Back in the days before we had a budget and some financial goals, we were kind of roaming around aimlessly in the financial world. Mike and I both had jobs that we worked hard and did our best in, but we never seemed to be getting anywhere with our debt or our spending. Actually, we were getting somewhere: into more and more consumer debt. We just didn’t really realize it yet.
Once we started this journey to becoming DEBT-FREE, we suddenly realized that the reason we weren’t getting anywhere with our money, despite our best intentions, was that managing money in such a way that you end up gaining and not losing something takes a whole lot of work and discipline. We realized the truth about getting rich (or at least, not financially poor): there is no quick and easy fix. I think I always knew this intellectually, but I have definitely not always known what this actually means in a real life way.
Turn over to Proverbs 6:6-11.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
That was us: the sluggards. Not that we weren’t working hard at our jobs or anything. We were certainly not just sitting around on our behinds eating bon bons or something (what the heck are bon bons? I don’t know…) But we had a lazy attitude toward our money and our debt. And scarcity came upon us “like an armed man.” He literally snuck up on us, held us up at gunpoint, and stripped us of just about everything but the basics.
It took these dramatic events for us to come to an understanding that we needed to become serious about learning to handle our money in a wise way. We had to learn how to work hard not just at earning an income, but in directing and alotting our money in a way that honors the Lord. When it comes to money (as with most things in life) there is no such thing as, “Eh, it will all just work itself out in the end.” I mean, maybe it does for some extraordinarily lucky person. But the reality is: for about 99.9999% of us (including us) it takes real diligence and effort to become a wise manager of money.
I LOVE Proverbs 13:4:
4 A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
I know exactly what the verse is talking about! When we were living without a budget, just charging things to the credit card whenever we *thought* we needed something, it seemed like our appetites were never ever filled. There was always something else. Not that we were big-time spenders, but it was a bunch of little things adding up. Hmm- I don’t our bathroom curtain, let’s just get a new one. I don’t feel like cooking- let’s just go out tonight. None of these things were bad by themselves, but they were bad when we were unrestrainedly spending money we did not have or that could have gone to better use.
Then we learned about diligence: “constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.” We have stepped in to a persistent undertaking to get out of debt fast. Nothing is allowed to distract or unrail us from this, and we are daily choosing to exert our efforts and live with self-control and sacrifice in order to accomplish this goal. It is NOT easy. It is NOT quick. But our hearts have been satisfied in a whole new way.
And you know what? God has been faithful to us because of our diligence. We don’t know how we have managed to pay off $5000 in debt in three months making $20,000 a year. It doesn’t make sense. But somehow, our little tiny fishes and little tiny loaves are being multiplied. 🙂
How about you? What have you learned about the art of diligence? What things have you had to learn to give up or delay as you persist in learning how to manage money wisely? Leave a comment!
Read more Truth About Money here!