Archive | June, 2013

Turning It Over to God

30 Jun

20130630-170313.jpgI find that one of my greatest struggles as a Christian is turning over everything to Him. It sounds great, but when we operate out of our earthen vessels, it’s a very difficult concept to live from. I guess I have this tendency to think I can somehow manage to do it myself.

I am currently involved in Celebrate Recovery, and our lesson this week has been Turn. Turning our lives over to Him. I’ve made many turns in my life to Him, including giving my heart to Him on November 4, 2004. Yet, I still have issues in my life that I feel like I should be able to handle on my own.

BUT, that’s not the way God operates. He longs to connect with us and to help us; we only need to ask. Relationship with God is NOT about a one-time event. It’s about constant connection to Him and His will for our lives.

That’s so hard for me! I want to fix things myself. And to an extent, I have to get my hands dirty. “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 19:24 NASB). I don’t have to do it alone, though. I can ask God to help me over and over again. He doesn’t mind the persistence. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 NKJV). It’s so hard for me to give it over to Him and to trust Him to take care of me. He’s a powerful God; He can make up for my mistakes!

When I think about how I need to handle my finances, I need to do a better job of asking God how He wants me to handle getting out of debt and managing my financial future. I respect Dave Ramsey and what he has done to help people get out of debt. I believe firmly in his plan, but if I’m not seeking His will, I’m really just spinning my wheels. I have to ask Him, too.

Perhaps my, or should I say His, financial plan will be a hybrid Dave Ramsey plan. I am going to turn my finances over to God even more and ask Him to speak to me about what He wants me to do.

My prayer since I began this journey to clean up my financial mess (made because I didn’t ask Him what to do) has been that I would spend/save appropriately. That’s not enough! “God, I ask you to speak to me about how I should handle my finances. You know what’s best for me and my future. I ask that my financial mindset would align with your heart. I turn it over to you, Lord. I trust your plans for me. in Jesus mighty name, Amen.”

How do you turn things over to The Lord? What would you like to turn over to Him?

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Peace During the Furlough

16 Jun

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No fancy title this week. In just a few weeks, the federal government furlough begins. If you’re not sure what that means, I (along with around 650,000 others) will lose a day of pay a week. I won’t provide exact dollar amounts, but it will equal around a 20% reduction in pay until the end of this fiscal year.

Now, this is not an ideal situation for me (or anyone, really, but this is my blog, after all!). I decided a few weeks ago to put my debt snowball on hold and save up some money. I’ve actually been able to set aside some money that I plan to let sit there until an emergency occurs. My prayer is that I don’t need to – or want to – touch that money. If that’s the case, I will take the whole amount and apply it to my car loan after the furlough ends.

What is probably most interesting to me is the amount I’ve been living on over these last few months. Because I’ve been attacking my debt, I’ve become accustomed to living on a certain amount each month. I realized that the amount I’ve been living on is the amount I will be living on when the furlough begins. I’m so excited to know that God has been preparing me for this, really without my knowledge. How cool is He?

God really does care about what matters to us. Financial peace is not a little thing, and He has used these last few months to prepare me. A desire of my heart is to have financial peace. I’m taking strides to that path every day. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other!

God knew I wanted financial peace, and He has provided it to me. My continued prayer is that I will learn how to spend/save in accordance with His kingdom. I want to be obedient to His calling. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to bless someone when He asks me to.

How do you prepare for expected financial cutbacks? How do you find peace during unexpected obstacles?

End of Watch

7 Jun

20130607-170408.jpgI watched a movie recently called End of Watch. I won’t go into huge details of the movie because you can look up the reviews yourself. The movie is about two cops who are partners and always watch out for each other.

Spoiler alert: the end of watch comes when one of the partners dies in a shooting. And that is the point of this blog.

I shared with you before about my FAP. She’s been incredibly helpful to me over these last six months or so. But the End of Watch came recently. I’m still struggling some with my spending behavior, and she decided that it might be best for me to find someone else to help me. My behavior didn’t change quite as much as it should have. The FAP relationship caused some problems in our friendship, so we both agreed on the End of Watch of my finances.

Lately, I have missed the mark on my envelopes. I’ve spent outside of them. I got an early haircut, and it was outside my envelope. I got a mani/pedi that was way more costly than the money I withdrew from my savings account. I have lost a valuable accountability relationship. I believe firmly in the power of accountability. Yet sometimes I think I take advantage of the grace aspect. How wrong that is! “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1, 2 NKJV)

Paul understood how easy it can be for us to take advantage of grace. I feel like I took advantage of God’s grace and the grace of my FAP. I’ve found a new FAP, and I’m looking forward to the new journey. I’m sad, though, that my FAP won’t get to celebrate with me. I was looking forward to celebrating paying my car off. I wanted to go do my Debt Free scream with her. Now, I can’t do any of that.

I wish this post were a little more fun and friendly. But, I need to express the importance of a healthy accountability partnership. Both sides have to be invested. If one party can’t invest, the other party will just be wasting his/her time. Find someone you can trust. An AP should have the heart of a teacher and be willing to tell you NO. And there should be a level of understanding of the other side. The person being held accountable has to show that he/she is working the plan and trying to change.

I’m in transition and am a little concerned how things will go. Will I be able to do this myself? Will I be able to handle my next accountability partnership better? Will I ever gain control of my finances?

So, how do you maintain and find healthy accountability relationships?

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