5 Ways to Successfully Operate IN the Red

I almost missed the rainbow.  It was a Monday, and I was rushing to beat the clock to prevent my 9th tardy.   I was prioritizing my to-do list in my mind, and I almost missed the rainbow.  My co-worker stopped me, smiled, and said, “Did you see it?”  “See what?” I responded bewildered.  “The rainbow, ” she pointed, and I looked up.  There it was…as beautiful as ever…God’s promise in a picture.  I smiled.  I picked up my phone, and I captured the moment I almost missed.

I thought of why God made rainbows.  He made them to remind us that He would never destroy the Earth with a flood again – to remind us of His promises (Genesis 9:15-16).  He was reminding me that He never breaks His promises, and I almost missed it.  I was preparing for my daughter’s birthday the next day, trying to figure out how to make the money last for the month, determining which items on my to-do could wait, and in the middle of my chaos, God sent me a sign.  He had already worked it all out.  I just needed to slow down and look up.

It was right about then that I realized I had been operating in the red.  My finances were in the red.  My time was in the red.  My life was in the red.  Everything was red for as far as I could see…for as long as I could see.  I knew the black was out there, but I just could not see it yet.  Then there was this rainbow to remind me I do not need the black to successfully operate in the red; here was this rainbow to point out five ways maneuver through life while still living in the the red which I will now share with you:

1.  God can work with nothing.

Right after I wrote the post about God’s ability to work with nothing, I received a check in the mail for almost the amount of my monthly paycheck.  Shortly after, I received another check in the mail for almost the amount of my husband’s monthly paycheck…

God can work with nothing

So I sit here, months later…looking at the same red after God promised He can work with nothing.  He again begins to work with nothing.

My husband’s phone was on its last leg so we dragged ourselves (unwillingly on my part to the phone store) to see how much more an upgrade would cost us.  Our plan at the time charged only $1 per month to lease the phone so you can imagine, I had zero desire to stare an inevitable increase in the face.  As the guy at Best Buy began to calculate what I already calculated and could not believe, he turned to confirm that WITH upgraded phones, $500 in gift cards for completing the upgrade, and an unlimited plan, we would still pay LESS than we are currently paying for our monthly phone bill…My computer broke in the middle of my season of nothing, and here it was $500 to spend to buy another laptop and another wireless router…because God can work with nothing.  He always has.  He always will.

2.  Get some much needed Vitamin D.

One of my best friends invited me on a park date last Saturday.  As I screeched at the children all morning with short nerves and shorter patience, I almost cancelled.  We arrived an hour late with me in terrible spirits, but there is something about the sun.  There is something about the SON – a breath of fresh air, the warmth of the light beaming down.  It does something for the spirit.  This is what life was supposed to be like.  I do not think she has any idea what that day did for my psyche, what the sun did for my temperament.  There is power in the sun.  There is rest for your soul in the SON.  And it all comes at no cost to you.  It comes no matter how far you are in the red.

There is something about the SON - the power of Vitamin D.

3.  Declutter again.

As I ranted on an on about picking up my undone and doing it again, one of my favorite bloggers commented, “declutter again.”  Decluttering is not something that we can do once and never look back.  Declutter is an active verb.  It requires ongoing attention.  Declutter your corners again.  Declutter your wardrobe again.  Declutter your closet again.  Declutter your garage again.  Declutter your to-do list again.  Declutter your budget again.  Declutter your time again.  Declutter your mind again.  PURGE!!  Get rid of the extra.  Let go of what is holding you back.  And when you think you’ve done all the decluttering you can handle, when you begin to see space, hope, and light at the end of the tunnel…when you start to notice that your red is not so bright anymore, that your red is so dark it is almost black…declutter again.

4.  Accept that you cannot do it all.

You have convinced yourself that your ordinary is not enough, that your ordinary is nowhere near extraordinary. Recognize that your ordinary is exactly what life requires.  God only requires your obedience – nothing more, and He makes sure that your obedience falls into what you deem as ordinary.  Listen to that still, small voice.  Some of you call it your conscious.  Some of you call it your gut.  Some of you call it your instinct.  However you hear from God, go with it.  Life will try to convince you that you need more.  You need followers.  You need likes.  You need comments.  You need to look like this.  You need to act like that.  You have to be all these things that you just are not.  If you buy into this then you are listening to the wrong voice.  Accept that you are who you are, and who you are is everything you need.  And when you have everything you need, that is success.  That is how you thrive in the red.

5.  Acknowledge the rainbow.

Rainbows are always beautiful.  My co-worker and I sat, at age 36, and looked in the sky and together oohed and ahhed at the beauty of the rainbow.

God always delivers on His promises.
Pictures could not do it justice, and videos could not do it justice, and words could not do it justice.  It needed no adjustments.  It needed no extraordinary.  Its ordinary was everything we needed to see and more.  As I scrolled through snapchat, over and over I saw the picture of this same rainbow.  Person after person acknowledging the beauty of this rainbow.

Day after day, people compliment you on your beauty.  They comment on how well you do something that comes naturally.  The other day, I received an e-mail that brought me to tears:

You are indeed enough

Someone needs to know that.   You are giving blood, sweat and tears.  You are killing yourself to juggle all you have to do and do it well. You are banging your head against the wall.

And after all of that, you are still living in the red.  Your marriage is in the red. Your job is in the red. Your bank account is in the red. Your children are in the red. Your health is in the red. Your time is in the red. Your to-do list is in the red. Your momlife is in the red. Your spiritual life is in the red…

Someone is so close to almost missing the rainbow in all its beauty all by itself.  Someone has forgotten that you are a rainbow…extraordinary as you bask in and breathe what you consider ordinary.

“I want to make sure you know that you are indeed enough.”


How do you successfully operate in the red?

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Someone is operating in the red at work.  Someone is operating in the red in their marriage.  Someone is operating in the red with their budget, or their children, or their health, or their home.  Someone is looking around and all they see is red. 

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31 thoughts on “5 Ways to Successfully Operate IN the Red

  1. God always amazes me! Thanks for sharing this. It encourages me to look and find the joy in each day and know that God can stretch what we have into what we need, and even sometimes gives us a surplus just because He loves us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Brittany

    Love this post, love this message.

    There is so much more to understand but we will never find it unless we are pushed beyond ourselves. Although I prefer to avoid struggle I also realise that without it I’m unable to see past where I currently am.

    Thank you for sharing your realistic views.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, my Brittany. This is a great post. Never heard “operating in the red” associated with anything but finances. And this is powerful, “… and in the middle of my chaos, God sent me a sign. He had already worked it all out. I just needed to slow down and look up.” Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Via FB yesterday, I received a note from one of my students from 8 years ago! She took the time to say that she remembered how much I encouraged her when she was in my class. What a blessing she was to me in her note yesterday! I told her so in my reply to her. Tears came to my eyes. Yes, Lord, I was used by You as I taught in public schools. He’ll use you, too, my blogging friend. P.S. Get up earlier to get to work on time. It works and gives you time to plan and pray before your day begins.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He created everything from nothing, and still loves little old me. Beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness! Many blessings to you and your ruby red operations fully funded by God!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Accept that you cannot do it all. I needed to hear that today! I’m trying to get my website out there and eventually make money from it, but doing it all by yourself is a big task! I find I’m trying to do as much as possible, but then I realize how I suffer mentally, emotionally and even spiritually when I try to do that. Thanks for this encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rainbows. We get a lot of them here in the spring summer and fall. Wish I could add an image to show you.

    Still waiting for one to show up in the winter!

    For me, operating in the red means walking by faith. I get what you’re sharing. It doesn’t matter what season of life you’re in (I’m an empty nester), as a disciple of Jesus, faith is required.

    Can God really work with nothing? When He created the universe He started with something… Himself. In my life God has always worked with something I have. I have something. Time, energy, my testimony… something God can use mixed with my faith to do what I cannot do.

    He is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God has worked with nothing on so many occasions, I cannot even begin to go into them. He’s worked when my temper was raging and I couldn’t see calm anywhere in sight. He’s worked when I had not even an ounce of energy left. He’s sent money when the bank account was down to zero. He’s worked I had no direction whatsoever. I’m glad you always have something to offer…even a mustard seed of faith…but sometimes I’ve got nothing, and even with that, God comes through.


  8. Thank you for the encouragement! I have seen God turning so many red’s into greens in my past but somehow it is easy to forget that he is also the God of the future, not just of the past! The same one, unfortunately, we are the ones who change and forget!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. God is amazing! He always keeps His promises! When we are weak, in Him we are strong. He is able!
    Corrie Ten Boom quoted her sister, Betsie, as saying, ” He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. If we need money, we will just ask the Father to sell a few cows.” (from her book “Tramp for the Lord”, verse quoted is Psalm 50:10)

    Liked by 1 person

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