the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. this is one of our highest goals (second to giving) and probably will be for most of our lives.
i want to start out by saying that paying off debt can be addicting. staying out of debt can be just as addicting. it's amazingly fun to see such momentum, to feel so much relief, and to feel so free from the bondage of debt.
i don't know about you, but these feelings of relief or momentum can cause problems for my heart. it causes me to question: would i rather give to someone in need...or fill our tuition fund?
the problem is, neither one of those things is a wrong choice. it's certainly wise to plan for expenses and try to stay out of debt. and it's definitely within reason to contribute a donation to someone in need. it begs the question, how do we choose? my head would choose the savings account every time. often, my heart would as well.
bryan and i have come to the conclusion that we are not going to be successful in staying out of debt unless we're committed to generosity first.
"honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine." -proverbs 3:9-10
when we give to the Lord first, He fills us up. this principle is not just true with finances, but it is true in every aspect of being a follower of Jesus. He loves for us to lay ourselves at His feet and let Him work through us, not in spite of us. we have personally found this to be true in our lives. when we are generous, which is only because of God's work in our lives, we feel blessed by God. this is not a blog promising unending financial blessing from God, or even any kind of financial blessing from God. all i'm saying, is that God always seems to meet our needs, especially when we give.
while we are always striving to stay out of debt, we simply won't consider taking away from our tithe or saying no to a support letter just because we want to lower our debt. it's just too tempting to be a good idea. : )
goals to stay out of debt in 2011-2012
- pay off $5,500 student loan as quickly as possible, preferably before interest accrues
- increase our mortgage payment
- save cash for a second car
- save 6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund