How Time Flies When Stress is Involved!

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Hi readers!  Long time, no blog post!  I’m truly sorry about that!  My life has been filled with lots of stress the last 3 months, but it’s getting much better.  I’ve been on the hunt for a job outside the home in addition to working on getting my life coaching website and business, Your Listening Ear, up and running.  Throw in content creation for a new course I’m launching in September and my own personal money worries and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a few stress-filled months away from the blog!

A job has been found!

The good news is that after pursuing a couple of other career possibilities, I’ve finally found the job I feel I’m meant to have.  I’m the Program Coordinator of a Senior Center about 45 minutes away from where I live.  I started the job last week and I absolutely love it!  It uses the experiences and skills I’ve developed leading programs in churches over the last 20+ years in a new context: non-profit agency.

The journey has not been easy…

At the end of 2016 I left a job in a church I loved because my 25-hour a week position needed to be cut to 10-hours a week due to a budget shortfall.  I was very sad about leaving people I loved (I’ve loved every church I’ve served and miss so many people from each one), but my husband and I felt I was supposed to resign and pursue my dream of building up this blog to make it profitable and start my life coaching business.

So I cashed out my small Roth IRA with the expectation that it would cover my lost income for the next 6 months and that would be plenty of time to make money with my blog and life coaching business.

Neither turned out to be true.

I found there was so much to learn about blogging and website building.  It took a LOT longer than I anticipated to create the content needed to launch the blog and get my life coaching website, Your Listening Ear, to the point where I could show it to prospective clients.

The fact that doubt and fear kept creeping in certainly didn’t help.  After all, who would want to read my blog?  Who would PAY MONEY for my life coaching services?  Would anyone other than friends and family who are personally known to me be interested in what I have to offer on my blog and through my business?

Honestly, questions like this paralyzed me.

Then the money ran out.

4 months in, the Roth IRA was gone.  We had a couple of unanticipated, expensive repairs on our home and vehicles which used the money that was originally going to fund us through June 2017.

Thankfully, just as the money ran out, 2 opportunities to make some extra cash came my way within 24 hours of each other.

A friend of mine who is a pet sitter asked if I could help her occasionally with pet sitting when her schedule got too busy to serve all the clients she had.  Then a neighbor told me her nanny left and she was looking for someone to watch her children before and after school 3 days a week.

I was able to take both jobs.

There were days when I I had no idea how I was going to pay for gas for my car and I would get a text asking if I could help with a last-minute pet sitting job.  I sold off most of my purses and many household items we didn’t need or weren’t using to pay a few bills when there was a shortfall financially.

Every time there was a need, money appeared.

God provided for my family’s needs, even when I had no clue where the money was going to come from.  Not once was a bill paid late, nor were we without food, or gas for our vehicles.  Sure, we cut back tremendously on how much food we bought at the grocery store.  I made sure we always used up leftovers instead of allowing them to go bad and throw them out.  We completely cut out convenience store trips (though I love a good Wawa run-those of you in the greater Philadelphia area will understand!) and eating out.

We used to waste so much.

What I came to realize through this experience is that we used to waste so much!  We wasted food.  We wasted toiletries.  We bought things we really didn’t need.  We didn’t have much to show for all that credit card debt we’ve accumulated the past 12 years.

The good news is, we’re going to be just fine.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I have started a new job.  The pay is comparable to my old job but the hours and commute are much longer.  I don’t mind that, though, because I’m confident I’m where I’m supposed to be.  I have lots to offer the people at the new job and I have already received so much from them.

Without weekly money worries, blog ideas are flowing again!

So I’m back on track with my original plan to make money with my blog and life coaching business.  I have a plan to continue content creation for a couple of courses I want to offer as well as themes for group coaching online and blog posts that will be helpful to you, my readers.

How I handled stress effectively.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t always handle the stress of our financial situation and exploring who I am without identifying as a church worker very effectively.  However, there were a few things I did to cope that got me to where I am now.

1. I asked God for help.  I KNEW I wasn’t going to be able to do this on my own.  Even with my husband and I as a team, it was still going to take a lot more than either of us knew how to do to get us through. 

2. I read devotions daily.  By going on my phone daily and reading several different devotions, it reminded me that there are much more important things in life than the state of my finances.

3. I wrote down things I am grateful for in my day planner.  Every day I wrote down something I was grateful for.  Sometimes it was a specific thing that happened or it was a way I saw the world differently.  When I felt down or times got really rough I was able to look over the abundance of planner entries to see how many wonderful things were taking place in my life that didn’t involve money.  However, some of them did involve money! 

4. I looked for alternate ways to make money.  Selling off all the purses and wallets I wasn’t using or madly in love with, as well as selling off things like the microwave we used in our former rental house that we no longer needed (thank goodness for under cabinet microwaves!) and clothing that I wasn’t using (thank goodness for the second-hand clothing store!) was one way I made extra cash.  I also use a number of apps where you can make money, including Ebates, Ibotta, Lucktastic, Shopkick, and Swagbucks.  I had been using those apps so I could make a few hundred dollars to pay for Christmas presents for the kids, but when the money was needed, I cashed most of them out for payments to PayPal.  Thank goodness!  

5. I reminded myself to rely on God’s provision.  I trusted that God was in this with me and God had a purpose and plan for this struggle, so if that was really the case, I had to trust God and not rely only on my ability.  EVERY time I trusted God’s provision, even if I had no clue where the gas money or bill money was going to come from, God provided.

6. I asked myself if something I wished to buy was a want or a need.  Every time I felt sad about the extras I couldn’t give my kids, I reminded myself of Wants vs. Needs.  My 8-year old daughter stood in Walmart with me one day and told me it was okay not to buy a specific item for her because it was a want, not a need.  Lesson learned.  

7. I looked for jobs during the entire time I was unemployed.  Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re unemployed, finding a job needs to become your full-time job?”  That was my motto.  I looked at and applied for pretty much every job I felt I was qualified for, even if I didn’t think it was a job I particularly wanted at the time.  I figured I could take a job that wasn’t great and keep looking for something better.  I also felt that God had a place for me and if I applied to everything I could, God would sort out the jobs.  And I can honestly say that’s exactly what happened.  Even if a job was one I thought would pay well and I was well-qualified for, I didn’t want to fall into the trap of going to a well-paying job just for the money and ending up miserable.  When I applied for the job I’m currently in, I also applied for a job I was really excited about initially and I thought would pay very well.  It was a Pastoral Ministry Coordinator for the local branch of a multi-state Senior Living franchise with LOTS of money.  I was initially disappointed that I didn’t hear from them, but after accepting this job, I was grateful they didn’t contact me.  Friday I got the “We regret to inform you…” email.  They did me a favor.  I’m where I’m supposed to be. 

8. I leaned on my husband as much as possible.  The only thing worse than dealing with stress is dealing with it alone.  My husband was a huge support!  He listened, he wiped my tears, he reassured me, he gave me hugs, and he believed in me the entire time.  That is a priceless gift.  My hope for each one of you is that you have one person in your life who does the same for you.

What stressful events have you experienced in the last year?  Share your experiences in the comments below.

Your Gentle Nudge: How do you handle stressful events or experiences?  Are you able to see a purpose for your experiences?  As you look back on the event(s), what did you learn from it?  Take a look at your current coping strategies and find at least one new coping strategy to add to your toolbox.  Be sure to download the free list below of 99 Ways to Deal With Stress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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