If you have ever heard the dreaded sputtering when you’re driving … and you know you don’t have enough money to cover any kind of car repair bill, it can be very stressful. Is it even possible to find JOY in the middle of car trouble? I was surprised to find out that the answer is yes. Finding joy IS possible and hopefully my story can help you if you ever need it.
Car trouble = stress, right?
It’s no secret that, unless you have plenty of money in savings, zero to little debt and possibly another car as a backup, a car break down spells S-T-R-E-S-S.
- You have to figure out alternate transportation.
- How much is the repair going to cost?
- Do you need to take time off work to figure this out?
- Do you need to rent a car while you wait for the repair work?
- You might need to call a bunch of parents to re-organize school carpool plans, etc…
- You and your spouse might argue about the whole things because how frustrating is it?
But HOW is finding JOY in car trouble even possible?
I’m not sure I have any logical explanation for this other than, God must have known how much we needed His peace yesterday. And peace led to my hubby and I not fighting … which led to JOY!
But before finding joy, we were actually kinda sad.
Our family was sad from watching our beloved football team, the San Francisco 49ers, lose the big game. On our way home, our trusty little 4-door sedan started sputtering.
Oh. no. My husband and I knew what that meant.
But, as crazy as it may sound, I honestly felt like maybe the Holy Spirit whispered … be still. Let your husband lead this conversation. Be patient. Don’t demand answers. Don’t get all worked up, “knowing what a mess this is.” It’s not so big of a mess that I can’t handle it, so give it to me. Trust me.
At this point in time, we have been going through a difficult financial situation. We’ve been trying to make ends meet the best we know how, but it’s been very tight and we have next to zero savings. That translates to = our car broke down and we can’t afford it, but we need that car for our family’s work, school and sports schedule.
Round 1: FIGHT!
We could have easily done what we’ve done many times before. FIGHT! How could we not have been better at saving money? Why have 9 going on 10 months gone by without a job? We keep praying, but there’s no job. We’ve tried so many avenues, budgeting, praying, selling things, but our money situation just doesn’t seem to improve and now the CAR BREAKS DOWN?!?!
Incredibly, surprisingly, MIRACULOUSLY, that didn’t happen.
I think my husband and I both knew that fighting would not do any good.
Our kids were in the car. What good would that do? Fighting about money and car trouble in front of them just creates more stress for all of us.
Fighting also doesn’t get us any closer to solutions, which is what we desperately needed at that moment. That and “sorry we lost the big game cookies” for dessert.
Finding Joy through solutions not stress.
Thankfully, our car sputtered aall the way home and we got there safely. It could’ve broken down on the side of the road, but it didn’t! I think we already started out on the right path by finding at least that one thing to be thankful for.
My hubby and I, by the grace of God, made it through the rest of the night with so much mercy and grace for each other. Maybe this will help you (and help us remember) the next time car trouble (or whatever trouble) hits, to look for solutions and minimize the stress. These tips might help:
- We’ve all heard this one before, but it’s true! Finding things to be thankful, even in the midst of “tough” situations can help change our perspective. It can give us that room to breathe, a reminder to look up and pray! We can thank God that He’s with us, He’s our helper and we don’t need to worry. He’s got this.
- It is tempting to LET THE OTHER PERSON HAVE IT! How could we not be doing better financially? Are we really that irresponsible? It’s so easy to want to shift blame and find scapegoats and all that stuff. But it’s a relationship killer.
- Showing mercy, unmerited & undeserved, is a much nicer, gentler way to go. When we extend mercy, we often find that we needed it just as much.
- We can withhold the punishment that we think is deserved when we extend mercy. But we can also extend grace that we think should be earned first. The concept is “clean up your act” and THEN I’ll be nice to you. But instead, choosing to show grace and go out of our way to be nice when it hasn’t been earned can be a better way to calm and soothe frustrated souls.
- I’m discovering that there is freedom in releasing grudges. Could my husband choose to be mad at me because all the Starbucks I should have said no to could pay for the car repairs? Absolutely. Could I get mad at him that we quit our jobs and moved to Florida and our household income went down? Sure, why not.
- But if we are willing to extend mercy & grace, we’ll find FREEDOM! We can choose to inspire each other to make changes and keep the faith that things can change and get better (and with God’s help, they will!
Finding Joy … and keeping it
Guess what Gratitude + Mercy + Grace + Freedom lead to? JOY!
My husband and I sat together on the couch tonight, listening to music in a dimly lit room. We hadn’t done that in forever! I even made a banana smoothie for dessert and we felt like we were on a little date.
It wasn’t too much of a date because we could see our kids in the living room, just down the hallway. But instead of hearing us FIGHT, our kids heard us chatting and occasionally laughing, with our smoothies!
The kids (ages 14 and 10) at some point surprised us by joining us on the couch for “family time.”
I have a feeling that would not have happened if we would have been fighting over the poor car that is still in the driveway, waiting to get fixed.
That, my friend, is pure joy.
And I’m adding that to my gratitude list, while we figure out this car repair thing. 🙂
Laughing thru life,
P.S. / Disclaimer: That photo of me in the Toyota Highlander and this post below is from a super fun sponsored blog post I did with the Houston Moms Blog a while back! That was actually not the car that broke down (that would be our little Nissan … but don’t worry! God’s got this!) 🙂
This post is part of the #Write28Days challenge!