New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
This is the theme verse for the Total Money Makeover.
If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else. ~ Dave Ramsey
This is the motto for the Total Money Makeover.
These are our mission statements for the next year. I will explain what I mean and then give an altar call of sorts - or a reverse altar call actually.
When Jake and I got married six years ago, we had debt. It's pretty normal right? Student loans, credit cards, car loans. It's the American Dream right?
Wrong. It's not OUR American Dream anyway.
By all accounts, we are living pretty well. We have a home (with a mortgage of course), two cars, really good degrees with the promise of jobs no matter where we move, and money left over at the end of the month.
And in five of our six years, we were living from month to month. Why? Because we were spending money we didn't have to get things we didn't need. Instead of tackling our debt and using our finances wisely (See: Stewarding God's resources), we did what every normal American couple/individual/family does.
So in our sixth year of marriage, we are stressed out. Not because we can't make ends meet. But because most of our money goes to pay off creditors instead of being used for the things we have long desired to give our money to.
Jake and I want to open our home as a ministry for those in need. We want to mentor other couples in their marriage and family and life issues. We want to take our kids on vacations to see exotic and new locations. We want our kids to go to college debt free. We want a MINIVAN so we can finally take uncramped vacations. We want to go out to eat once in a while. We WANT all these things.
We COULD have them guilt free but for one thing: the overwhelming amount of debt we owe to others. Our money is not ours to spend/save/give - because technically, it belongs to the ones we owe.
Proverbs 22:7, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender" (NRSV).
Slaves - according to my estimation - aren't free to do much of anything except work and toil.
Frankly, Jake and I are sick to death of being slaves. We want to be free. And we want to pass down a legacy of freedom to our children and their children and their children and so on...
In the winter of 2010/2011, we took our first Financial Peace University class at our church. And in the first few months after the class, we paid off a HUGE amount of debt in our gazelle intensity. Several miracles occurred along the way to help encourage our enthusiasm. But as spring hit and the novelty wore off, something happened.
We are planning on being a bit like hermits for this coming year. We will not be taking any trips save for the ones that have already been budgeted this month - before the gazelle intensity kicked in. We will not be dining out, we will not be attending theaters, plays, concerts, or anything that costs money purely for entertainment purposes. We will not be traveling to see family and friends (again, save for the couple weekends we already had etched in our budget i.e. my brother-in-law's wedding etc.) We will not be purchasing gifts - homemade ones will be the best we can give including food at this juncture. We will even be giving up our annual Christmas tree (my sacrifice) to save that $40 toward debt. We will be living ultra-frugally (coupons are WELCOME if you have reserves)
This is NOT because we don't like you or are isolating ourselves from the world. In a year's time, you will probably see so much of us that you will be sick of our faces. :-P *just kidding*
A year from now, we are already dreaming up our trip to Tennessee where Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Plaza is to scream out our debt free status on the radio. (Times and dates will be given later so you can listen in)
We want you guys and gals to celebrate with us a year from now, so the celebrations for this year are put on hold in order to get there.
For those of you who like to give us gifts for our birthdays and holidays, we (Jake and I) are requesting nothing unless it's cash toward our debt or a hot meal once in a while. And THAT is not a plea for help. Just a preference. :-)
If you wish to see us during this intense time, feel free to drop by (let us know in advance so we can add some veggies or homemade ice cream to our rice and beans meal...) :-P
Just know that Jake will more than likely be working late and I will be keeping the home fires burning (and doing whatever odd jobs come my way). I tutor, babysit, walk dogs, garden, edit papers/manuscripts, and clean houses - let me know what you need and we can talk pricing.
Jake and I take great joy in this endeavor of ours and I also weep many tears knowing that our stupidity for the last few years has gotten us here in the first place. But we are not going to continue down that path.
Prayers and your understanding of our goal are the best things you can give at this time. We love you all and we WANT so desperately to be involved in your lives and friendships - but we want to do it without the weight of debt hanging over us.
Feel free to call or write during this time with encouragement, prayers, or questions. We are completely open and will not be offended if you think we're crazy...
(See: Dave Ramsey for further information about our journey)
Thank you for your support and love during this time! We love you all.