What Difference Does it Make?

“It makes none.”

The Smith’s

Of course, that has been the lie. Writing down the goal (see previous post), instead of just thinking it, has made all the difference. It put in motion, inside me, a willingness to change. It was the proof that I was ready to reverse course. It was a step of faith.

I decided to show another act of faith and take a finance class with my local church. I really did not want to sit through another lecture of budgeting and listening to how things will be awesome, while no one understood my personal situation; just how much debt and trouble I was in. All the same, it was recommended to me, so I decided to go. What a difference that choice made. What a difference, indeed.

The first lesson I learned from the class is that the initial step in healing financially, is the same for healing physically, and yes, spiritually as well. It is faith. Faith in the Savior of the world. That He knows me personally, He knows my struggles, He knows the mess I have made, and yet, He is there – there to help me, if I would just stop trying it my way, and instead accept His way.  

Here is the principle that I learned –

It is not me, but God who provides, so we must “remember the Lord thy God.” Just look at these verses in the KJV of the Bible:

And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.

But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (Deut. 8:17-18.)

Seeing the difference in these verses made all the difference and set the foundation to begin my journey to healing. It is he that gives power, not me.

So, what have I done so far since?

  1. Pray for guidance 2. Act in Faith 3. Be grateful

I have monster debt, but the steps above were a great burden lifted. It is going to take time for my finances to heal, but I am off to a good start.

To date I owed $204,000 on my home at $1495 a month. A 2nd mortgage of $38,000 at $335 a month, but about to balloon in a year to a much higher payment. A consolidated loan of $25,000 at $465 a month. Two vehicle payments of $240 and $160 owing $4,000 and $3000 respectively.  Next is a Credit Card that is now at $18,000 and $500 a month. Finally, student loans, which combined are a monster $170,000 with a payment of only $99, as that is all we could afford. I did get a raise at work and currently make $69,000 a year. However, as you may be able to see, I can meet all the bills on a monthly basis, but not food or gasoline, so this adds to the CC.

What a mess! And scary. Really really scary!

So, what did I do? I prayed. I repented of the mess I made, and I asked for guidance and said I would act on the impressions and knowledge I received. The first feeling was peace, which surprised me, but which was much needed. I knew He was there and listening and that He knows how to get me out of this mess.

I decided to trust and to listen.

I felt the first thing that I needed to do was to pay tithing. To give 10% of my income to the Lord first and foremost. No problem on this one, as I have always known this principle and had been doing this already. However, added to that was to be generous in my offerings to the church who would then use the money to help others in need. This is on top of the tithing. I had not been doing this and thought if anyone was poor and needed help it was me.

Not only did I need to give additional to those in need through the church, I needed to feel the pain of it – meaning it needed to be a good amount that would hurt. As this is voluntary, I thought about what I could possibly do each month and settled on $20 a month to start. Then my wife, who has been by my side for this journey said that if we really wanted to feel it, we needed to double it and we settled on $40.

 This seemed counter-intuitive to getting out of debt, but I had made a promise to listed and to act and so I began to add $40 a month in donations to those in need, through the church. Surprisingly, I have not felt the impact of this financially, but it has made me think more about the purposes of money and being a good steward over the things God has given me. It has given me a perspective of the value of money and has made me think twice before I spend it on things that are of no worth. Most importantly, it has given me a sense of gratitude for things that I have been give.

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