I don’t know if you all have experienced this before, but as kids, a lot of my cousins would visit our grandparents, Momma T and Daddy Willie in Mississippi during the summer. And no matter how many of us showed up, we were NEVER hungry. Not only that, but neighbors dropped by every day and there was enough food for them too. The backyard had a garden full of mustard and collard greens, and other veggies. We were asked to do things that we were not accustomed to in our parent's home. For instance, at grandma's house sometimes we boiled water for hot water and went to the ice house down the street to retrieve ice. All of the dishes were washed by hand, and they even made their own soap. We had to sweep (not vacuum) with those big thick broom bristles that doubled as toothpicks. Those were some of the small things we did that involved SURVIVAL/SUSTAINABILITY!
Thank goodness most of us live in a space now where we don’t have to worry about hanging clothes on a line in the backyard or washing dishes by hand, or going to the ice house, because now we have the top-of-the-line stainless steel Whirlpool washer, dryer, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Or in my case, three vacuums in our home; a small one for quick and easy pickups, a larger more industrialized one for the places with carpet, and of course Geoffrey, our little iPhone-operated Roomba vacuum.
As long as I have been on earth; and I happened to be around when my great grandmother bathe from a metal wash bucket; I never thought in a million years that we would go backwards as a society. Within the last couple of years, I have seen a global pandemic that has affected every human being in some capacity. People are sick, dying, losing jobs, big and small businesses are collapsing, suicide is at an all-time high. There is emotional and mental trauma, depression, mass confusion and delusion; teachers are leaving the school system in droves, and parents are losing hope. And to top it all off, rental properties have skyrocketed in upwards of 14-40%. This enigma is confusing in this extremely competitive housing market.
Not only that, in America, we were faced with a baby formula shortage - why did we sweep that one under the rug? How many times have we visited the grocery stores and found there was a food and supply shortage? And don't even get me started on the prices of meat. And Lord please help us at the gas pump. Just a few months ago, it cost me less than 60 bucks to fill my tank. Now I am looking at paying over $100 at the pump.
So with all these things and so many more, I wanted to remind you that this time has not caught God by surprise. Although it may seem like there is no end to the stress in sight, the same money is still circulating. It did not disappear.
There is a biblical story I want to share that I believe can help you along your journey through this maze of uncertainty. In the book of Genesis, we meet Joseph. And some of you may know the story, but I suggest you take the time to read about him. In a nutshell, Pharaoh had a disturbing recurring dream that he needed to be interpreted, so he brought in Joseph, who was blessed with the gift of dream interpretation. When Pharaoh shared his dream, it was revealed to Joseph that there was coming a 7-year famine in the land of Egypt. After Joseph shared the dream interpretation, Pharoah appointed Joseph as the Prime Minister, second to only to him to execute a plan of sustainability before the famine.
Joseph received unprecedented favor, but he was just the man for it. He was a great strategist who created and executed a sustainable plan for the future of Egypt. The famine in the region was so severe, that complete devastation swept the land. The people lost their money, livestock, and grain and were forced to come to Joseph - (In Pharaohs Kingdom) for food. The famine was so devastating that even the people in neighboring nations declared that the only thing they had left to exchange for sustenance was to sell themselves and become servants.
I discuss the strategies Joseph used through the 7 Keys of Creative Organization for Success in my book, Get Up You Big Fat Procrastinator. I believe we must create strategies for our families so that we are not caught off guard when unforeseen tragedies strike. The climate of our society dictates that there may be looming complications. Therefore, preparation is the key to us protecting our families. Joseph's proactivity and defined strategy allowed Pharaoh's kingdom to experience growth and sustainability during the famine.
These strategies start on page 183.
None of us could have predicted what happened around the world through the pandemic and other crises. Some of you were not affected and are having the best time of your life financially. Some of you are retiring in your 40’s because times are excellent for you. But even with all the money in the world now, you never know what to expect, especially the way the economy is trending now. If you are here, you have endured, and there is a lot of wonderful life for you and your family to live. But you must be proactive and not reactive.
So whatever you need to do for your family – start working on that plan.
The scripture reminds us to write the vision and make it plain, so that he who reads it can run with it. Another translation says make it so big that if a person runs by they can still see it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time. Habakkuk 2:2-3.
Stock up – NOT HOARD, but stock up some non-perishable items. Google has tons of things you may need during a famine or economic downfall.
Build a garden, like Mama T and Daddy Willie. Can you grow, hunt, or fish for your own food? Start with something simple and in-season. It doesn't have to be perfect starting out.
Cut back on eating out and preserve your dollars – buy what you need. If it helps, use physical cash when eating out. I know some places only take cards nowadays, but if you see your cash physically disappearing, the less likely you're going to want to spend it.
If you can, invest in a generator. In Houston, if you buy large generators, it takes 6-12 months for them to get installed, so be proactive. We experienced a winter storm in Texas a little over a year ago which resulted in multiple deaths due to freezing temperatures and residents going days without electricity.
Adjust extraneous spending to accommodate a more favorable savings plan. If you don’t need it, determine if now is the time to get it.
Find more economical ways to save on central heating and air and other utilities for the home.
Make sure your life insurance is updated as well as your home insurance.
Get better acquainted with investing and wealth creation. Learn as much as you can and make as much as you can. In this sense, time is LITERALLY money.
Read the story of Joseph, it will bless your life.
Remember - if you prepare now, when that time comes, and it will, you will be one step ahead of the game, with less stress and so happy that you followed your game plan.
Get your children involved if you have any. Is there any reading material that you can give them outside of what they're learning in school? Will they know how to pay bills, fix problems, and do taxes when they move out of your house?
More importantly, seek God’s face and His wisdom. The time to do it is now like never before. This is not a doomsday message, but a message of hope.
Love you all so much and I wish the very best for you and your family.
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