For all of you who emailed me through this website, please accept my sincere apologies for any delays in my response to you. I wanted to post here answers to the most commonly asked question. Because while each of you who took the time to contact me – and thank you for taking the time to contact me! – had very different lives, you all had similar stories and the same basic question. So here are some quick answers for those of you new to Your Money God’s Way and amiestreater.com.
I’m scared. We’re way over our heads in debt. What do we do now?
Dear friend, I feel your pain. I was scared too. I was wracked with fear, guilt, dread, anxiety, you name it. I could not sleep without Benadryl for two years. I’m not proud to admit that, but it’s true. So first of all, know you are not alone. I’ve been there. If I can walk out of it, you can too. I’ll wager my mess was worse than yours. Even if yours is far scarier, you CAN do this. But you have to repent of whatever behavior got you into your mess. Repentance means only to turn the other way and do something different. You can repent to God simply by praying the following, “Father God, I am so sorry for the way I have been managing my money! Please forgive me. Please help me learn ways to be smarter with my money and send me people who will help me. Thank you for forgiving me and please bless my efforts to get financially healthy. Amen.”
Second, cling to your spouse. I know it is easy to fight right now, but resist the temptation. You need each other now more than ever. Regardless of who’s fault it was, let it go and fight the fight TOGETHER. You need to make love to each other as often as you can possibly manage (if you think that’s TMI, get over it!) and talk, talk, talk. But make sure your conversations are healthy and results-oriented, and not finger pointing or blaming. This is coming from someone who was pretty much solely responsible for running up the family debt and blessed by a man who never once called her on it. DON’T POINT FINGERS. If your spouse is responsible, they already know it, so don’t make the problem worse by continuing to point it out.
If you’re not married, you need an accountability partner to lean on. It can be a parent, a close friend, a pastor, a Bible study group leader, your mailman, I don’t care. Find SOMEONE who knows what the Bible says about money and knows how to manage money wisely. This means don’t trust some broke moron who wants to boss you around for a little while. Find a wealthy, healthy, Christian person whose life looks like the life you want to have. Then do what they tell you to do.
Third, find a good church. I will make a bold statement here: YOU CANNOT DO THIS ALONE. You need a circle of committed friends around you to walk with you through this. You need sound Biblical teaching. If you don’t know what that looks like, read “Your Money God’s Way.” If your pastor preaches anything in conflict with YMGW, run. I don’t mean that out of arrogance but out of firm conviction of what the Bible teaches.
Fourth, find a Financial Peace University class near you and GO. Go every week. No excuses. Do the homework. Work the program. IT WORKS IF YOU DO. It gives you a sensible series of steps to clean up your mess. When you’re done, sign up for the next class. Keep going until you “get it.” I’m currently leading my 14th class and I get something new out of it everytime. Accountability rocks.
Fifth, pray. Pray your socks off. Morning, noon and night. Pray without ceasing. Tell God how you feel and how scared you are. He cares and He will help you. There is nothing else in heaven or earth more powerful than prayer. I’m proof of that.
A few other tidbits:
Talk about it. We have to be honest about our failures and struggles if we want to get past them. Stop pretending everything is okay if it’s not.
Save money any way you can. Don’t keep doing what you’re doing. Look for ways to trim expenses. Learn how to be thrifty. It can actually be a fun change of pace.
Know that Jesus loves you. It’s not just a song. Now more than ever, know that God loves you so much He sent His Son here to die for you. You are FREE because Jesus already paid the price for your mistakes and your failures. You don’t have to bear them or walk in shame because the payment has already been made. Receive it. If you need help with that, please email me. I promise going forward I will stay on top of these emails and help you discover the freedom that is YOURS if you simply ask for it.