Discipline is taught. Whether discipline is taught through modeling appropriate behaviors or inappropriate behaviors, it must first be introduced, then reinforced, so it can be learned. To say that I am disciplined with my spending habits implies that I learned appropriate ways to spend my money and adopted those good spending habits into my daily living. My journey to being disciplined in my spending habits, on the other hand, has been paved with lessons in budgeting, investing, credit and debt. Yes, debt. That four letter word that has reared its ugly head for far too long in my life. It has kept me from answering my phone. It has kept me from opening my mail. Debt is persistent. Debt is overpowering. Debt is humiliating. Let me encourage you to know that debt is not, however, permanent. It may be stamped across your forehead for a particular season of your life, but your credit score only defines you to creditors. Your credit score does not define you to God.
I was inspired to look at money from a totally different perspective. To simply put it, I adopted a new, personal banking system. This system came about after a great deal of time researching, rationalizing and, of course, fervent prayer. Whenever I come into an increase, God receives 10%. With the remaining 90% of my increase, I tackle the financial obligations that I face. Simple, right? You would think, but I had to learn this system after several years of squandering what God had blessed me with. This system was not in place until after I had accumulated debt upon debt upon more debt. The temptation to pay bills and tithe only if there was any money left was a backward approach to financial freedom. It wasn’t until I changed my perspective to put God first did my financial situation begin to change for the better. When I decided to no longer be a slave to money and choose God as my only master, my financial situation was contained. It was under control. I felt confident and attacked my debt from a position of triumph. I approached my financial obligations from a mature standpoint. It truly makes a difference. Money is essential to tread through this world, but you must make your money work for you. You must learn to budget within your limitations. Consider this. If you do not have the cash to cover the purchase, do not buy it. Pray on it instead. Consider whether you want this purchase or need it. Michelle Singletary wrote an influential book titled, “The 21 Day Financial Fast”. Checking out this book from the public library changed my life! It motivated me to embrace my financial journey. The good. The bad. The ugly. It helped me to understand the importance of knowing how did I get into debt and how I was going to get out. Decide to take a stand against your debt today. Declare that you can be triumphant over debt. Take pride in what you do have. In this way, you will remain humble and appreciative as you reach toward becoming debt-free. A grateful attitude will ensure you keep going even with obstacles along your way. It is important to check yourself when facing debt so that you can avoid stumbling backwards. Building your credit takes time. You must remember to be patient yet intentional. You must make sacrifices and learn to live within your means. Allow yourself to learn to live with little, so that when big blessings come your way, you have already put in the work in order to handle all that comes with it. You may have stumbled in your past and found yourself drowning in debt. Take a deep breath. It is time to re-evaluate the scenario. Approach your finances from a position of victory. Now, watch what you and God can do!
Proverbs 3:9-10, Matthew 6:24, Colossians 2:14