Friday, April 11, 2008

Manner Become Accustom To

I first wrote this post on April 11th with a lot more guessing into what Ben Arment should do, Scott in the comments section, and Ben in an email called me to the table on it, I did not in the beginning want to tell Ben what to do, I was trying to place myself in his shoes and figure out what I would do. I rewrote the post on April 21st to remove telling Ben what he should do.

Ben Arment's post below is a catalyst for getting into words something I am trying to figure out for myself. What kind of lifestyle I should live? For the past 10 years (and before that living with my parents) I have had enough income to get everything I reasonable wanted myself. It was easy to spend less than I made, in fact our savings helped us have the funds to live a year an a half before our support began for this year in India. But now I am failing to support my family on $600 a month, I keep spending more, sometimes up to $1000 or $1500, and our savings is almost all used up, I am starting to feel like a rat on a sinking ship.But I think this situation is temporary, I have it in my head that I will again make more money than I need again some day, but how I spend it will be different this time. I am thinking of the concepts behind either the Crown Money Map, or Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps. I am thinking how Paul lived in the Bible. I am thinking of so many free trusting fly by the seat of the pants pauper missionaries I have met.

I am struggling with this idea of lifestyle, my mind is stuck, I see the issue, but I do not fully grasp the answer in a way I am comfortable. In full truth I want a rich lifestyle, I am blessed with the income potential and cursed with the demand for quality. Even so I would not be happy in either place in either town Ben has shown. As near as I can figure out is they both show a stale consumerism lifestyle. But even that does not fully grasp the ideas in my head.

What is floating around? What would I do?
1. Set up a comfortable yet cheap lifestyle way below my income and keep it constant.
2. Give at least 15% and maybe more each year.. maybe 10% +1%*years of marriage?
3. Build up a huge savings, to the point that I could honestly live off from it. Hey by using the equity in our last house Nancy and I had 1.5 yrs of money that allowed us to go to India so I know it is possible. Just next time I want to keep the house.
4. I need to have a reason for a job... this contradicts the above... my nature is if I can sit back and be lazy I will.
5. The environment is pretty important, people are important, the Lord is important.
6. live in a house that is different, that shows a better sense of the concepts of community and solitude in economically viable manner.
Having had a week to think about it more I am dissatisfied with the world, I long to be in perfect heaven. And while I am stuck here I want to do my best to bring heaven to earth, by my example and by my teaching. That means living in a way that pushes average towards the Lord.
I look forward to seeing what Ben and his family does, I am confident he will make the right choice for him, which in turn will be an example for me.


Anonymous said...

i stumbled on this blog by accident, and am a little surprised by this entry.

the truth is, you have no idea who this guy is, how much he gives away, what his lifestyle is. you cannot make a judgement about "consumerism" based on this blog entry. for all you know, he inherited his last house.

furthermore, you have no idea what the right decision is for THEIR family.

i'd say.. mind your own beeswax and watch the judgements.

my name is scott, and i don't have a "blog identity", so i have to sign this comment as "anonymous".

Ryan said...

Hi Scott,

I agree with you, I don't know everything about Ben, nor even a lot. But I know him a little... reading his posts and listening to his podcasts for the last six months. And yes I did frustrate Ben also, go over to his blog and go forward a couple posts and read the comments.

I fully and completly agree that I can not tell Ben what choice is best. But as both Ben and I live to a Biblical standard we have some guidelines. I am confident in Ben that whatever choice Ben makes is right and good and will be a good example for myself.

I also tried to transition in the middle of the post from his facts to my personal struggles, though reading it again maybe not all that well. This was a hard post to write, and also to link to from his blog. I knew when i wrote it and linked in his comments that 1) it is a tangent from his thoughts, 2) it would be very hard to keep the post short yet in line with his thinking. 3) it moves the focus from his thoughts to my own, which in the feild of influence Ben has earned his respect I have no right to shine a spotlight on myself.

Ben is doing several very right things that have earned my respect. 1) he is renting not buying, 2) from the tone of his post he is also amazed at what money can buy. 3) He has the incredable energy to pull in people and set up an event of very high quality.

I have personally emailed Ben to tell him i am sorry and that I have learned from this and see if he would like me to change anything about the post.