Have you ever noticed that our God-sized dreams are never about us? I believe it’s because we were created to live a life serving others. Jesus was the ultimate servant and He sets the example in service, love and giving. So, when God created us in His image, we were created to serve!
We can serve in a variety of ways. We serve by loving and protecting each other. We serve by fighting and standing up for each other. And we serve by giving to each other. However, parts of serving also take money. Money allows opportunities to purchase basic human needs. It takes money to clothe, feed, refresh, and heal one another. And it takes God-size amounts of money in our fallen and broken world.
Money does not define our worth, but we can’t do what we were created to do (serve) if we are a “slave to the lender”, chained to our debt. It says in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” When we are chained to our debt, there is no room to live and give to where our hearts truly long.
When I dream about where my money goes each month, I don’t dream it going to the government, the student loan companies or credit card lenders. I dream about giving back to the world in bigger ways. This is where my heart longs to give my money and I believe yours does, too. I long to see a need and give without restraint, without question, without defeat. It has taken me a long time to see this way of handling my money. Living paycheck to paycheck was all too comfortable for me until last January, I decided to confront my financial situation and attend a Dave Ramsey- Financial Peace University class.
Today, I am more determined more than ever to be financially free and empower others to do the same, so they too, can live and give where their hearts truly long.
Three action steps you MUST take to get out of debt and into financial freedom
1) Become aware of the reality of your situation. Like a band-aid, the worst part if ripping it off. We need to rip off our band aid of our debt and become aware of just how much debt we truly owe (Credit cards, car loans, mortgages, student loans, medical bills, etc). I used to have no idea how much debt I had. All I knew that it was A LOT, like -it-is-going-to-take-my-whole-life, a lot. In the meantime, I was living in autopilot just keeping my head down not daring to look up and recognize the reality of my situation. We need to get out of denial and know exactly how much we owe.
2) Give yourself Grace. After I ripped off my financial band-aid, I found myself getting bitter with my situation. I started to question every decision I made that got me into debt. And I was really mad at myself for the decisions I made and why I did not start paying it off sooner. But, here is the truth, it says in Romans that, “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” God’s grace through Jesus covers our sin and that includes all our sinful spending habits we were completely aware of (ex. credit cards) and the ones we thought were best for us at that time (ex. student loans). Allow yourself to receive His grace, no matter where you find your situation. No matter the number in your bank account or the amount of debt, you my friend, are covered in Grace.
3) Create a plan of action. I not only needed a plan, but I needed someone to give me vision and help me see God’s plan for my debt. Making a flowchart of my income and bills, and paying minimum payments was not working for me. Obviously. INSERT Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. The timing was right for me and it was being hosted by an amazing couple I trusted. I learned that finances are more about changing our behaviors and having a plan than fancy manipulation of numbers that I was attempting… and failing! After starting on this plan, I have made more progress in the last 8 months in my finances than I had in the previous 12 years. I have hope with my finances and dreams that I never had before.
The struggle is completely real, but so is the solution, whether that is FPU class with Dave Ramsey or another option to intentionally budget and get out of debt.
It still is a daily surrender allowing His Mercy to cover my past decisions and Grace and blessings to keep me going. My dreams to serve, to impact and to dream without restriction are bigger than the comfort I could stay in. You can take control of your money and start planning for your future.
Take this next step. Take control. You will not regret it. Financial freedom is available to you! Your dreams are waiting.