Debt keeps you from living.
I realized this one dark night, far from home.
It was about 1:00am, and I lay on a bed in a hotel room in Las Vegas, sobbing my eyes out.
My husband, next to me, had tried to console me, but he didn’t understand the depth of my pain.
See, it was the fall of 2013, and I had finally hit a breaking point in our battle with debt. I was SICK of debt. I knew we had to make some big changes if we were ever going to stop treading water and finally get ahead.
One of those changes was starting a photography business. I went to great lengths to learn the ins-and-outs of running a profitable photography business. (It’s a lot harder to be profitable than it is to take great pictures!) One of my friends hired me to do some work for her, and she happened to live in Las Vegas. It was a wonderful opportunity for my husband and I to get away on a mini-vacation while I did some work, and the job made it affordable.
The splurges in dining and entertainment were a different story.
That night, after a fantastic evening out, I casually asked my husband if he was keeping tabs on our budget. He told me he was just putting it all on the credit card.
I knew what that meant. We weren’t paying attention to how much we were spending and that ALWAYS means we spend too much. Plus, he wasn’t using money we had, he was adding to the very debt I had been killing myself to pay off with the new business.
The exhaustion, stress, and frustration of it all got to the boiling point, and I had a melt-down. I wasn’t mad at my husband. I was mad at our situation. And, there was something I hadn’t really been able to express to my husband.
God had a son for us.
I knew it in my heart. I had heard it in my prayers over and over. At first, I was confused. We were very, very content with our three “Little Women”. I loved raising girls. I loved hearing people’s comments, “Three girls?” Yep.
But the persistent message from God was that he had a son for us.
I had sheepishly suggested another baby to my husband, the one who only wanted 2 kids to begin with, and he quickly put that idea down. “We can’t afford another kid. I just don’t see any way we could manage it.”
He was right. Our finances were in a sorry state and another baby would only make that harder.
So, the news of added credit card debt hit me like a ton of bricks. No baby. No son. Sorry, God.
That’s why I sobbed and sobbed.
My son was being held hostage by debt.
He was trapped in the Would-Be by the bitter clasp of debt.
That was when I realized…
Debt Keeps You From Living.
Debt promises today, but robs tomorrow.
The easy acquisition of things is Debt’s seductive hook. You reason with yourself that you really need to purchase that thing today, and you’ll have the income next month, or soon, to cover that expense. But then next month’s income comes, and you realize it’s already spent. Or maybe you don’t. If you’re like most of us, your paycheck needs to go toward the things you need this month. Any “extras” that come up end up going on the card again.
“Good debt” isn’t any better. Ever looked at your student loans and thought about how long it will take you to pay them off?
All your tomorrows (income) are yesterday’s (bills).
Debt steals your dreams.
When you’re loaded with debt, you aren’t free to act on inspiration. You can’t dream of a bathroom remodel, a newer car, or a nice outfit. Maybe you’re not so shallow.
Do you dream of giving? Can you imagine how much you could bless other people if you were free to give as much as you want?
Do you dream of travel? Where would you go if you could save those car payments toward a real journey?
With debt, you dream of something, but you have to pull the reins back because you know you’re stuck until you get out of debt.
Debt keeps you from following God’s will.
This was the notion that finally made me angry enough to do whatever it takes to get out of debt. We weren’t free to follow God’s calling into ministry or missions (if we had been so called). We weren’t free to leave our home and move somewhere else. We weren’t free to serve, or give.
And of course, we weren’t free to accept the child God had promised us.
So I sobbed. We were chained to this miserable institution called debt.
I knew that night in Las Vegas was my rock-bottom moment. The little boy in my heart needed me. My mama bear instincts kicked in for a child I’d never met, and I determined to do whatever it took to accept him, to accept God’s will.
Maybe you don’t believe in the whole “God’s will” thing, but there’s no denying the truth that DEBT STINKS.
Are you ready to do whatever it takes to break free? Are you determined to stop being a victim to debt?
What would you do if you were debt-free?
The continuation of this story is coming soon. I’ll lay out the steps we took to finally break free and give you more ideas on ways you can escape. I’ll also share the rest of the story about the baby God promised us and how we continue to learn so much about relying on God!
Please share our story to help others understand how debt keeps you from living.
And tell me, what’s your biggest challenge with debt or budgeting?
Comment below, email Christina@gathering-joy.com, or JOIN the CONVERSATION in our Facebook group.
Frozen Hot Chocolate and wildflowers,