All About the Benjamins

This month without television has been incredibly productive and incredibly quiet. I organized my filing cabinet, polished my dining room table and cleared out the cobwebs on my back porch all on that first Saturday morning without television. I read I Don’t Wait Anymore by Grace Thornton (incredible! highly recommended!), re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and am about a third of the way through Defector by my friend and co-worker Mark Hobafcovich. I basically did my best to fill my time with positive, helpful and fun activities.

The moment I turned off the TV, it honestly felt like I heard the Lord audibly sigh in relief. Like He had been waiting on me to just be still and listen for once. It was a convicting and humbling feeling.

So I started the month with a 10-day devotional called “Hearing the Voice of God” by Rick Warren on the Bible app. It was exactly what I needed.

“You can’t hear God if your mind is crowded with other thoughts or concerns — particularly worries, plans, and activities. If you’re always listening to the radio or the TV, when God calls you, the circuits are going to be busy. You’ve got to eliminate the distractions.”

It was in this time that I felt the pull to go back to South Africa. I have known for several months that my friend Ben was taking a team to Cape Town and had just been putting it off in the back of my head. But as I finally got quiet and really started asking the Lord to speak to me, He spoke clearly. So I got to work figuring it out.

My family and I like to instill the principle (stolen from Ron Dunn) of Balaam’s donkey when it comes to making bigger decisions. There are three aspects to decision making: 1. Desire 2. Opportunity and 3. Balaam’s Donkey. If you have the desire to do something and the opportunity is there and you believe it is from the Lord, you pursue it and pray that if it is not His will He’ll send a “Balaam’s Donkey”–an obvious sign that it is not meant to be. Something to stop you in your tracks. So that’s what I did. I worked on logistics and asked for the time off and figured if my time off wasn’t approved, that was my donkey. It makes for a fairly easy, peaceful decision process. I let my bosses ultimately make the decision and knew that whatever their decision was would be the Lord’s will. So they said yes! And I got on a conference call that night with the team from Redemption and booked my flight the next day!

And then I sat in my quiet house for the next three weeks because I didn’t want to spend any money, as I’m now heading to South Africa at basically the last minute. Thankfully, that was all practice for next month’s challenge! (On that note: if you’d like to donate towards my trip, I would be so incredibly appreciative. You can do so via PayPal here.)

All of that to say, this month has been difficult and rewarding. I have had way too much time with my thoughts. About halfway through the month I hit a wall and thought that I might actually be going crazy because my mind had. not. stopped. But I pushed through and am proud to say that I actually made it. And now…



Well, I believe I can officially say that June was the first month where I learned that the exact parameters of our challenge are not totally in my best interest… On the PLUS side, it was nice to force myself to sit in silence, to think more, to read, go outside, etc – I definitely watch too much TV on a regular basis.  However, on the NEGATIVE side, I certainly need my zone out TV time to keep my sanity.  My brain has been on hyper-drive this month and I’ve found myself working too much and just overall thinking too much, to the point of brain-ache.  Lesson learned: there’s a happy medium.

So, here we go with July – where I’m planning on greeting Netflix and HGTV like old friends.  July’s challenge, for those who don’t know, is “All About the Benjamins” which means we are saving money with no unnecessary spending.  This basically means, that anything that isn’t required for you to get through life is not permitted.  Goodbye mani-pedis, goodbye shoe shopping, goodbye random stop at the local cupcake shop, additional Starbucks runs, and Target shopping in general probably (since I can’t walk out of that place with ONLY what I needed). As I write this blog, I’m already starting to panic feeling like I haven’t bought some of my favorite things to prepare me ahead of time for this month.  On the flip side, come August, hello extra money!  I’m interested to see just how much I spend each month on unnecessary purchases – I’m betting it’s much more than I realize.  So here’s to filling our Netflix queues and our bank accounts!  It’s All About the Benjamins, ya’ll!



Monthly Challenge Card

2 thoughts on “All About the Benjamins

  1. Hayley,

    Your posts inspire, motivate and challenge. Thank you and Erin for sharing this journey. Eager to hear more about God’s work in South Africa! Timothy

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