My husband and I have been needing a second vehicle since his car’s motor blew up six or so months ago. However, we knew we weren’t in a position to reasonably take on a car note, so we decided to work with just one vehicle and try our best to save up enough money to get something else before we lost the second one.
It has been a tough decision in many ways, largely because of the lost productive time. I felt like I was failing on the home front as the yard and the house sunk to lower and lower standards throughout the school year. I had to be to work so early and stay so late that I lost the time I would have used to keep those things up. My husband was later to work than he liked, and he lost a lot of extra time coming and going on the freeway because he was stuck in more traffic than if he had been able to keep his usual schedule. This summer, I have had to drive him to work and pick him up when I need the car. For me, that’s a loss of two productive hours a day.
We haven’t grumbled (much), because there are blessings to be found no matter what is going on in life. For instance, we had an extra twenty minutes a day to talk and connect as he was driving me to work everyday. I learned habits that are helping me overcome being chronically late. We only had to pay insurance on one car, which saved us quite a bit. We learned to be a bit more humble in a town that has quite a culture of financial success.
As Heavenly Father often does, he blessed our efforts in unexpected ways that brought their own troubles and lessons. Even so, we were recently able to go out and buy a modest used truck, and my husband wrote a check! It was a really weird feeling to drive off the car lot in a paid-for truck, knowing that we would be blessed because we had fasted and prayed over the decision.
The most ironic part of the whole thing is that both my husband and I are uncomfortable with a feeling of prosperity. We’ve had a lot of practice being “poor, suffering saints,” and we’ve almost grown to like having constant reminders of how much we need to rely on Heavenly Father, on our Savior, and on the precious gift of his Atonement.
It’s not that we fear that hard times are coming again — trials will always be coming and going, because that’s how mortality works to teach us eternal lessons. I think we know how easy it is to get caught up in pride, and we are both aware of what the pride cycle can do. The cycle is vividly painted repeatedly in the Book of Mormon, but we’ve both seen and experienced examples that are a little too close to home for comfort.
Fortunately, the same habits that bring us safely through tough times will protect us from pride:
- Humbly kneeling in prayer to ask for forgiveness, petition for blessings that we cannot give to others (as well as for ourselves), asking what we still need to become the people we need to be — all of these things help eradicate pride.
- Staying immersed in the scriptures, uplifting music, and other activities that invite the companionship of the Holy Spirit will drive away pride. Darkness cannot exist where light is.
- Watching my behaviors and especially my thoughts for things that are inconsistent with truly being a Latter-Day Saint will also clue me in to when I am succumbing to pride. Thankfully, this became as habit as I struggled with maladaptive behaviors and beliefs.
It will be a bit of a learning curve to switch from being in a state of financial worry to enjoying a sense of prosperity. I feel grateful for the financial lessons we’ve learned and for the blessings my husband and I have received along this journey.