Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Budgeting Diaries: Jessica Mathisen

We are back with...

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jessica.  Jessica and I have known each other since college.  Lately I have loved keeping up with her on her blog.  She also has a great series called #sistersofinfluence that I shared on a while back.


{photo cred}
Friends, I am so honored to have the opportunity to share with you today as a part of the wonderful Stasia's Budgeting Diaries series. My name is Jessica Mathisen, and I am a twenty-something teacher who lives in Athens, GA with my insanely cute husband and my incredibly adorable puppy. As a self-proclaimed clothes addict and recovering spender/wannabe saver, I won't be writing to you about budgeting with money today. Instead, I want to talk with you about how we choose to budget our time.

As women, we have many responsibilities and expectations that are laid upon us by society, family, church, and friends. Depending on our age and life stage, there are various activities, hobbies, and interests that could demand our time on a given day. 

How do we decide what to devote our time and attention to? How do we know what we should say yes to and what we need to say no to at any given moment? In short, how do we spend our time?

Growing up, I was a book nerd who loved to read, and I spent time devouring stories and learning more about the world around me. I didn't play sports, but I was active in my church's youth group, and as an extrovert, I loved any opportunity I had to be around others. When I first began college at the University of Georgia, I wanted to be a part of anything and everything that I could get into, because I wanted to do all. the. things.

My sweet babies last year in second grade! 

However, I found that getting involved in every. single. thing that you are interested in and signing up for all the clubs is not a good way to live. It is, however, a great way to burn out. At that time, I didn't know the value of doing a couple things really well. I just wanted to do all sorts of things because I had a severe case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). This pattern of trying to spread myself too thin set me up for a vicious cycle of feeling overwhelmed and getting sick because I pushed myself when I needed to rest instead of listening to my body.

Fast forward to present day. I am a newlywed teacher, and there are still only 24 hours in the day. I still have many interests, but the Lord has shown me that with everything there is a season. (Ecclesiastes 3) For example, in high school I had the joy of leading worship with my youth group's praise band. In college this gift lay dormant because the Lord used that time to cultivate other gifts and help me understand other aspects of myself that He was building up in me. When I moved to Mexico after college, I was able to use that gift again. Right now I don't lead worship anywhere. And that's ok. I cannot use every single gift that the Lord has given me to it's "full potential" (in my eyes) in every season of my life.

So here's how I figure out what I need to commit my time to in this season- I ask myself a few questions before taking on a new recurring commitment (such as leading or attending a new Bible study):

1. Do I have the resources to do this well right now? Can I commit to this physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
2. Am I doing this because it's what I want, or do I truly believe that God wants me to pursue this opportunity right now?

Reading The Best Yes last year gave me so much vision about how to spend my days. And as far as my day to day life goes: I have to accept the fact that I cannot be all things to all people. So I pray and ask the Lord to show me who I am supposed to invest in in this season. Right now I'm a baby newlywed. We're six months in, folks. So that means that my husband is my priority (as he always should be, but especially now) because we're trying to figure out this whole marriage thing.

Here are some ways that I try to establish boundaries that protect my time and help me to focus on what the Lord has actually called me to in this season:

  • I don't stay at work past five. 
  • I very rarely bring work home. So on Friday afternoons, sometimes I will stay until 5 so that I've got the rest of the weekend to rest and recharge.
  • When an opportunity comes up for a social commitment, I check in with my husband to make sure it's good with him.
  • I'm not leading anywhere or serving in any "official" ways at church for our first year of marriage- this decision is one that I owe to the minister that married us and did our premarital counseling. There are lots of ways to still serve others and minister without "officially" serving with a "title."
  • Netflix, the internet, and social media do not govern my time. I try to limit my "screen time" each day. 
And there you have it, friends. That's my journey of how to budget my time. I think the biggest thing I've learned is that my time will look different throughout each season of life- and that's ok. All the Lord asks of us is to use our time wisely and for His glory. 

Thanks for letting me be a part of your day and for reading, friends!

Jessica Mathisen

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Want to read some other encouraging and real budgeting stories???
Jennifer @ Chaos 2 Peace
Top 5 Side Hustles to Make Money
2016 Goals
Stephanie @ Marathon Bride
Laura @The Epitome of Us
Mandy @ Almond Place
Sarah @ Abiding in Grace
Stasia @ Our Life on a Budget

What is your story? Or do you have some tips or pointers or anything you think would be encouraging to readers trying to be good stewards of what God has given them? Email me at and you can share a post! :)



  1. I try really hard to limit outside distractions. No phones after 7PM and in the morning before I take Connor to school. I don't want to him to think being attached to your phone (social media) is a healthy way to behave.

  2. Love this! Sometimes I have a hard time saying no because I feel like I have to do it all and help everyone.