A long time ago, before the first Silver Eagle Experiment, before the list of ten rules for young couples, before I even dreamed that this aspect of my life would exist we went on vacation to the island of Maui. At a well known gift store we met a young woman, the store’s sales manager. I guess because business was slow, it was only one year after 911, not many people were flying to Hawaii. We had time to chat with this wonderful, friendly, energetic being. Her outlook on life was enviably healthy, balanced, and positive. However, she did have at least one area of doubt and fear she was willing to share with two friendly strangers from the mainland. She didn’t believe that she and her then fiancé, now husband would ever be able to buy a house on Maui. This was not a completely groundless fear. At the time a modest but nice home on the island ran somewhere in the $750,000 range. In the weeks that followed our return from paradise, I continued to consider her problem. I already had some financial victories under my belt including paying off a thirty year mortgage in less than ten years. I wanted to encourage her, but I didn’t think she could hear my version of the Northern European work ethic combined with the concept of deferred gratification. Instead of offering her the basic tools of money management, I wrote a letter offering a seven step plan for seeking after and hopefully, obtaining all the good gifts of life. 1) Gratitude
3) Divine Purpose
4) Goal Setting with Congruence
6) The Sisters (Persistence and Patience)
She was surprised and moved by my letter. Later I learned that over the years she would pull it out and reread it from time to time. I almost hate to tell you the rest of the story. This young woman and her husband were able to buy their house. They won the lottery. Really! They were eligible for a Hawaiian state program. Every year a certain number of qualified applicants are selected for a program that offers the winners of this lottery a large government subsidy, allowing them to buy a home at an affordable price.
Don’t count on winning the lottery.
Later I expanded the list into some of my first blog posts. Some of them are too long, some of them quote too many scriptures, and they are all generally too preachy, but the content is good. They are still posted. I don’t take down blog posts. They are the trail markers I offer my readers as I walk my path.
The list is in no particular order. God will guide you to where you need to start the road to healing not just your finances, but the more important issues of body, soul, and spirit. There is no end to this process, at least not in this world. It is a spiral that takes you to higher and higher levels over the course of your lifetime. Work in one area can cause breakthroughs in another area. As you work down your list, suddenly you will find yourself reminded of an unresolved problem in another area of your life that you thought was under control.
This seven step process is actually something I try to use in my own life with varying degrees of success and failure. Some of it is a reflection on my own experiences, some comes from a semiconscious synthesis of an enormous volume of books and articles read over many years. I started with gratitude because it is a persistent problem area in my life. This morning I realized that if persistence and patience are sisters, then gratitude and forgiveness must be brothers. I have trouble with both and the problems are intertwined. How can I be grateful for all the good things the Lord has given me in this life if I am holding on to disappointments, injuries, pain, and injustice from my past?
Gratitude can not exist in the presence of unforgiveness.
I think it is time for me to revisit this list. Maybe I can rewrite some of my earliest work into something more than a three page letter and less than what I offered back in 2009.