Figuring out a budget when living on faith: 3 journals that define my/our life

I’ve written before about two journals which help me get through the day: one is an “obedience” or “execution” journal (e.g. the things I have on my plate to do), and the other is a “gratitude” journal. You can read more about those journals here. The execution journal is based on “Hacking a Moleskin,” and the Gratitude journal is based on Ann Vosskamp’s book “1,000 little gifts.”

Part of the problem of the missionary life is that, of course, it is supported by contributions. We can set lovely budgets and people can partner with us in ministry, but if action doesn’t follow promises then pretty shortly budgets are meaningless pieces of paper. And for many, you can set a budget, but you won’t always “reach it.” For many people who live this crazy life, it’s difficult to figure out a budget or plan long-term strategic projects.

We’ve started a new journal which hopefully will help us: a “blessing” journal. I’m sharing this here because it might help you. The principle is fairly simple. We get a cheap notebook and we write down in it the things that are “needs”. This is a little tricky to define. Here’s sort of how we’re doing it now:

  1. Need = anything in Ramsey’s “Four Walls” (food, shelther, clothing, transportation) + Medical + Kid’s Education.
  2. If it’s in the “Four Walls,” we generally just do it without writing it down in the book.
  3. If it’s something that we do consistently (but not necessarily monthly) we just do it without writing it down in the book (e.g. household cleaning supplies or once-a-year car inspections).
  4. If it’s something big that’s outside our expectations (and our budget) then we write it down.

The idea is pretty simple: we know that God knew about the need before it ever hit us. We expect that he is bringing the resources to meet the need. So by writing the need down, we have a visual record of when we discovered the need, and when it was fulfilled. Hopefully this will become both a prayer journal and a record of God’s faithfulness over time.

The benefit of this kind of thing is that it becomes a written memorial. It becomes easier to trust God when you have a reminder you can go back to of all the times when he was faithful in the past.

Do you do something similar? Might this help you?

Justin LongFiguring out a budget when living on faith: 3 journals that define my/our life