Here come the confessions…
I thought and prayed long and hard about admitting the depth of my compromise on the financial and romantic fronts and have confidently decided against it. As much as this confession is to keep myself accountable, I am aware that I have a following, not a massive one (yet), but enough to watch me, read my posts, message me, come up to me in real-life and hug me, thank me, give me advice. You celebrate and mourn with me on this journey. And I love it!
For some of you, the expression of my struggles is the catalyst you needed to get into the gym, tell that guy you’re not sleeping with him, do that thing you’ve been putting off, let go of those items that crowd your life and cramp your freedom. It is for you that I do not give specifics on how great my debt is and where my physical/sexual boundaries are. The Bible says: “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you treat him with contempt? For we all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.” (Romans 14:10-14)
For those who know Christ these are personal issues between us and Him. The truth is, the Bible repeatedly states to owe no man anything (except the debt of love). Over and over it says debt is bad, and yet most of the developed world is in debt. The Bible states to have no part with fornication, adultery and sexual immorality, and yet, you can’t even turn on the TV or listen to the radio without seeing or hearing the very things we’re to have no part of. How do we navigate this kind of world… a world similar in spirit to that of the cities of Corinth or Rome when a large portion of the Bible was being written?
For those who don’t share my faith; debt, finances, physical, sexual and emotional intimacy are still some of the biggest issues faced. These are not light and airy topics where I want to throw my own opinion around in such a way as to influence anyone to make their debt ceiling or physical boundary based on mine. Each of us must make that right in our own hearts and minds. I will share my compromises in vague terms and implore you to be open and honest with yourself about where you are and where the “right” place is. Take it to God, listen to wise teachers, research, analyze the data, learn what is right and good and walk in that direction.
As for me...
I entered single life with debt on a car loan and about the same amount in savings. My net worth went from respectable as part of a couple to nothing. I floundered through the adjustment into single parenting and two moves and tried to hold on to as much of that savings as I could. Slowly, a rental deposit here, a school expense there, and more than a few self-soothing purchases, it dwindled. Then a dental bill wiped it out and left outstanding debt. After trying so hard to “be good,” the savings was gone. With that cluster of grapes consumed… I stood back and watched as the foxes ate up the whole row. I justified a new wardrobe because, well… why not? It’s not like I’m the only woman to ever put a few hundred dollars of clothing on a card. I rationalized mini-vacations around the state because, well, I didn’t need a man to guide me and keep me safe in the woods. I wanted to go camping and explore exciting places and hike natural trails to gorgeous waterfalls. Besides, it’s not like a few hundred dollars in summertime adventures was that bad. I absentmindedly charged foot races and associated expenses. But the kicker, the big mama, the most reckless thing I’ve ever done financially came last 4th of July. Ironically, the day we celebrate independence, I indebted myself more than ever before. I bought my big, beautiful, shiny, gray, quad-cab, short bed, nice rimmed, four wheel drive… my lady in waiting, sweet Guinevere herself!
With the exception of home ownership, I have never been in this much debt. I am chained, bound... owned. I do love my Guinevere oh so much but absolutely HATE feeling indebted. It is a stench in my nostrils. I am bound, owned, by a thing and an entity that demands my payment. Worst part is… I did it to myself! I have no one to blame. I knew debt was dumb, I listen to Dave Ramsey! I knew the terms of the loan and still, I signed. Now here I am, in my pit, with my shiny rig that I love.
I have a plan. I’m done with debt. I’m digging my way out. I found another roommate to share living expenses and my excess is going to pay off my debt. I’ve stopped adding debt. I’ve restricted my “fun and leisure” activities at the expense of my social life to get out of bondage. It’s not going to be easy or quick but I’ve repented (again) and I’m digging my way out (again) and this time may I never jump into these shackles again. May I be debt free and set free and may I never forget the hard work it takes to get that key to freedom!