Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Sacrifice of Financial Gain

Anyone who knows me well and knows my parents knows that their marriage hasn't been daisies and roses.  Growing up, they had their number of fights, cold shoulders, separations and silent treatments but the one issue that was brought up most between them was always finances.  I witnessed the havoc that mismanagement of finances can have on a marriage first hand.  Then one day, my mom took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it changed her outlook forward.  While they haven't gotten to do their "We're debt free" scream on the radio at this point, my parents goal is to get out of debt.  To this day, they will tell you that finances have always been one of their top hot button issues and "if you can figure this out now, it will save you a lot of pain and heartache in the future."

Two years before I graduated college, my parents went through another separation and again, finances were a huge part of the problem.  While they reconciled, my graduation gift from college was, you guessed it, Financial Peace University or as other Dave fans would call it "FPU."  While I rolled my eyes at this gesture from my parents, I have to say that I am so very grateful for it.

As of right now, Jake and I are down to five categories of debt: mortgage, car payment, credit card, medical bills, and one last student loan.  I have been working our "debt snowball" ever since we got married.  Some days it feels super rewarding, like a year ago when I paid of my last student loan.  Other days, it feels like a big huge bummer to try and maintain "gazelle" intensity, i.e. passing on a 30th girls trip with my best friends, or spending a work bonus on paying off bills instead of a shopping spree.  Nonetheless, there are seasons in life when I can hear God very clearly and this is one of them.  For the past year God has been saying to me, "Be a good steward with your finances."

The Bible has a lot to say about money but here are a couple verses that I looked up and speak to me. 

Romans 13:8

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Hebrews 13:5

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
On the not so fun days, it is awesome to me that God takes time out to remind me that he is faithful and will reward my diligence.  For example, recently I called to see what the balance was on my hospital bill and it was more than I had in my HSA at the time.  The operator heard me state that I didn't have enough in my HSA at the time but I told him the maximum I could pay.   When he realized that I was trying to pay as much of the balance as possible, he waived the remaining 10% owed.  While this may have been a simple gesture on his part, I know it was a seed of encouragement from the Lord.

My drive to pay off our debt doesn't come because I want to gain more money, it stems from wanting a peaceful marriage, a household that can give to missionaries, local families in need, and future generations.  Often times though, it can be such an uphill battle.  So I guess that is why I am writing today.  I know that there are a lot of other people, husbands and wives trying to be on the same financial page, moms and dads working to provide for their kids, families trying to make a better life overall and single people being responsible and living within their means.  There are people of all walks trying to get out from underneath the rule of debt for any number of reasons.  I know that Jake and I are not alone in this so here is my battle cry for us and everyone else, let's keep going!  Let's continue to do this! Instead of looking at how far we have to go - let's look at how far we have come.  Make sure you don't just sit and tally what you have left but tally how much you've paid off.  Keep your momentum.  Keep your eyes on the prize and remember your motives for starting on the road to financial freedom in the first place.
God will honor your effort in ways you can't even imagine. 

Deuteronomy 28:12 ESV

The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

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