Last week in church, Pastor Reimer announced that a new 9-week session of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Course will commence at the end of this month. If you have never heard of this course, it is a “biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God’s way,” and if you wish to learn more about Dave Ramsey and his financial counseling credentials, you can visit his website here.
My husband and I first learned about Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class about two years ago (at Koza Baptist Church). Keen to not only pay off all of our debt, but also establish a more consistent and God-honoring way of budgeting our finances, we signed up for the class and completed the full nine week session. We got off to a great start, but unfortunately fell off track several months later.
When I created this blog earlier this year, one of the very first posts I published was one on tithing, and learning to trust God in the process. The day I wrote that post, I felt convicted over how quickly we had lost sight of our financial goals, and more so, over our lax attitude towards tithing. Determined to honor God by obeying His commands, and trusting Him to provide for all of our needs, I turned over the management of our finances to Him once more. The following is an update of our financial situation since then.
The week we re-committed to following God’s financial plans for us, we stepped our game up by increasing our tithe, and also by obligating ourselves to tithe every single weekend, even if circumstances prevented us from making it to church (we would simply give a double tithe the following weekend). The very next week, before we had even had a chance to get to work on our new commitment, both mine and my husband’s cars decided to cause a few mechanical problems, resulting in a combined car bill of just over $1000. Immediately following that, my computer suddenly quit working and required a visit to a repair shop – another unexpected bill. What to do – should we persevere with the commitment we had just made, or put it on hold for a while? We decided to push through, choosing to trust that God had it all under control. First test – Passed!
A couple of weeks later, after paying the car and computer bills, we were running a little low on “available” cash. My in-laws send a monthly check for my daughter, which I deposit directly into her bank account, and it so happened that during the week that we were stretched for cash, I happened to have my daughter’s monthly check in my wallet. I hate to admit what I did next, but I walked over to our bank’s ATM machine to deposit the check into mine and my husband’s account, all the while telling myself that I would “pay back” our daughter as soon as we got paid.
I took the check from my wallet, along with another business check that needed to be paid into our account, and I attempted to make the deposit. I inserted my daughter’s check, and the machine spat it out! I inserted the check again, and again, and again. Each time I tried, the machine spat the check right back out. Confused, I decided to insert the other business check to see if maybe the machine was faulty – the check was immediately received and deposited to our account. And then I heard that small voice that I am all so familiar with, my conscience, telling me to walk across the road to our daughter’s bank and pay the money order into her account. “Okay, Lord. I will trust You!” Second Test – Passed (Just)!
Most recently, about a month ago, I knew we were close to reaching our goal but I also felt a little despondent after I reassessed our budget and saw that even after we were in the clear, we would still need to make careful decisions and resist the urge to make purchases that we could not afford. Over the course of the next few days however, I began to see God bless us because of the choices we were making – choices that reflected a new discipline and ever-growing desire to tithe and give more generously.
As of today, I am happy to declare that we are completely debt-free, with a three-month emergency fund in place, and a retirement investment that is partially funded and will hopefully continue to grow at the rate it currently is. Our challenge is far from over; we have other financial goals yet to achieve, but the greatest burden (being in debt), has been lifted. We now have the ability to save up for things that we would previously have taken out a loan for, things like trips, electronics, vehicles, and furniture. And probably the greatest blessing, is now having the ability to give a little more.
I do believe that financial peace is possible. For some of you, financial insecurity is not an issue, but I know that that is not the case for most, and if you fall into the latter group, then I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Course. If you want financial peace and freedom, it will come at a cost (you will have to start saying “no” to things you want to buy, even if they are on sale, and you will need to trust God by tithing or giving as He prompts you to), but it’s a lesser cost than carrying the stress of being in debt and struggling to get by as you live from pay check to pay check.
So ask yourself today – “How bad do you want financial peace?”
Financial Peace University Class at Koza Baptist Church – Starts Saturday 28th September 2013, at 6pm (click here for class sign-up)
[Side-note: How much you earn should not influence your decision to start tithing and budgeting. We are a family of four, living on my husband’s wage (he is a SSgt. in the Marine Corps.), and also a little extra from the work I do as a running coach. According to the current US Bureau of Labor Statistics, our combined income places us in the “just below” median household income category – so my point I guess, is that earning capacity is irrelevant to your ability to get out of debt, and live on a budget.]