You never forget the crappy days. As much as you want to, you can’t. I used to see this as a curse but now I see it as a blessing, for it’s important for me to remember how far I’ve come. Or, how far He’s brought me.
Lately, God has been bringing me to new and exciting places. An example of this is the new understanding He has given me when it comes to managing my finances.
I remember the day I signed up for my first credit card. I was heading to Jimmy John’s to get my regular #4 with no tomatoes when a man stopped me at the door with an enticing offer: Sign up for a credit card and get a Jimmy John’s sandwich for free.
Well, I was already going to get a sandwich anyway, right? I would actually be saving money.
I’ve always been a sucker for a good deal and being the poor, starving college student that I was, I couldn’t sign my name fast enough. I was thinking, I’ll get the free sandwich and when the card comes in, I just won’t use it.
Throughout the following five years, not only did I use that card, I used it (and another) a few too many times.
This all led me to one particularly crappy day. A crappy day with rain that fell sideways. The perfect backdrop for such a day.
I was on my way home one afternoon when my gas indicator light dinged and glowed bright orange on my dash. I pulled into the nearest gas station and with my shoes drenched and the rain still pouring, I slid my debit card into the reader. It was declined due to insufficient funds. I felt a tightening in my stomach.
I rifled through my wallet and pulled out my first credit card.
Credit card #2?
I was completely out of money, and payday was still a couple of days away.
I had another 60 miles to go on a nearly empty tank of gas and, due to the rain, traffic was not my friend. Admittedly, when I got back into my car, I had a bit of a screaming fit.
Really, God? Really? Why is this happening to me?!?
I took a few deep breaths, painstakingly swallowed the lump of pride lodged in my throat, and dialed the number that belonged to my best friend. Only a true friend could have understood words from the hysterical sobs I was emitting.
She left work to meet me at a gas station and put $5 worth of gas in my car so I could make it home. She gave me a big hug, told me everything would be okay, and headed back to work. I began my drive home, mentally trying to formulate some kind of plan. There had to be some way I could come up with more money.
Then it came to me. I could get another credit card.
A few short years later, I had managed to rack up a debt that equaled the price of a new compact car.
I experienced more than a few of these crappy days during this period of my life. I decided something had to change. I established a plan, worked hard to follow it, and a few years ago I officially paid off the last of my debt.
There are times when I still struggle with my finances, but the Lord is showing me daily how this is yet another lesson in trust for me. Some days I still get the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and I feel on the verge of panic that I won’t have enough to get by.
Those days, however, I am learning to come to Him with my worries and anxieties.
And those days I experience His peace more than any others.
Are you experiencing the tense tightening in your stomach or the peace that comes from complete trust in Him? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience for yourself the freedom that comes from learning all that He has to teach you when it comes to managing this area of your life.
He’s brought me through it. He can do the same for you.
Do you know someone who is struggling to break free from debt? Will you email them this post to encourage them to stay the course?