A couple of months ago, one of the windows was broken on my in-law’s van while it was parked in our driveway overnight. We have a dusk-to-dawn light over the garage, but that didn’t deter the burglar. I have felt guilty and frustrated by this, and have been thinking about installing security cameras around the house.
From what I have read, exterior security cameras may or may not deter crime–it’s hard to tell, and studies have been inconclusive. But they do help catch criminals after the fact, so they may deter crime and they do help reduce crime over time. Put those into the pro column.
To get sufficient peace of mind, the system would be relatively expensive. There are cheaper options, but I don’t think I would be as happy with them. And the more I think about and research and plan and imagine the next five years of our lives, the more I think that cameras would increase my paranoia and stress rather than decrease. So put those into the con column.
This morning, I finally prayed about it. Allow me to paraphrase the conversation I had with God:
Me: Should I buy security cameras?
God: I guess you can if you want. I’m not going to stop every bad thing from happening, so if they’d make you feel better, that’s fine. But you don’t really need them.
Me: OK, so that’s not a “yes.” I want to do only the things you tell me to, so I’ll wait for a firm “yes.”
God: I’m not going to micromanage your life. If you’re waiting for me to say yes to things, you’ll do nothing. You need to make your own decisions.
Me: Then… maybe I should get them?
God: What are your priorities?
Me: Funding our summer vacation, funding our Roth IRA, building an emergency savings, and paying off the house.
God: So your priorities are financial. How will security cameras support those or improve them?
Me: Well… if our house catches fire while we’re away, and I have the right system in place, I could call the fire department and alert them… but also we have insurance, so… I guess cameras and connected systems wouldn’t really make much of a difference financially.
God: It’s up to you, but it doesn’t seem like they’re meeting your needs.
It’s January 1st, so I updated our YNAB budget today. I deleted the Home Security category I had created, and also deleted the Security Camera category in my wish farm. I moved the money allocated to those to our Investment category for our Roth IRA.
I was hoping to fully fund our Roth IRA in January, but it’s not going to happen this year, so I have reduced our savings goals for 2020. I’m still going to get one month’s worth of expenses into an emergency fund, but I have reduced the health care savings by 2/3 for now, which should be enough for things like glasses and the occasional unexpected urgent care visit. I’m going to keep the home savings goal the same because there’s a small chance our water line from the city will need to be replaced and a bigger chance that our hot water heater will need to be replaced this year.
By reducing our savings goals for 2020, we should have a fair bit extra each month. I think I’ll set up a health savings account this year, which will reduce my paycheck, and that will let me do vision therapy. And I may be able to save up for a backyard playset (climbing wall, swings, etc.) for Simon and some backyard landscaping over the next couple of years.
My security comes from God. But God has provided me with a great job, and a wonderful family, and a supportive community. Part of what He calls me to do is to take care of those things and use/engage with them wisely. My income is not my security, God is, but I believe that He provides for me financially. The trick is to make wise decisions that help me to do His work. And for me, investing in my health, my family, and my home is what He has me focusing on right now.