In the midst of these unprecedented times, being spiritually prepared helped me to keep my balance as the world was consumed with fear and panic. When the whole world shut down due to COVID 19 there was a stillness that covered the earth. I felt there was a heavenly message to stop, be still, and hear the voice of God. My soul became still and at peace. I was reminded that my foundation is in God. I felt an abundance of peace to guide me through those uncertain times. However, I wished I had been more temporally prepared. I know that many people were impacted financially from the pandemic. I hope in sharing my experience it will be a light of hope to anyone who has had financial struggles.
In December of 2019 I put in an offer on a condo. I had been looking for property for a year and a half. I was so excited to find what I thought was a good fit for me. I was devastated when my offer wasn’t accepted. It brought up so many emotions. I look back now and feel grateful I didn’t get that property. My journey to financial peace began after that experience. I have had different struggles with finances as a single mother raising four children. I also experienced many blessings of abundance. I do wish to share those experiences in a future book I am writing. For now I will briefly share how my outlook on my finances changed for the better.
I have attended many self help workshops and have given many workshops as a life coach. I have helped several clients change their belief systems around money, relationships, and their health. I believe letting go of negative beliefs and replacing them with positive ones is the catalyst for change. However, I learned of some new tools to add to my self improvement tool box. I have always been a good steward of the money God has given me. However, there was still room for me to grow and become better. Being only focused on changing beliefs doesn’t work. You have to look honestly at your finances and create a budget. That was the part I was missing in my life. I have never done a real budget. I would budget in my mind and be thoughtful in my purchases. That really wasn’t getting to the core of seeing how I was spending my money. Well I can testify that a budget changed my finances in big ways. In February I started listening to Dave Ramsey and began working the baby steps. Here are the steps:
- Save $1000 for a beginning emergency fund.
- Pay off all debt (except the house).
- Save 3-6 months expenses.
- Invest 15% of your income for retirement.
- Save for your children’s college fund.
- Pay off your home early.
- Build your wealth and give to others generously.
Once I decided to work these steps financial blessings came into my life and I increased my income during a world wide pandemic. With the power of intention and faith opportunities presented themselves. I moved forward paying off my debt with intensity and focus. The only debt I had was student loans from when I got my Bachelor’s degree. I didn’t use credit cards. I had a good habits of only paying for what I needed with cash. I would usually use my tax return to pay toward student loans but then not do much during the year. To be honest I was not focused to pay it off quickly. It was just another bill. That changed when I started to listen to pod casts about people sharing there story of how they paid of large amounts of debt super fast. Well I drank the Dave Ramsey Kool-Aid and I got intense about paying off my student loan debt. I looked honestly at where I was spending my money. I realized I would go shopping as a way to reward myself from working hard all week. Sometimes I would go shopping to avoid feelings of boredom. Even though I didn’t spend large amounts of money, my energy was spent buying stuff I thought I needed. I have really made efforts in the past year to live a minimalist lifestyle. This was another step to take it even further by getting out of the rat race and bondage of consumerism.
I had to learn to discipline myself in a different way. It is another level of self mastery when you have the money to buy what you want but decide not to. Money is energy and I became aware of a new way of how I could direct this energy. I made a budget to help me get control of my money. I did my best to stick to it. I haven’t followed it perfectly but it made a big difference in my life. Healing began to happen and the experience became more than just budgeting and paying off debt.
My journey of financial healing was brought to a deeper level. As I worked to pay off my debt the emotional baggage associated with it also released from my body. God was healing me emotionally, spiritually, and temporally. I would have memories of traumatic experiences I had when I incurred the debt. It was a time in my life where my children were healing from domestic violence. My focus was to emotionally heal my children and myself from my divorce. My heart’s desire was to make us a family that was whole and complete in Christ even though we were a single parent family. I decided to go back to school to get my Bachelor’s degree in business. I felt that the loans to help pay for school and monthly expenses would help make my life easier. The truth is it did for a short while. I really didn’t see any alternative. I look back now and realize the emotional stress I was under clouded my vision to look for other options. I never got into consumer debt. I had financed a car and had bought a home but that was about it. I thought it was a good debt because it was for my education and would ease the financial burdens of working and going to school as a single parent. It was one of the most stressful times in my life and I know that impacted my decision making at that time. I have now forgiven myself for the choices I made to go into debt for an education. I made the best choice I knew at the time. I would only recommend cash flowing education after this experience. The debt trap is the belief that you will get a better job and be able to pay the debt off later. Well life happens and things don’t always go as planned. I really don’t have enough words to describe everything I went through during that time. I just look back and see that I did the impossible under impossible circumstances. I did suffer immense heartache and would put on my superwoman cape to press forward to take care of my family anyway.
Now that my children are grown and I am focused on paying off the student loan debt, memories of my heartache are surfacing. I weep for the woman who had to handle all her children’s trials alone. I weep for the woman who had to continue to be strong because there was no other option. I weep for the woman who had to keep going through all the adversity. I can now talk to that younger version of myself and say ” You did the impossible. You are brave. You are strong. You got through it. It is okay to feel the heartache and let it go. Those trials were awakening you to your divinity. You are alive, awake, and free.” I can now consciously choose to let go of all the negative emotions and heartache attached to that time in my life when the debt was incurred.
Financial peace isn’t just about paying off the debt. To truly transform your life financially you have to heal emotionally and spiritually. Then you will become truly free to create something different. God is healing me through this experience as I intensely focus on paying off this debt. It is not just another goal to accomplish. It is opportunity to change my behavior, heart, mind, and spirit. It is a journey of self awareness and self mastery.
Here are somethings that are helpful working towards financial peace:
- Download a budget app like Every Dollar and start paying attention to where your money is going. This will help you to get control of your money.
- Reduce your spending and get out of the rat race of consumerism. You can listen to an audio book for free on you tube to assist you. I recommend Minimalism by Kiku Katana.
- Organize your life. Sell items you don’t need to pay off your debt. This will bring in extra money and create harmony in your space. Only keep those belongings that spark joy in you. You can listen to a free audio book on You Tube by Marie Kondo called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
- Understand your money beliefs and behaviors so you can make the transformation into financial peace. Rachel Cruze has a book called Know Yourself Know Your Money that would be helpful in increase your awareness around money beliefs.
- Use meditation and Visualization to help you heal emotionally and spiritually. Meditation and visualization are tools in helping you let go to the past and create what you want in the future.
- Forgive yourself for the stress and circumstances surrounding any debt you incurred.
- Get focused and intense about paying off any debt you have. Take on extra jobs for a short period of time so you can reach your goal faster.
- Self care. Remember to take time to nurture yourself as you heal and move towards financial freedom.
It was a blessing that I didn’t buy that condo before the pandemic happened. The disappointment put me on another path into financial peace. I got the wake up call from God to look at my finances more honestly and take control of my money. Are you ready to heed to the call?
Peace be with you.
Johnna Andrea Tuttle