As the new year begins, many people make New Year's resolutions that will become yesterday's news faster than your morning newspaper sitting in your driveway. As I reflected on 2011 many thoughts came to mind. I was fortunate enough to travel halfway around world twice, finished my certificate program in Change Leadership from Cornell University, and read over 45 books this past year.
However…one of my happiest moments was the day when I made that final credit card payment. For several years, I was drowning in financial debt. I was young and foolish and bought things I couldn't afford, and the list goes on and on. For a few months, I even stopped my tithe checks which was the most foolish thing I could ever do.
Then one day, I got Gazelle intense (as Dave Ramsey would say) about getting out of debt. As I sacrificed on the “it would be nice to have's” and focused on getting out of debt, I began to realize that I could give a little more away.
If you know me, you know that I love to give. It's one of my spiritual gifts. As the debt became smaller, and the savings grew, my capacity to give went up. Suddenly, I was seeing doors open that weren't open before. God began tugging at my heart and showing me needs that He wanted me to help meet.
As I looked over my budget for January 2012, and reflected on December 2011, my heart leaped with excitement. Christmas gifts were all paid off, end of the year giving was in the bank and I still had money left at the end of the month. Yeah Baby!
If someone took a look at my budget, and that beauty of a pie chart that Mint.com produces, some might argue that you gave too much away. I would argue, how much is too much? Who am I to tell God NO? He asked, and I responded.
Here's my thought:
If I was still in a financial debt pit, I would not be able to give and that would grieve my heart.
So…here is what you can tell those who think you may give too much away —
I am NOT going to apologize for being radically generous!
If you need help digging your way out of a financial debt pit, let me recommend some resources for you to explore:
- Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover – this single book was an investment, but the lasting result has changed my life. Whenever I feel the itch to go on a shopping spree, I pull the book out and read it. It helps me refocus.
- Financial Peace University – many churches sponsor these classes and you can find a class near you. I know that my church held this class and many people's lives were changed because of it.
- Crown Financial Ministries – this program has been around for year's and has helped many people turn right side up.
- Financial Counseling – Dave Ramsey's company also offers one-on-one counseling, however, you might know a financial advisor who would be willing to help you out with a little free counseling. I recently met with a friend, who is also a financial advisor, just to make sure I was making the right choices.
- Gazelles, Baby Steps and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me about Debt – Jon Acuff shares his own journey of getting out of debt. This book is hilarious and I recommend that you listen to Jon read the book as he adds his own humor to the written word. You can get the audio & ebook bundle for $10 on the Dave Ramsey website – it was the best $10 I ever spent!
Question: How did you kick debt to the curb? If You can leave a comment here.
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