I recently had to correct a financial mistake by making a bit of a sacrifice.
It was a necessary move based on the fact that my wife and I have begun a journey towards paying off debt and reaching financial freedom.
After not being very responsible in our early years, then having three kids and buying a house, we realized the need to take some bigger steps if we were ever going to be where we wanted to be with our money.
Fueled by Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and a solid financial plan, we started talking about sacrifices and what needed to happen in order to push us further along.
At the back of my mind, I knew there was one thing I needed to do, and yet I held on, not wanting to admit it or give in.
I knew that I needed to sell my truck and find something cheaper.
It had been an unnecessary purchase. It was too nice for what we needed. And the payment and the loan, while “affordable” according to our budget, were just going to end up keeping us behind in both dollars and years.
If we wanted to get ahead, if we wanted to have our debt cleared out in two years, if we wanted to enjoy financial freedom LATER, I knew I needed to do something NOW.
So the thought kept nagging me. The voice in my head wouldn’t go away.
And as much as I wanted to justify the desire to keep it, or at least find a way for it to be not as harmful, I couldn’t ignore it.
So I got rid of the truck.
And as I sit here looking back on that decision, I know it was right and good. And I can identify at least two things I learned from that whole process and experience.
#1 – Dreams really do take work.
I heard that quote from a speaker and author that I follow on social media. In his book Church Boy to Millionaire, Doug Wood talks about the work and sacrifice and effort and sweat equity and tears that are all necessary if you are going to achieve any of your dreams.
Our dream is to get out of debt so we can send our kids to college and so we can be radically generous with our income and bless people the way that God has blessed us. If we want to achieve that dream, it is going to take hard work. And I have to remind myself of that every day, because there are going to be days when I don’t want the work and I just want to jump to the dream. But, God calls us to patience and perseverence, and I’ll pray for more of both along the way.
#2 – It really is childish to only do what you WANT to do rather than what you NEED to do.
There is a verse in the Bible that has come to mind during this season. It’s 1 Corinthians 13:11, where the Apostle Paul says this:
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
Looking back, it seems childish to hold onto something that you know you don’t need, that you know is setting you behind on your goals, only because you just really like it and want it.
How many times in my life have I missed out on something GREAT for my future because I was clinging to something GOOD in the moment?
How many WANTS did I refuse to give up, that ultimately caused me to miss out on something even better that God wanted for me?
This is not the way that God wants me to live. He has called me to “put the ways of childhood behind me.” And Dave Ramsey says that “children do what feels good, aduts devise a plan and follow it.”
How childish is it to always do what feels good and to fail to do what needs to be done in order to secure a better future?
This is a lesson I still need to learn, and an area where I’m still developing.
Growing in our faith is not just about learning more about the Bible and loving Jesus more. It’s also about being shaped as a human being.
God wants to shape us not just as people of God, but also just as people in general. And He wants to see us depart from childish ways and learn what it means to be a mature, healthy, growing adult.