Years and years ago, before I mastered money, it mastered me. I’d spend money to feel good about myself. It was a confidence booster. I felt excited, alive. It provided me a temporary high, made me feel happy. I got my value from ‘stuff.’ After coming to Christ, and realizing that my value as a woman, comes from God and God alone, spending HIS money wisely, was His very first lesson on my agenda.
Wow, was it hard. I rebelled and fought Him for what seemed like forever.
In looking back, I learned many lessons along the way. Here are my top tips.
Lesson #1 – You Cannot Win Against God
Oh, but the times I have foolishly tried!
It reminds me of the story where Jacob was wrestling with God. We know we’re going to lose that battle, yet, we fight all the more. Our flesh doesn’t want to change. We have a desire to sin. At the same time, being a new creation in Christ, we have the POWER to win.
If you see yourself in this situation now, I’d like to encourage you. I was there and conquered it with the help of Christ. You can too. If you’re a Christian, His power and strength over sin is already in you. If you’re not a believer, or you’re just unsure about it all, I invite you to check out the post, “How to Know If You’re Really saved?”
Lesson #2 – Spend Your Money Wisely
There’s a story in the Bible how a man went away and left his 3 servants with different amounts of money while he was away. I came to the point in my life, where I realized, I was the wicked and evil slave. I was lazy in how I spent my money. More so, I was selfish. I spent on me and sometimes others. I’d justify myself by saying, “Oh, I’m buying that for her or him, that’s okay to spend frivolously.” The problem is that I’d end up not giving it to that person, but keeping it myself. It just seemed a quick way to get something for myself. My eyes led me to lust for stuff. Finally sick of my own sin, I cried out to the Lord to help. Ready, willing, and able, He did just that. Over the next few years of my life, He would teach me many life principles in how HE wanted ME to spend HIS money. I am the woman before you today because of those valuable lessons.
Lesson #3 – Submit to Your husband
By now, you either hate me or love me. Those words are so divisive in our culture, yet they are so true. The Bible commands us to be submissive. That doesn’t mean to be your husband’s slave or submit to sin. There is protection for those situations. What it does mean, is that your hearts’ attitude is full of love, grace, patience, and submission to the betterment of your family.
When you and your kids are hungry at the same time, who do you feed first? I bet you say, “my kids.” Of course, you are submitting to their needs ahead of your own. Likewise, you should submit to the needs of your spouse and put his needs ahead of your own. Jesus submitted Himself to God and became a man. Did that make Jesus inferior to God? Certainly not. They were equal. To Christ, you and your husband are equal, but everyone, and I mean everyone in a family, has a particular role to play. Getting to know your role as a woman, single or married, will help you attain your value, not from humans or ‘stuff,’ but rather from GOD. He’s the One that made you, so it’s fair He gets to determine your worth….and He says your pretty valuable. 🙂
Lesson #4 – Know Who You Are
Find out WHO God wants you to be. What His plan for your life is. He died for you, you are His child. We are His servants and our actions should reflect that truth. This spills over into all areas of our lives, even money. If I am in the Word and caring about what He cares about, I’m giving, I’m generous. When I’m out of the Word, I tend to be more selfish and self-seeking, less giving, more stingy. When we know who God created us to be, then we can truly feel and be fulfilled, and in turn, we won’t be seeking to fill that void with things like money or stuff.
Lesson #5 – God Will Meet You Where You Are
It doesn’t matter where you’re at when God comes into your life to save you. All that really matters is that He’s there. It doesn’t matter about your past, your bad money spending habits. It doesn’t matter if you’re in $60k in debt. He WILL provide for you. He WILL take care of His children. I know one of the main reasons that He allows me to live well on so little is to inspire you, to prove that He is real, because it’s not fathomable any other way. What I do is nothing short of a miracle, graced by God. Rest assured, I do my part. I work hard. I’m a people-pleaser. I want to be the best I can be at whatever I’m doing, I”m not sitting around waiting for Him to provide, but I also know my limitations, my failures, my lack of strength. Thankfully, He doesn’t have limitations! And He blesses me just to prove He can.
Lesson #6 – If You Are Faithful in Little, You Will Be Faithful in Much
One of the first things He started teaching me upon my true salvation is how to spend wisely on a very small level. Four years ago, when I gave my life to the Lord, I was homeless! All that I had I could fit in a car, and most of what I got out of the house was for the kids, due to a physically abusive situation. There was no time. I grabbed what I could, called a local church to protect me while I got myself and the kids out. No gas in the tank, my husband took the debit card, I borrowed money from that Pastor to get away. I had literally nothing, and if I only had $5 to my name, I vowed to Him to spend that $5 wisely. After some time, I saw it grow to $10 and $20, then $100. Whatever He gave, I kept my promise to spend wisely. It took MONTHS before I hit $20! It was a slow process for me, and it may be just as slow for you.
Lesson #7 – The 24 Hour Rule
The Bible says that our needs are clothes, food, and shelter. Outside of that, EVERY SINGLE purchase should be prayed about for 24 HOURS if you have a sin problem like I did. Sometimes, I would forget, and buy something small, like a pack of gum and have no regard to ask God. Not that buying a pack of gum is bad, but that He was trying to teach ME a very specific principle. That is to live my life for Him, in the little things, and in the big things. How could He trust me with the larger purchases, if He couldn’t with the smaller ones? Also, starting with the smaller purchases was easier to tell myself NO. It’s not like I was sacrificing too much. I needed to condition my body to say NO to MYSELF. Soon, I would know if something was frivolous or a bad purchase. If I didn’t know, I’d ask God. While He never answered me from Heaven in some loud and booming voice, in the quiet depths of my heart, I prayed that He would teach me what was unwise and what was wise. It was a very quiet time for me, just me and God.
Many NO’s later, over time, I gained the trust back of all that knew me. Today, it is my PASSION to teach other women how to save money. Because I have, with the help of Christ, crawled out of the trenches of debt and slavery to money and my flesh. I have mortified my flesh with regards to money, and because of that mortification, I do not desire many things money can buy. In fact, a friend asked me the other day, what I wanted for Christmas. I honestly still have no clue. I have everything I want and need. I have my children, a beautiful home with a large backyard and a garage, friends that I would die for, and a God that never gives up on me. What more could a woman ask for?
If you’re struggling with debt and you feel overwhelmed, I encourage you today to know there are so many more resources available today than there was back then. You can do anything you set your mind to, that is not against the will of God. Hold onto that…until next time, I am praying for you.