The Starting Point

I recently had the privledge of helping a friend with her budget. As I sat with her, sorting through her bills, she kept saying “Oh, I just don’t even want to know.” Her face was pale, her hands sweaty… kind of the feeling you get when your oldest son urgently yells, “Mommy, come see what Luke did! (my one-year-old).” Your heart starts racing, dread overwhelms you, but not going into that room doesn’t change what’s in there.

Fear had absolutely controlled her approach to money for years. She was constantly afraid that there wouldn’t be enough, so she felt like she would just rather not know and live however she wanted to. However, as a result, debt had crept in, and she never did the things she really wanted to because of the fear. The weight of finances had overwhelmed her to the point that she felt powerless and hopeless. As we sat and worked out her budget, for the first time she was able to face what it cost for her to live as compared to what she earned. At the end, she sat there so relieved and at peace. It didn’t change her situation automatically, but she could finally begin to be purposeful with her money and working towards her dreams.

There is nothing quite as debilitating as fear… fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of poverty. When it comes to your finances, fear will continually work against your dreams, undermine your confidence and sabotage your good intentions. It is not a light thing to reckon with, but it has to be addressed from the very beginning or you will never know where to start or where you stand. I have heard so many people say that they don’t want to budget because it is just too restrictive, and yet it seems that debt is their continual friend. Ironically, debt is actually more restrictive and oppressive than simply knowing exactly where you stand and spending purposefully. If you don’t know exactly what you need to live each month, what your bills average, where your money is actually going, can I just suggest that you might be living in denial? The amazing thing about budgeting is that it actually can set you free from that continual denial and from fear. In knowing exactly what you are earning, what your current debt is, and where your money is going, you are able to face the reality of where you are… and that is the only point to start.