I've always been someone with the best of intentions, and I love to give to those less fortunate, especially around the holidays. However, there were many times in my past where I had the good intentions to give, but ran out of money before I could actually give. Apparently, I wasn't so great at managing money. I lived paycheck-to-paycheck, with no real plan for emergencies that might pop up or for anything, really. I was in survival mode.
To learn why I was in survival mode, check out a recent blog (in case you missed it) about my own health and financial struggles, and how God brought me through them ...
A Christmas Prayer.
Anyway, the best of intentions are nothing more than a tought if you don't make a plan for success and stick to it.
One day I was driving and God spoke to me, as He often does while I'm driving. He revealed to me the reason I kept ending up in debt with poor cash flow.
He reminded me of the times I had gone shopping to buy the kids things because I felt guilty for having to work so much, even when I didn't have the money. I'd just put whatever they wanted on a credit card. I also did this for myself. When I was having a bad day, I'd go buy a new outfit, convincing myself that the sadness and shame I was feeling at the time could somehow be fixed if I could just make myself look a little better.
Or, if I bought the dress, eventually life would give me a party to wear it to. Silly, I know, but it was a hope that kept me going. Problem was, my hope was in life working out the way I wanted it to, and not in God and His ability to carry me through things, even when they didn't work out my way.
The truth is, shame and other negative emotions that come with life are NOT part of the abundant life Jesus Christ died to give us. He wants us to separate ourselves from those negative emotions, and the toxic, negative behaviors that result because of them ... SO THAT ... we can be FREE and be our best selves. He knows when we are our best selves, when we're not stressed and worrying how we're going to buy groceries week-to-week, then we will be more likely to give back to the ones in need around us.
In order to give abundantly, we have to live from a place of abundance. We have to escape the cycle of debt and poverty. And, guess what? You don't have to be "rich" or educated to make this happen! It just takes a little financial planning, and recognition of what negative emotions are driving you to spend irresponsibly. For me, it was shame. For you, it might be something different.
If you think you deal with shame, I highly encourage you to read the book, "Unashamed" by Christine Caine.
The Mercy Ministries offers a Faith & Finance class three times a year. For just $20 you get 8 classes, a workbook, meals at each class, and support from a loving and caring teacher and volunteer mentors.
I encourage you to take the class, beginning Jan. 15 (day class) or Jan. 16 (night class).
Or, better yet, give it as a GIFT to someone this year. Yes, just $20 and it is THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING! Learn more about the class by clicking here or calling Clint Hutcheson, University Director, at 912-524-4000 Mon. - Thurs.
Let's make 2018 our best year yet so that we can give back to our loved ones and the community around us from an emotional and a financially healthy place!