Thursday, September 1, 2011

Getting Out Of Debt

About 8 years ago I had this uncontrollable desire to get out of debt.  It consumed me.  It felt as if I had no other choice.  Boy I'm glad now I listened to this inner urging.  I was diagnosed just before Hurricane Katrina with Graves disease.  For years I knew I really hadn't felt well and thought something just wasn't right.  After several years of going to doctors and describing my symptoms I still wasn't diagnosed.  Not until my hands were shaking uncontrollably and I could barely climb stairs did a doctor finally recognize what this might be and he did a blood test that confirmed Graves disease was the problem.

Graves disease causes mental issues as well and I really thought for a time I was losing my mind.  Thankfully my faith in God kept me tethered to the ground during those hugely emotional times.  The doctors prescribed radioactive iodine treatment to stymie my thyroids out of control hormone production.  Now I have to take thyroid hormone to regulate the levels in my body and deal with the subsequent battle against weight gain.  Boy it was easy to stay thin when my metabolism was working overtime...Not so anymore so cutting down on the excessive calories I had to consume before has been an issue I'm dealing with as late.

   THANKFULLY...Debt is not an added concern on top of all the other challenges I face day to day...and I am so HAPPY HAPPY this is the case.

Byron and I are not any different than the average God fearing American couple.  We love our family, church and community and work hard to do the best for them all.  Unfortunately, most people have turned more to the marketers than God to determine how best to live their life. 

Marketing and our own pride has convinced us that to be, or more accurately appear, to be successful we must have the right accoutrement's which include a new clothes...coolest cell phone...  Unfortunately, with the way most people choose to live their life, and the way I did at one time, you must borrow to afford these things.  I found out quickly that this life was a huge weight and it chaffed against my knowledge of how I must live as a follower of Jesus.  The Bible simply states:

  1.Proverbs 22:7

The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:6-8 (in Context) Proverbs 22 (Whole Chapter)

I want to be a slave to no man and only a servant to God.  Geez, actually if chaffs against the whole idea of what it means to be a free American.  (So does many other things, but I won't go there now.)  I realized that my indebtedness actually made me a slave!  All of mine and Byron's future earnings were already owed to the overseer.  We weren't working for the future....we were working for the past!

I discovered Dave Ramsey through some friends, and thought Wow!  This is what I have needed for so long!  Instruction on real people real life money management.  His ideas made so much sense.  I found myself struggling up hill at first trying to do it on my own, but with enthusiasm and daily gentle encouragement and lots of love....I finally convinced Byron to get on board the get out of debt train and once we were united in a single goal as a couple .....we cruised through the steps!!!

It was so freeing to be out of debt!  No credit cards at all!  No car note at all!  Basically no house note at all (another long story maybe I'll tell one day).  We were free to work for our future instead of our past, give more to our church and do things we only dreamed of hiking to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon (an experience I will never forget.)

I found myself wanting to share this with everyone!  I foolishly ran out and told everyone and shared it with everyone I knew.  Hey you don't have to be a slave to debt.  That's when I found out that most people like their debt chains.  Most really would rather you shut up.  They think you're crazy when you say they can pay cash for the car they want or they can go on vacation without using a credit card, or you can give up the false security of having a credit card "just in case" there's an emergency or you don't have to live from paycheck to paycheck.  It's the simple old fashioned...."Live Beneath Your Means!"
I think that most people have to much pride to drive a car or dress in a way that most people consider...'sniff' beneath their class in life.  There's a scripture for that too:

1.Proverbs 16:18

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:17-19 (in Context) Proverbs 16 (Whole Chapter)

Many people find themselves in financial straights because of pride, and then call out for God to deliver them from the snare that he warned them of in the beginning.  You must deliver yourself, then God will bless and help. 

How many people have I heard poor mouth about not knowing how they will pay their bills then pull out their I-phone....Really?  Not trying to be judgemental.  It just makes you wonder.  My husband drove my Father's old Suburban that my parents gave us with no air condition even during Louisiana summers.  Yes, he had to endure jokes from people he worked with about having the junkiest car at work, and people really do judge you by the car you drive.  Shallow, yes!  But we experienced this during our getting out of debt time  We did it though!

I would like to encourage anyone who is having trouble to seriously consider Dave Ramsey's advice.  He has a great website.  You can listen to his radio show and there are many other resources...just google's there.

I will tell you.  It's a load off the mind not to owe....and without stress....I'm a lot healthier now!

Here is one of Dave Ramsey's videos to start you off!


Wanda Stricklin Robertson said...

Thank you for this inspiring blog, and congratulations for being debt free. I fear this 'instant gratification' attitude will bankrupt many people. I teach at university level where the students are required to buy books. They come to me with sad stories about how they can't afford their text, then pull out a $600 phone and wear $200 jeans. Your blog was just refreshing this morning!

Carlisa Lyndon said...

Living within your means is the best way to stay out of debt. Recognize the thin line between what you need and what you want. With this, you can make informed decisions as to where you will spend your earnings.