a few more days before Lent begins on Wednesday to think through this. I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store and to seeing how my planning might pay off for it is written: "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty." (Proverbs 21:5)