Yesterday, I introduced my focus areas of 2017: prayer discipline and discipleship https://www.newhopeyouth.org/2017-focus-areas/. These focus areas aren’t meant to be a to do list that is complete, but a lifestyle change that sticks around for the long haul. Today, I want to share two more: write, speak, teach and make a dent in our debt.
WRITE, SPEAK, TEACH
I love to write, speak, and teach. Whether it’s about life lessons, Jesus, human trafficking, or technology – I love it. The fear of failure keeps me from doing it more than I do. What if I write, and no one reads it? What if I speak, and no one listens? What if I teach, and no one gets it? Well, that’s going to happen every single time I write, speak, and teach. Not everyone is going to read it. Not everyone is going to listen. Not everyone is going to get it. But you know what? I believe one person will. Maybe it’s only one in a crowd of a hundred, but it doesn’t make it any less impactful to that one. So I always pray for “the one.” I don’t even need to know who the one is. I just want to be obedient and do my part to give them a chance to respond and do their part on the next step in their journey.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others; let him give generously; if it is leadership; let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8
MAKE A DENT IN OUR DEBT
Did she just admit to the world that they are in debt?! I sure did! Oh, the journey we’ve had with money. Talking about money makes a lot of people uncomfortable, so before you abandon ship – I’m going to keep it at a high level. Shawn and I both entered into our marriage with a small amount of credit card debt and car debts. Then, Shawn lost his job in late 2001, right after we had bought our first home. I was working full time, but it just wasn’t enough. During that time, we paid all of our bills on credit cards. We weren’t buying fancy things or spending unnecessarily, but the debt from just our regular monthly bills was just too much. He got a job months later, but the damage had already been done when you combined it with what we already had in debt. We spent the next two years trying to pay off the credit cards. Although we did not put a single dime on those credit cards in those two years, our balances continued to climb. We eventually declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy to pay back a portion of that debt and get rid of the rest. We’ve learned our lesson on credit card debt. Never again. If we don’t have the cash, we don’t buy it. But we didn’t learn that lesson on our house, cars, medical expenses, and education, which puts us in our current situation. I’m thankful for a God that provides as we’re able to continue to make a dent in that debt. This is the only one of these items that eventually we will be able to cross off a list. Not this year, but with our continued commitment to be debt free – one year it will be!
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
“…and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7b
What are the gifts that God has given you? Are you using them? If not, why? Be intentional to discover what your gifts are and start using them. Be honest with yourself about your fears and call them out. When you do, sometimes those fears lose their power when you call them out for the lies they are.