My Journey Out of Financial Bondage

By September 12, 2017 Debt, How to Get Out of Debt

“How did I get here?”

Have you ever asked yourself that question in regard to your financial situation? Maybe you’ve reached a place where the pressure from your ever-increasing debt feels like a 3-ton truck parked on your chest. As your bank balance continues to decline, so does your hope for a brighter future.

Let’s be honest. No one starts out their adult life thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great to be a slave to Mastercard, Visa, or Sallie Mae?” Yet that’s exactly how Proverbs 22:7 describes the relationship between a borrower and their lender.

When we get that first credit card or loan, we don’t plan to rack up charges we can’t pay at the end of each month. Nor do we intentionally refuse to save for emergencies. Usually it happens because of the small decisions we make each day – combined with the lack of a realistic spending plan. Before we know it, we’re drowning in a sea of debt without a lifeline.

Admitting I had a problem

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced that sinking feeling firsthand. When I started college, I did what many students do. I got a credit card with the intention of using it for emergencies. That worked fine at first. But a fun weekend getaway with friends quickly showed me the danger of using a credit card without the ability to pay it off each month. The high interest rate on my card – in addition to loans for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees – quickly led to financial stress in my life.

Maybe I could have avoided some of the pain by listening to people who understood the potential dangers.  My mom (who worked for a credit counseling organization for decades) tried to warn me.  And as the International Journal of Business and Social Science documented in 2012, the statistics were not good:

  • Fifty percent (50%) of college students had four or more credit cards
  • 30% of students had “maxed out” their credit cards
  • In 2004 — the average college student had only $946 in credit card debt
  • In 2007 — the average college senior had a $3,000 credit card debt
  • By 2008 — the average increased to $3,173
  • By 2009 — the average soared to over $4,100

Many of us know that credit cards can be dangerous, but we use them anyway. And sometimes we make small mistakes that lead to bigger ones. The Credit Card Act of 2009 made it somewhat harder for students to obtain credit cards, but it didn’t completely eliminate the potential debt risk. Most Americans today borrow money for secondary education, which can create a recipe for disaster. In fact, graduates from the Class of 2016 finished college with an average of $37K in student loan debt.

Finding a way out

While my future husband and I were dating, I was honest with him about the amount of money I still owed. Although my credit card debt was paid off by then, my student loans weren’t. It wasn’t the way either one of us envisioned starting our marriage, but we agreed to tackle the problem together.

Despite our commitment, it took years to finally find a way out. No, we didn’t declare bankruptcy or inherit a large sum of money. In His goodness, God offered us a lifeline through the principles in His Word.

When I joined the Career & Work department at Crown Financial Ministries, I learned from our CEO, Chuck Bentley, that the Bible includes more than 2,300 verses on money and possessions. That’s an impressive amount of wisdom! God’s Word addresses practical topics like planning, spending, debt, saving, and investing. But it also teaches us about heart issues, such as ownership, contentment, honesty, and generosity.

Before my role as a Project Manager for Crown, I didn’t realize that the Lord uses our finances as a test. The way we handle what He gives us (whether it’s a lot or a little) is an indicator of what we believe about Him. And every lesson God teaches us in this life is preparing us for the next.

MoneyLife – The Intersection of Faith and Finances

Through Crown’s MoneyLife Personal Finance Study, my husband and I learned to adopt a biblical perspective on money and possessions. We started to experience peace and freedom beyond what the world has to offer. We grew closer to God and to each other. Our stress level went down and our joy increased.

We’ve become more sensitive to the needs of others, and we finally have the capacity to help when someone is struggling. Best of all, we know the legacy we’re building today will impact future generations for years to come.

The most important step my husband and I took on our journey was going through the MoneyLife Study together. With each lesson, God gave us hope that we could reach our goal of becoming debt-free. We used the practical tools in the study to build our spending plan, track our expenses, and develop an accelerated debt repayment strategy.

The course was exactly what we needed. It provides structure yet flexibility, allowing us to access the online content at a time that worked best for us. It combines timeless Biblical principles with practical assignments to help us stay on track. Plus it encourages accountability while offering a healthy measure of grace.

If you’re ready to change your financial future, now is the perfect time to take that first step. Sign up for the online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study today and join my husband and me on the journey to true financial freedom!

Crown Financial Ministries is a 501c3 nonprofit organization supported by donor funding and product sales. Our mission is to train God’s followers to be good and faithful stewards in their personal finances and career. Read more about Crown’s ministry in action here.

Our team strives to provide high-quality, relevant content like these blogs and other free resources to help you on your journey to true financial freedom. If you have been helped or encouraged today, please consider supporting Crown’s ministry by making a donation.