Day 15: Focus Breeds Excellence

Dave Ramsey is known for one saying more than any other:

Live like no one else so that later you can live – and give – like no one else.

This one small saying has helped inspire millions of people to get on a plan, get out of debt, and begin managing their money wisely. Many people have a daunting amount of debt, and they can’t fathom how they’re supposed to get out. After all, a lifestyle of paycheck to paycheck is what got them into this mess in the first place. Or they’re like me, burdened by student loans used to get a degree that may or may not be profitable in the marketplace. How is anyone supposed to get out of debt?

Today, Dave shared the key to getting out of debt in one neat little quote:

Focus breeds excellence.

Focus is the secret to getting out of debt. For that matter, focus is the secret to accomplishing anything worth doing.

When I was getting out of debt, it was basically all I thought about. How can I cut back my lifestyle a little bit more to make extra headway? How can I earn a little bit more to throw at the debt? If I pay off this debt rather than that one, how much will I save on interest? It was pretty annoying to the people around me, I’m sure. (Sorry, Olivia!)

I threw all of my weight into this task. Graduation money, birthday money, freelance money, superfluous savings, everything got thrown at my debt. I kept $1000 as an emergency fund and tried to have a little fun here and there, but ultimately I was focused on getting out of debt.

The end result? I paid off $15,000 in 13 months. Some months, I threw gobs of cash at the debt, taking out smaller loans in one shot. Other months, I had overestimated income or underestimated my spending and just barely hit the minimums. I cut back and sacrificed. I cooked a lot of chicken and rice. I continued to drive my 1996 Camry (which just hit 310,000 miles today), rather than upgrading. I Grouponed and DIYed a LOT of cheap dates (Sorry again, Olivia!).

And I did it. I paid off my last student loan back in April and breathed a sigh of relief, basking in my accomplishment.

And then I set about for the next thing I would focus on. Because focus breeds excellence, and excellence requires growth.

What are you focused on?

Welcome to Tarsus

Welcome to Tarsus

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about myself, so I thought I’d give you all an update on my life and talk a little about what’s been going through my mind.

I’m in a weird spot in life these days. To most, it just looks like a time of transition, a change in life direction. To some, it looks like an opportunity to move in a new direction. To me, it looks like waiting on God’s direction while doing my best to bloom where I’ve been planted.

Let me explain.  Continue reading “Welcome to Tarsus”

Out of Season

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; deprive, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

2 Timothy 4:2

Never before have I felt so “out of season”. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not currently in vocational ministry, and I feel like God has been calling me away from vocational ministry for this next season of life. I feel aimless and uncertain. I don’t know where I fit, what I should be doing, ministry-wise. 

I am out of season, and this has had a very negative impact on my spiritual health. Since I haven’t had something that I was working toward, I let my training slip. Skipping my Bible for one day turned into two days, then a week, then three. I would come back and read again for a day or two, then lapse once more. 

But Paul instructs Timothy, a young pastor, to be ready “out of season”. I used to think that this meant to be ready even when I’m “off the clock”, but right now it feels like so much more. 

Be ready, when I don’t have to be. 

Be ready, when no one expects anything of me. 

Be ready, when I don’t seem to have a reason to be. 

Be ready. 

I must confess that through these last few months since my position came to an end, I have not been ready to teach. But I’m back, and I’m striving to be ready.

Second Timothy 2 shares the idea that a Christian (and the pastor specifically) is a like a soldier. Personally, I don’t feel like I’m on the front lines anymore. Or at least not right now. But, even being out of season, I’m a soldier. Perhaps the closest analogy to where I’m at is the national reserve. I’m here and could be called upon, so I must be ready. 

Hello Again

Normally, I would have scrapped everything and started over. Started a new blog, a new platform, begun again from scratch. That’s the way I’ve always done this whole “blogging” thing. I get really excited for a few weeks, months, or whatever, then peter off and end up not doing anything for two years.

This time, I’d like things to be different. These past blog posts are a part of who I was and a part of who I am. I’ll update some things, sure. The look and feel of the blog will be different. Because I’m different now.

I’m hoping that this blog will be an outlet. I don’t write very often, probably because I’m writing so much for school. But as I finish up school this semester, I’d like to have a place to record my thoughts and share them with people. A lot of these posts are going to be pretty short, although I know I can get wordy. I’m hoping that I’ll just be able to dump some observations or interesting tidbits as I journey.

That’s all I’ve got for now. So…

Hello again.

A Brief Update and My Heart for eX-Quitter

Goals are both the nemesis and biggest aid for ex-quitters.
Goals are both the nemesis and biggest aid for ex-quitters.

A few days ago I wrote about the relationship between avid learning and chronic quitting, and I presented 3 options for continuing a life of avid learning while combating chronic quitting: 1) Maintaining all learning simultaneously, indefinitely, 2) focusing on learning within one larger category for designated periods of time, and 3) setting learning goals related to topics of interest. Continue reading “A Brief Update and My Heart for eX-Quitter”