It's been a crazy month here in the Walker family. My car broke down, we discovered a water leak behind our bathroom wall, Nick's job has been unpredictable and now it's Christmas! Someone asked us the other day, "What do you think God is teaching you through all this?" I blinked a couple of times, unsure what to say to that. And now I think I've figured out why.
Until I was asked that question, I didn't even realize how crazy our month had been. All these challenges seemed small to me. Perhaps that's what God has been revealing to me - things will happen, but as long as you're prepared for the challenges, life won't seem so scary. Nick and I stayed up far too late last night talking about this and came to this conclusion:
It's important to have an emergency fund in the bank, but even more important to have an emotional emergency fund in your heart and mind.
Nick and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class a year and a half ago - just before we got married - and it immensely helped us shape the way we approach finances as a couple. If you're in need of some unifying of your financial habits as a couple, I highly recommend Dave's books, classes and website. His first "baby step" to reforming your finances is to put $1,000 in the bank to start your Emergency Fund. As he likes to say it, the emergency fund is a "Murphy-repellant". The fact is, stuff will go wrong... but will you be prepared for it?
What if we could implement this strategy to our marriages, other relationships and the rest of life in general? What if we stocked up our "emergency fund" so when crisis hits we aren't flying off the handle and throwing a pity party for ourselves?
I know my emotional emergency fund was not prepared enough for the news that I was pregnant with Owen. It took me a while to readjust my thinking to God's will at that time. However, I feel that in the following eight plus months I asked a lot of questions, read a lot of books and spent a lot of time listening to pastors and other wise counselors to emotionally and physically prepare me for Owen's arrival.
To me, that's how you stock up your emergency fund. By reading good books, conversing with people you respect and learning from others - through their successes and mistakes. If we could constantly be preparing for not only the next life stage, but also other life stages that might happen upon us suddenly - death of a loved one, children, sickness, financial crisis - our emotional emergency fund will be ready to be tapped into when those rough times come. And they will come, because we live in a fallen world and this is as close to hell as those of us who love Jesus will ever get.
So how are you preparing for the challenges ahead? Are you seeking to build up your emotional emergency fund?