“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.”
As we go through day to day life we are constantly distracted. We may be thinking of what needs to get done today or maybe something that happened the day before that we cannot release from our mind. On average we have over 70,000 thoughts in one day. Most of these thoughts are not positive or focused on God where they should be.
We often distract ourselves with worry or anxiousness that is a waste of our time. Negative thoughts bring negative things into our life and positive thoughts bring positive things into our life. It truly is that simple.
Let’s take for example your finances. Maybe you are thousands of dollars in debt, making minimum payments and racking up interest. This seems like a bad place to be and you have no idea how this debt will be relieved. You worry, pace the floor and have sleepless nights over your finances.
The first thing you need to do is to stop spending any additional money and access how much you truly owe. Get in your mind that number and we are going to focus on how to make that debt a positive to get it paid off. Be real with yourself and know that you can clear this debt with dedication and positivity.
I recommend these few things. Pray to God for guidance on how to stay faithful to not continue spending, to keep you strong when you are tempted to buy material things. You truly will feel the urge to buy start to ebb away if you pray this prayer to God daily. Truly pray it in your heart. God put this financial situation in your path for a reason. Let God help you walk that path and stay direct until the debt is clear.
Next be thankful for that debt. Yes I said thankful. Instead of constantly fretting and worry on how to pay it, be thankful for the credit card companies and banks for extending that money to you when you needed it. I am sure all the purchases were not frivolous, some may have been to pay an electric bill or doctor’s visit. Appreciate that when you needed money it was there.
Figure out why you have this debt. Was it because you were trying to buy things to make you happy or fill a void in your life? Many people feel instantly satisfied if they buy something extravagant to give them instant gratification. That gratification fades very quickly and then you are left with the debt. Society puts many pressure on us to “keep up with the Joneses” which is a benchmark for your accumulation of material things to show off or be equal or above others. This is an extremely empty feeling when you are constantly comparing what you have to others and then buying more on a constant cycle of spending.
If you used the money during a tough time in your life such as when you lost a job or had a medical emergency and your are struggling to repay the debt then go back to giving thanks. Thank you God for making those funds available to me so I didn’t loose my house or not eat. You survived a difficult situation because of that debt. It may not be pleasant now to look at but go back to when you were desperate and it kept you going.
Forgive yourself for accumulating that debt. God has forgiven and forgotten and you need to do the same. The sooner you can forgive yourself the quicker you can recover.
I also recommend you become a cash spending person. Try to keep a certain amount of cash in your wallet to prevent you from using credit cards or payday loan companies. For example, I take $40 out of the bank each week for my spending cash. When I want to treat myself to a coffee when I am out or say I need to pick up a birthday card for a friend I use my cash. I only use my credit card for groceries, gas, my church offering and monthly haircuts. Why only those items? These are the items that stay constant in my monthly spending and I know it can be paid off each month. If I want to buy something over $40 say a new purse for $95 then I hold back some of my weekly money to save for that item and pay cash. This also makes me evaluate if I truly want or need a new purse. I instills patience in me.
This method may sound extreme and inconvenient but believe it or not it really cuts down on those impulse buys. If I only have $40 and I see a cute scarf for $30 that I want I am forced to think about several things. Do I want to spend almost all my money for one item? Do I really need another scarf to add to my twenty scarf collection? What will I really get out of buying that scarf, maybe I will wear it 12-15 times because we have very short winters in Texas. Most times when I look at a purchase logically I don’t buy it.
Most weeks I have money left over at the end of the week after practicing this for two years. It was extremely tough for me to implement this practice and become disciplined but I did and now it is natural to me. I was a very impulsive spender and this practice was excruciating for me at first.
I guess what I am saying is you don’t need a new wardrobe every season or a new car every 2-3 years and especially a new phone every time a bigger and better one is released. God teaches us to live a frugal life and know that He will always provide for us. Have you ever not had God provide when you needed it? When you truly follow His words He will always take care of you.
Hebrews 13:5 says, Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I am trying to live by this scripture. I make my coffee at home and don’t buy it out. If my clothes are not ragged and fit I continue to wear them and buy only a few items each season. I buy only the food we will eat in a weeks time so we cut down on waste and spoilage. I buy a car and keep it once it is paid off instead of upgrading. The most important thing I do is to trust God to always provide for me the way He has planned. I have always found that when I practice Hebrews 13:5 I always have more than I could have bought. My faithfulness to God’s plan always rewards me.
Yesterday I was going to treat myself to a lunch special at a local Mexican restaurant. As I was almost done eating a friend came into the restaurant to eat lunch and ended up sitting down with me and buying my lunch. I know God was rewarding me for staying within my budget.
Once I needed to attend a networking meeting that has $1 entry fee. I only had $2 left in my “weekly budget” and as I approached the table to pay, the person collecting the money said, “Someone has already paid for the next ten people so you don’t have to pay!” Another reward.
Don’t let the enemy play games in your mind and make you anxious about any debt you have. When those thoughts appear turn to God and say, “God I know you are in control. I know you will help me out of this situation and I know I am going through it for a reason. I am releasing this to You and trusting in You.” Once you truly release it and trust, things will begin to turn around quickly.
If you are struggling, know that I am praying for you. I pray for anyone that reads this blog, listens to our podcast, have visited our Facebook page each and every day. I also pray for those yet to find our words. Always know someone else is praying for your situation with all their heart!
All my love and gratitude for you! LoLo