Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the Gospel of Abundance

I'm not church bashing, really I'm not (well, ok maybe a little)... there was a time when all that I ever saw on the tv evangelists was more and more talk about the ABUNDANCE that God was supposedly going to provide everyone. (one particular 'gentleman' w/slicked back black hair, a big ol' smile, and a southen accent stands out in my mind) Of course, they were quick to post their 1-800 number with someone ready and willing to take your credit card number so they could take this 'message from God' all over the world (do ya smell what I'm steppin' in?)... um.... excuse me?

And now our 'nation under God' is floundering. And we wonder why. A long time of over indulgence in the name of God has resulted in broken promises... mortgages not paid, car loans in default, investment accounts dwindeling...

Now don't get me wrong... husband and I don't even begin to pretend that we get it all right. We've been in a number of tight spots that not for the help of a willing friend or family member and we would just be another one of the statistics... but in all honesty, I don't think we've been overindulgent. We bought our house for 10% less than its appraised value. Its a fixer-upper for sure, but I know that we're also building the skills and knowledge to make us (partially) self-sufficient homeowners. Sometimes we've had to learn the hard way (like when husband installed our $100 thermostat wrong and it let the ac & heater run at the same time for a month), sometimes we've lucked into a more affordable solution (like when my stepdad's nephew came and fixed our heater blower motor for no labor charge), sometimes we've un-necessarily spent money (like $30 a month on a home warranty that denied repairing our broken heater blower motor), and a lot of the time... we wait. We wait to fix it until it NEEDS it or until we've saved enough to do what we WANT to do.

And that gets me wondering... do we as a nation know the difference between needs and wants anymore? When we attended Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, his guidelines taught us that food, clothing, shelter, and transportation are NEEDS. Note that furnishings, decor, landscaping (sorry C-re!), remodels, brand names, designer labels, dining out, elite neighborhoods, and new cars are not a part of that list. Because, none of those are needs.

I wonder how many Americans that are currently floundering realize that driving a hoopty (sp? ha!) is OK. Heck, until December of '08 husband and I both drove cars that were over 10 years old, and husband still is driving that ol' Jeep (its 12 years old, btw). And the 'new' (2005 Ford Taurus) car that I'm driving we bought from my mom with cash. We would still be driving the other vehicle that we had now, if that deal hadn't worked out for us. And that would be ok.

I wonder how many of them have closets full of clothes that they paid for with a credit card. I know that none of my clothes (w/ the exception of mmmhmmmm 'unmentionables' bought on credit when I was newly married and very stupid about money) ever sent us into debt. In fact, to be honest, when husband started his new job last fall at a very elite private school and needed new work clothes, I sent him to Goodwill. He came out w/ 4 pairs of khaki slacks (some still had tags on them!) for under $20. All were in great condition, and all will go back to Goodwill this summer b/c he has lost too much weight from coaching (what a problem to have, huh?). And all will be replaced w/more slacks from Goodwill. And none of the preppy kids at his school know a thing about it. And we're talkin' about kids who KNOW how to check out each other's designer labels.

So, what I'm saying trying to get at is this... I'm not judging you if you got into yourself into a bad spot. Because we're still digging ourselves out of credit card debt. We've been there. And its not fast or easy to dig yourself out. Its work. And we have to be willing to work. And suffer a little. And sacrifice. And honestly, the only abundance we have any hope for, will not come in this life.


  1. Amen, sister.

    How many faced with years of debt take the easy way out and just fold and walk away? We've been there. It's hard. it hurts. Debt is the biggest bite of humble pie ever. It's easy to toss the blame away. We had a son with medical issues, very expensive medical issues. But with those kind of medical bills and making no lifestyle changes to accommodate them - it meant we were living beyond our means. But, we've crawled out from under debt, too. And that feeling is a very, very good one.

    I think, or I hope, this is a wake up call for all of us who have grown accustomed to living beyond our means. The US Gov't doesn't model it. Very few actually do. But blogs like yours, posts like this one... once you start talkin' about it, it does a nation good.

    I would love to see America crawl out from under its debt too.

    Thanks for the tip on my post. I actually respoded back to you there, but came to thank you here as well and got sucked into your post. Long winded, aren't I?? Sheesh.

    Thanks again.

  2. Lately I've been trying to live into this simply profound quote that I saw on a bumper sticker years ago: "Live simply, that others might simply live."