Many of us have been living lives where debt is the norm for so long that we’ve just become accustomed to it, and the dangers of debt no longer ring a caution bell in our spirits. Regardless of whether or not we think the debt we have is a danger, the danger is still there. I felt impressed today to go over some of the benefits of starting the road to debt freedom. Why should you start today? Here are a few reasons:
1. Debt causes physical and emotional stress. Being in bondage to your house or your bills causes real physical and emotional damage to your body. WebMD, in its report on The Debt-Stress Connection, tells us that “Those who report high levels of debt stress suffer from a range of stress-related illnesses including ulcers, migraines, back pain, anxiety, depression, and heart attacks.”
The report also tells us that stress activates our “fight or flight” system, causing your heart to race, your pupils to dilate, and your body to release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
Since debt is not a “one-time thing” like a bear attack, your fight or flight system in regards to debt can be activated several times a day. Imagine the havoc this is placing on your heart, brain and immune system.
2. Debt places undue stress on marriages and other relationships. If we’re constantly worried about how we’re going to pay the bills or feed our family, let’s face it: we’re not going to have nearly the amount of patience or love in our hearts that we need to have to preserve our marriages and families. Worry is a major producer of fear and anger. When we live in debt, we’re often in a state of worry, hoping and praying that the car doesn’t break down or the dryer doesn’t go out, and this added stress most certainly spreads to those we love.
3. Debt takes you away from your true calling; spreading the love and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s our purpose here, if we want to get real about it, but how can we focus on spreading the love and salvation of Jesus if we’re spending all of our hours working for “the man”? Matthew 6:24 assures us that “You cannot serve both God and mammon (money).
Great, Laurie, you might say. All good points, but the debt is ALREADY HERE. How do we get out?
Praise God, He’s given me some answers to this too!
1. Go to God. When we first got to the point of “being sick and tired of being sick and tired”, as Dave Ramsey says in “The Total Money Makeover“, we were in a hole so deep that it looked like there was no way out. With only our necessary bills, we were $1,000 in the hole every single month. It seemed pointless to bother trying.
When we went to God, though, with a sold-out desire to get out of bondage to man so we could better serve Him, He gave us a new kind of wisdom. He showed us, and continues to show us, ways to decrease our spending, increase our income and manage our money.
A perfect example: At the beginning of our debt-freedom journey, our oldest daughter needed new shoes – her one pair of tennis shoes were too small. We had like, I don’t know, $8 to our name. I grabbed the coupon envelope and headed to the store. I went to the clearance rack, and with the discount coupon we had, got our daughter tennis shoes, new tennis shoes, for $1.78!
There have been countless other times when we’ve needed something that God has gotten it for us at pennies on the dollar. He truly will bless your efforts when you are seeking Him first. Sometimes the instructions He gives you might not make sense, but if you learn to drown out your own voice with His wisdom and instruction, your road to debt freedom will pick up some huge speed.
2. Choose to be committed. It won’t work any other way. Getting out of debt has to be more important that any other thing in your life (spending-wise) or it will not work. It’s that simple. If you really want out, choose the path that will get you out. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t budget a small amount for fun – fun is necessary for survival in your path to debt freedom. You will, however, have to make some hard choices about cutting things that you may see as necessities that really are not necessary at all. The house, the sports for the kids, the trips to the salon, they may have to go for awhile. The survival and sucess of your family depends on it.
3. Focus on the benefits. Write them down. What will debt freedom mean for your family? What will it mean when you no longer have to count your pennies to buy groceries? When things that used to be “emergencies”, like a broken water heater, are no big deal? When new clothes and dinner out are fun instead of scary? When you get to take vacations with your family?
The world is headed down a path of destruction that is causing havoc for everyone around. Choose today to get off the road of slavery to your money and your job. The library is full of great books on how the process works. Go to God and start your road to debt freedom today. I know you’ll be glad you did!
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