It’s now 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning after a sleepless night, and I’ll be honest, it’s one of those days when “devil” and “debt” seem synonymous.
I grew up listening to Dave Ramsey whenever I was in my dad’s truck and even had to read one of his books before I got my first cell phone. So being newly married, 25, and knee-deep in debt sometimes makes me feel like I’m failing at life.
Brandon and I would both very much like to be out of debt before we have children or buy a house.
But as many of our friends begin that process, I can’t help but feel like we will never get there.
Maybe you feel that way too.
The ironic thing about debt is that it can make us feel alone and “behind” everyone else in life, when the majority of people we know are in the same boat – whether or not we know it.
I truly believe that debt is something we should never be comfortable with. But, I also know that my anxious heart is prone to drift to the opposite extreme – of having no peace with debt.
And that’s just as bad.
So as odd as it sounds after a sleepless night filled with anxiety, here are three reasons why someone anxious about debt, like me, should be thankful:
1. It makes you appreciate what you have.
There was a time when I had no debt. I even had a pretty decent savings account. I made frequent trips to the mall and didn’t think twice about eating a nice meal out with friends. I enjoyed those things, but they didn’t mean anything special.
When you are working hard to get out of debt and budgeting monthly, it makes opportunities to buy a new dress or go to a nice restaurant that much more enjoyable. Because you know that you earned it, it’s in the budget, and you can savor that moment.
2. It teaches you to steward your money.
Without debt, it is easy to spend money on anything that fascinates you in the moment. When you’re in debt and trying to get out, there has to be planning to spend. And planned spending means wiser spending.
Learning to steward money will reap great benefits in the future when you are out of debt. Rather than throwing money into what feels like a bottomless hole, you will eventually be throwing it into a savings account. Won’t that day be wonderful?
3. It reminds you that your money is not your own.
I’m embarrassed to admit that looking back at the time of life when I did have money, I was stingier than I am now. I had to let go of the god of money when we entered debt. And the sad thing is I didn’t even know it was a god in my life before.
As a believer in Jesus, my money is not my own- I’m just working as a bank, stewarding God’s money. If you also follow Jesus, your money is not your own- no matter how much you have. It is just a matter of how well you are stewarding what God has given you.
When we steward His money well, it leads to more giving. It’s like the widow in Mark 12. She gave two small coins, but her offering was larger than the offering of the rich- because it was all she had. Jesus doesn’t see the dollar amount we put in the offering plate; He sees the heart amount we are willing to give.
And a lot of times those with nothing learn to trust God more, and they therefore give more.
So, yes…debt sucks. But it also is a great opportunity to gain perspective. It helps us realize we have nothing apart from Christ, but we have everything with him. Money can get distracting. So while God honors our fight to get out of debt, let’s not miss the grace we are being shown NOW, in debt.
Okay, glad I sorted that out. I’ll go back to bed now.