“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” (Doctrine & Covenants, 88:119)
A couple months ago I had the impression to create “a house of order,” and I kind of brushed it off because I am a single woman, living with roommates, and while I’m organized in some ways (making lists, keeping track of stuff at work, etc.), physical organization wasn’t something I was too concerned about.
(Also, when I thought of “house of order,” I thought of it in the context of a future home, belonging to either me as an individual, or with a husband and kids (hopefully); organizing toys, schedules, meals, and keeping a spirit of light in the home—all things that are either non-applicable or that I don’t have total control over while living with 2 other women who all have very different lives, schedules, and priorities).
A few weeks later I received the same impression but suddenly my view on “house of order” shifted. This time it became very applicable to the present—encompassing finances, nutrition, my daily/weekly schedule, cleanliness and organization, learning, and working toward goals. I tracked numbers, I kept written records. I didn’t do it all at once (so take a deep breath if you’re feeling overwhelmed, because I was starting to while writing it all out), but I started researching and implementing a new system once every few days. There was no timeline to this. I simply started working on a new thing, became familiar and comfortable with it, and usually within a few days felt like I could expand to more.
I want to share about this, because it matters to me, and because I feel like it contributes to me living an active lifestyle. I’m going to start with the area that I’ve probably been working on longest.
I made some poor decisions when I left a very stable (though emotionally draining) full time job in 2016 to pursue being a yoga instructor (with a very lacking business plan). I essentially lived off of savings for over a year and racked up debt quickly during the second half of that period of time. It could be much worse—I’m still surprised that I am not in more debt considering what I was working with—but debt is still stressful. Cutting back and feeling guilt for purchases is also stressful. Truth be told, I’ve held a lot of shame around finances for a long time.
My first step in a better direction came when I was invited to participate in the LDS Church’s Self Reliance Program, which was being piloted in the United States after having been used successfully in some poorer countries for a time. The program is 12-weeks long and consists of weekly small group classes. While there are four different classes I could choose from, I chose the Personal Finance class.
I loved the spiritual aspect of the class, and I learned that we can work with God to build up savings (an emergency fund), get out of debt, and be more able to lift up those around us through this—and that God wants all of those things for us! He doesn’t want us to feel burdened by this, and He also wants us to build the skills that come with being wise stewards over our finances.
I also started using the EveryDollar app to track my finances. I highly recommend this app, as it helped me to really see where my money was going and where I could cut back.
Getting spiritual again for a moment—I truly believe that when we do our part, God lifts us up higher than we could have on our own. When I began the self reliance program, I was working a part time job that I felt unfulfilled in and was not providing me what I needed financially. Over the past 6+ months since that first self reliance class, my role at work has grown and shifted into a position I love, with responsibilities I feel fulfilled with, and with greater hours and pay. It is a huge blessing, and I honestly believe it is as good as it is because I worked with God to make it happen, and I did what I could do on my end. Truly, truly.
My second step came a couple months after the self reliance class when I met Elisa, a financial planner. She offered to meet with me to review my finances. It was nice having this one-on-one time with someone who knew her stuff, had seen a lot of different situations already, and could give me insight and concrete ideas on how to continue to work toward my financial goals.
This is all still a work in progress, and I think it always will be in some way or another. But those are the tools I’ve used to become a better steward of my earnings.
Check back for more posts on how I’m creating a “house of order” soon!
To find more information about and resources from the LDS Self Reliance Program, click here.
Utah folk! To contact Elisa and schedule an appointment with her, click here.
Image from @YogiApproved.