This is part five of our six-part series for anyone waiting for his/her next big thing. Part one of the series explains why getting ready is so important. Part two switches gears to what we can do to improve our relationship skills, part three continues with what we can do to improve our emotional health, and part four shares what we can do to improve our physical health. In today’s post, we move to what we can do to get ready in regards to our finances.
Truth be told, being in another relationship when Reggie came along is not the only time I wasn’t ready and almost missed my blessing. About a year before I met Reggie, I sensed God prompting me to earn my master’s degree in what I understood to be “my religion,” Christianity. However, I was over $15,000 in debt and Pastor Jenkins, senior pastor of my home church First Baptist Church of Glenarden, began a series on financial freedom. Moved by the sermons, I purposed to use any extra money in my budget to pay down my debt.
A few months later, Pastor Jenkins announced that Bethel Seminary would be teaching satellite classes at our church. I felt in my spirit this was for me, but I was torn. I was still in debt, so I prayed. I also attended the Bethel Open House a few weeks later. I still felt that this was my season to attend seminary. So, armed with the cost of the classes, I prayed even more fervently. How was I going to pay for seminary when I still had to pay off all this debt?
The answer came in the form of a phone call from my mortgage company offering to refinance my loan at a lower interest rate. The new loan had a shorter term (20 years) that allowed me to pay off my loan sooner than I would have with my current loan (30 years). That is not all. The total cost of this new mortgage (the whole 20 years of payments) plus the $15,000 to pay off my bills was less than what I would pay if I continued my current 30-year mortgage. But wait there is more… If I rolled the $15,000 into my mortgage, the mortgage interest would be tax-deductible. Needless to say, I refinanced my mortgage and paid off all my other debt except my car note.
A month later, I received a bonus that covered the cost of my first three classes. For the next seven years of my seminary career, God provided bonuses, pay raises, and discounts allowing me to pay cash for every class I took in seminary, pay off my car note 18 months early, and save an emergency fund in excess of $15,000. In other words, instead of being $15,000 in the red, I was over $15,000 in the black.
Reggie asked me to marry him five years after I started seminary. When he did, I said yes with the peace of knowing I could fund my dream wedding and still have several months of expenses left over in savings.
A lack of money almost kept me from seminary, an experience that transformed my life. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again—not if I could help it. This whole experience taught me a few things. They are:
1. Remember That Where God Gives Vision, He Gives Provision
God is our provider. If He wants us to do something, then He will provide for it—beforehand. He did this with my wedding and each seminary class I took. This is an important concept to get, especially if marriage is in your future. Money is one of the top three reasons for divorce, with communication and sex being the other two.
If I had entered my marriage believing that Reggie was my provider outside of God, I would have struggled, especially considering my salary was triple Reggie’s. Now, don’t get me wrong. God may use Reggie, or a husband, as provision (and He did after we married) the same way He used refinancing my home. Or He may not. Our job is to trust Him, pray, and follow His promptings in regards to money.
2. Expect the Unexpected
Be open to the creative ways God may provide. God does not always provide the same way. I purposed to use any extra money in my budget, which at the time wasn’t much, to pay down my debt. I expected to be paying down my debt for months. Instead, I was able to pay off my debt in months. Then, multiple sources of money (bonuses, pay raises, and discounts) allowed me to pay cash for seminary and a different source of money (savings) allowed me to pay for my wedding. My point is don’t put God in a box.Be open to the creative ways God may provide. #AreYouReady #GetReady Click To Tweet
3. Pay Off Your Bills
Before refinancing, I paid extra on my bills each month to pay them off, then paid extra on my car note (which I paid off 18 months early) and mortgage (which I will pay off early too, God willing). When I got a large influx of money through refinancing, I used it to pay off my bills in one lump sum. So, it doesn’t matter whether you pay a little more each month or a lot at one time. Do whatever works for you, just pay off your bills.
Through this experience, I learned money is a tool, one I want in my toolbox. That way, I am ready to move when opportunity knocks. Having the money on hand for my wedding was a much more pleasant experience than the anxiety I felt when the opportunity for seminary arrived. Also, we are not to hesitate when God prompts. Having the money on hand makes this so much easier.Money is a tool, one I want in my toolbox. #AreYouReady #GetReady Click To Tweet
Finally, don’t stress if the cost of your dream exceeds your current balance. The total cost of my seminary career was well over $25,000. Thankfully, I didn’t have to pay that all upfront. God provided as I took each step towards my dream of graduating from seminary. Paying off my debt was the first step. Then each semester, I had enough for that semester’s classes.
Big dreams are often accomplished this way—one step at a time. In those situations, I focus on what I can do today to move me towards my dream trusting that God will provide whatever I need next, whether it is money, knowledge, skills, a connection, healing, or even knowing what the next step is. So, take a step today to prepare for your next big thing.Focus on what you can do now to move closer to your dream trusting what you need next will come. #GetReady Click To Tweet
The “Are You Ready” Series:
- Part One – 3 Key Issues To Consider When Waiting
- Part Two – 5 Relationship Skills To Improve While Waiting
- Part Three – Tips for Emotional Healing While Waiting
- Part Four – 7 Actions to Take to Improve Your Health While Waiting
- Part Five – 4 Money Moves to Make While Waiting
- Part Six – 5 Tips and Benefits to Growing Spiritually
- Do you have a vision of your next big thing? If so, what is it?
- What are you expecting to happen in regards to your next big thing?
- Are you debt-free?
- Do you have savings?
- If not, what are you doing to pay off your debts and save, so you can put money in your toolbox?