Recently, our family became completely debt-free – no mortgage, no car payments, and no credit card bills. We’ve entered into a new arena of truly enjoying our income. Since we don’t have the weight of debt, we can share our resources in significant ways with others.
There are plenty of resources out there that can assist you with the money side of this journey: budgeting, interest rates, refinancing, investing, etc. If this is a journey you are ready to take yourself and debt is controlling your joy and peace, then looking into those resources is worthwhile. We were able to find some great resources through The Village Christian Church.
1. Build a Community
While the first Christians began to build their church in Acts, the Bible says:
“all the believers were together and had everything in common.” -Acts 2:44 NIV
This was not referring to having hobbies in common, but the pooling of resources. First, be open about your goals to becoming debt-free. And be honest with your community about what you need to move forward with your goals. You’d be amazed at how God’s people show up. Investing your time in a lifegroup is one way you can build such a community.
I’ve participated in and heard of lifegroups helping with bills, childcare, meals, car rides, job opportunities, Christian counsel, and the list goes on. When you are a part of a community of believers, you do not have to do this alone. Utilize the help offered, especially if it could help you put more money down on your debt.
Initially, we tried doing this all on our own because we felt guilty about accepting help from others. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap. The second you aren’t paying money to interest, you can certainly have the time and resources to significantly impact someone else’s life. So, you can help someone who was once in the same position as yourself.
2. Be Prepared for Emergencies
Unfortunately, trials will come your way, especially when trying to get your finances under control. Scripture says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sister, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” -James 1:2-3
So the year of our biggest financial trials is the year we started attending The Village Christian Church. We were feeling pretty broken from all the trials we had just been through. While we built on our faith, however, our spirits were brought back to life. And we found new perseverance to keep going on.
Now we are prepared for emergencies, both financially and emotionally. Trusting in God allowed us to see the hope on the other side of things. It helped us lean into our chaos, and come out better for it in the end.
3. Find Contentment
Lastly, I’d like to talk about some lifestyle changes our family made to achieve our goal. These mindset changes were crucial in having the perseverance needed to tackle such large sums of money.
Contentment is the best tool to becoming debt-free. As believers in Christ, we are living for the eternal, not for the ways of this world. The world wants you worrying about what you wear, how flashy your house and car are, and the trends you are participating in. Do you have the latest electronics, are your kids in the “best” programs/schools? All of these things that the world deems important cost money. Plus, they can bring you farther from your goal of becoming debt-free, especially if you are using credit to achieve them. Yet Scripture tells us,
“godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” -1 Timothy 6:6-8
Find contentment and enjoyment in your relationship with God – not in the things of this world. This takes practice and self-discipline. But this results in the ability to say no to frivolous spending, and focus on what matters. Print out a few months’ worth of your spending. I guarantee you can free up a couple of hundred dollars worth of spending right off the bat. You will find the things that don’t contribute to your contentment in life, things you can live without. In Philippians, Paul says:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:12-13 NIV
Lean on the Lord throughout this process, and ask that he give you the strength to find contentment in this situation – the situation of becoming debt-free.