The Ugly Side of ‘Broke’

My parents made it clear that I was going to Boarding School quite early. Each time I pondered on the idea of going away from home, I was gripped by the fear of the unknown. The thought of being all by myself in the midst of people I did not know, scared me.  As the days grew closer, my mom gave me my last set of independence tips – ‘Choose your friends wisely’, ‘Read your books’ and  ‘Do not collect anything from anyone’. The last one instilled the fear of God in me and made me wondered what kind of people I was going to meet on the other side of my new life.

September finally came and the long drive to school was upon me. Getting prepared was more fun than I expected. I showed up to school with a suitcase for my clothing and a huge metal trunk box for my provision aka box of goodies. I settled in quickly and life in the real world of boarding school began. I visited my box of goodies very often because it reminded me of home. As the weeks rolled by, I noticed an emerging trend. Each time, I paid a visit to my box of goodies, the box room filled up quickly. Everyone wanted something from my box and I kept giving. I was young and naive. I gave foolishly to every request and soon, my box became a supermarket and Oh boy! did they shop so freely, I did not mind, I kept giving.

It was a few days to the end of the term and my suitcase was now empty. I was so hungry, I wanted something to eat. I had never had any reason to ask anyone for anything because my mom’s warning rang in my head. But by the end of the term, I felt I knew them more, so I asked for a snack and everyone seem to have a reason to say No! Those last few days felt longer than the entire term and all of a sudden, in my starved state, my eyes of understanding were open and I felt used.

The holiday was a time of reflection for me. I saw a different side of life and came face to face with the reality that even in the the midst of teenagers, life is a jungle and only the fittest survive. I came up with my survival plan, I know now that what I did back then is called ‘Strategizing’. The new School term was going to be different, I had grown wiser. I recognized that my inability to say ‘No’ was still a weakness and while I worked on a nicer way to respond to requests that should clearly get a ‘No’,  I moved my box of goodies out of sight.

It became clear to me that if I must have enough resources to last me for the school term, I must budget and put in place a system that allows me to spread my resources over an estimated period of time. I must also prepare for days that I may run out of everything by setting aside an emergency supply. I did this by locking up a portion of my supplies in my Guardian’s house as a last resort.

Being broke taught me a few early life lessons:

  • You are generally at the mercy of others and may find yourself in a situation where you feel pressured to compromise your values.
  • Everyone appears friendly when you have, but when you are broke, your relationships are tested and you realize that your true friends are few.
  • You have to learn how to manage your resources in a way that allows you perform acts of kindness without jeopardizing your well being.

Those early days taught me to apportion my resources wisely, setting aside the right portion for saving, spending and sharing. Life, as you have come to find will have some years of surplus and years of famine. We can all learn a lesson from Joseph’s strategy in the book of Exodus. In Egypt’s years of plenty, he led a nationwide campaign to store up a fifth of what was harvested. When the world around them fell on hard times, Egypt became a lender to nations. I also noticed something from that story, the ‘broke’ will always bow to the ‘lender’. So choose the right side of life by becoming a better steward of the resources that God will entrust to you.

Note to Self – Broke days maybe ugly, but they awaken you to the realities of life and push you to do what you should have done all along.

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Have a great day!

Published by Thelma & Idorenyin

We love to write about life

25 thoughts on “The Ugly Side of ‘Broke’

  1. What a reminder! It is so important to be good stewards of the resources that we have been blessed with. Many times, what matters is not how much we have or earn but what we do with what we have.

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  2. Wow, what a timely reminder! I remembered my secondary school days, the trunk box with goodies, the free giving in the boxroom, and starving later during exams. All these opened my eyes, and what I have learnt more today on life and becoming is: being able to manage my resources amidst sharing and saving. Thank you so much my Pastors for this reminder. Remain blessed.

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  3. “Broke days may be ugly, but they awaken you to the realities of life and push you to do what you should have done all along”. This message is definitely for me. There was a time I had a steady flow of a certain amount coming to me, and today I keep thinking if I had the financial sense then as I have now, certain events in my life would have played out positively different. This entire write up reminds me of the Qualities of the Spirit we’ve been given as Christians… The Spirit of LOVE (kindness/generosity), of POWER (discipline/savings/ability to say “NO”), and of a SOUND MIND (wisdom to strike a balance/become good stewards of our resources). Thank you LAB team… Keep it up. Your work is working.

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  4. This is a great reminder of the good old days! That word choose your friends wisely is a very good advice from mummy. Mums are the best! Friends choose you when you are rich but you choose friends when you are broke.. Wisdom is profitable to direct . God bless you more my beautiful sis . More grace 😘

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  5. You guys took me on a trip down memory lane. Oh the sting that came with being told no when you had generously shared your own goods with the same set of people now turning you down! Financial Rule 1 is probably, “never spend more than you earn”. That certainly covers how we give. The story of the wise and foolish virgins just came to mind as I wrote this. Be sure to always have some extra for your own survival because no one may give you theirs when you need it the most.

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  6. Amazing… Indeed, “life is a jungle and only the fittest survive”. We do not grow or become strong during life’s good times; we grow when we press through difficulties,adversities, broke, weariness and fatigue etc. without giving up.Am blessed. I pray for more unction to function to inspired more lives.

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  7. This is me marking my attendance for the week… 😁 Thank you for the reminder.. We all suffered in secondary school.. That was the real training ground.. Thanks L&B team.

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  8. “I must budget and put in place a system that allows me to spread my resources over an estimated period of time”. I once got to this point and I was tacked, stingy. Thank you for this reminder

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  9. Boarding School..it has a way of tuning people early. In fact, most of its lessons has kept and is still keeping a lot of oldies going on strong in life. Sometimes, it’s even a dog eat dog world. Then again, its all about perspective, regarding how we see broke. In addition to the read; I think being broke is a preparation phase for the future. 👏🏾 Bravo!

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