Rolling with the Punches

If you are ever stuck in an elevator, what are you so passionate about that you will be sure to bring up?   For me, the answer is clear… YNAB: You Need A Budget.  I love it, and I am always eager to talk about why.   It is an amazing software program that I cannot imagine living without.  On the surface, it is a budgeting program as its title suggests, but, really, it is a way of life.  There are four rules, and if you follow them, the program does the rest.   And your relationship with money will never be the same.  The rules are clear:

1. Assign every dollar a job

2. Save for a rainy day

3. Roll with the punches

4. Live on last month’s income

I’ve tried a number of budget programs in the course of my life and most of them were simply a waste of time and effort without a lot of true benefits.  This one is definitely different.  It looks better, it works better and its impact is better. It’s even fun (yes, I am a geek).

My favorite rule of all is number three.  It’s the one that acknowledges up front that life doesn’t always go as planned, and that that doesn’t have to mean catastrophe.   As you go along in your month, you adjust the money you allocated for various items within your budget according to what is actually needed rather than what you imagined at the outset.  In past budgeting programs, this always seemed frowned on, leaving me to feel like something of a failure for not having accurately read the future.  With YNAB, not having it all right isn’t a problem at all. In fact, it is expected.  I have the ability to make the necessary changes and move on.  I don’t have to live under a burden of failure; I am set free.

Sunset for blog post Feb 2013Of course, this brings me to Jesus and this adventure we call life.  If we live it, we will make mistakes. We won’t get things right, we’ll fall short.  It is inevitable.  Mistakes are unavoidable—it is how we live and move, grow and develop.  And God loves us in spite of those imperfections, perhaps even because of them.  It doesn’t mean we are to stay stuck in our failures or not seek to learn from them or deny their presence. We acknowledge; we repent; we adapt; we try again.   We roll with the punches.  And somehow the sum total of that makes us who we actually are.

Professor and blogger David Lose wrote about making mistakes in his blog recently, and I’d like to share it with you.  It features a video about professor Chris Staley who talks about the ‘craftsmanship of risk.’  David writes:

But can we take it further? Can we imagine that mistakes are what makes us distinctive, unique, and in this sense crafted by God the way that cup Chris holds was crafted by an artisan with an off-center blue speck that makes it not just different but precious?

What do you think?  How do you manage mistakes in your own life?  How about in those around you?  Is there a difference between having your mistakes tolerated and having them embraced as a precious part of who you are in that moment?

I don’t want to be perfect.  I want to be real.  I don’t want to be right. I want to have permission and encouragement to grow.  And I want to be loved in and through the mistakes, learning and growing always.  What do you want?

Oh yes, and if you were in a stuck elevator, what would you talk about?