In December of 2018, I made one of the most important decisions of my life – I decided to let go of my fear, scarcity, and lack mindset. On December 31, 2018, I paid the remaining balance on my student loan.
I am now completely debt free!
I have more to say about what led to this major event but first, here’s a look at my debt free announcement on my YouTube channel:
YouTube Debt Free Announcement
A Scarcity Mindset
Now that you’ve seen my debt free announcement, I’d like to share more about what led to my epic, symbolic, year-end decision to pay off the student loan.
As I said in the video, I started a Financial Independence journey in June of 2018 with the plan to pay off my student loan. The plan involved sticking to a strict budget and making extra monthly payments towards the loan.
After I started my debt-payoff plan, it dawned on me that the only thing I did differently between July and December of 2018 was apply more of my income to the debt, instead of letting extra money accumulate in my account.
Padding my bank account made me feel more secure should anything happen to cause me to lose my income. I remember what it was like growing up in a paycheck to paycheck household, where there was rarely money left over to save. I didn’t want to be in that position, so I developed a habit of hoarding money.
An Opportunity To Choose Faith Over Fear
Two years before I started my financial independence journey in July 2018, I decided to sell my house. Although there were several reasons for this decision, my primary motivation was to create more room in my budget to pay off my loan more quickly.
God blessed me with a very seamless home-selling process. I had an excellent real estate agent and, because my house was large, well-maintained, and in a highly sought-after school district, it sold very quickly. I earned a great profit from the sale that was enough to pay off the student loan.
But, I didn’t use it for that. I considered it a few times, but fear held me back. Instead, I made a safer decision to use some of the money to pay off my $6000 car loan instead of my nearly $30,000 student loan.
The truth is that I was afraid to let go of the money. I worried that something would happen to cause me to lose my income. Maybe I’d be laid off, get sick, or have an unexpected expense that I needed to cover. I had to make sure that I had enough. Enough.
I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was always afraid of not having enough. So, when I reached a point in my adulthood where I had more than enough, I held onto it.
Even though my basic math skills showed me that the savings minus the debt equaled zero, or less than zero, I didn’t care. I was fine with slow paying the student loan debt if it meant I would have always have enough.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I often asked myself why I was placing more trust in my savings account than in God.
The truth is that I, like many human beings, was trusting in what I could actually see. I could easily check my bank account and see that the money was there. But, making the decision to take more than half of my savings to pay off my debt was a big step into the unknown. I could not predict what would happen next.
When it comes to trusting God, we are not able to see the results of that trust. We don’t know what will happen if we step out on faith. But, that’s the thing about exercising faith. It’s not about what we see, but about having hope in the unseen.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 NIV
As I shared in the video, I began to feel a shift towards the end of 2018 to eliminate my student loan debt.
Every time I would check my budget spreadsheet, or make an extra loan payment, I felt like something was off. I kept asking myself, “why are you doing this? Just pay the loan off!”
After prayer and going back and forth with God, I realized that the Holy Spirit was nudging me to do what I needed to do: place all my faith in God as my provider and use His blessing from two years prior to pay off the debt. So, I obeyed.
As I adjust to a debt free life, there are several areas where I am exercising my faith.
Faith In My Ability To Continue To Budget Responsibly
I agree with Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes about the benefits of wisdom over money. Money will take us far, but wisdom provides preservation and protection:
Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of wisdom is this: wisdom preserves those who have it. – Ecclesiastes 7:11-12 NIV
I believe that I am a wise budgeter. I know how to manage my money because I’ve been doing it consistently for years.
The reality is that not having a solid budget could have easily led to me spending the money I profited from selling my house. Instead, I chose to follow a budget, living almost entirely on my income, instead of pulling money out of my savings account unnecessarily due to poor planning.
I have no reason to doubt that my budgeting skills and success will change just because I have less money in my savings account. As long as I continue to budget responsibly, I will continue to have everything I need.
Faith In God’s Word About Money & Debt
There are many verses in the Bible about money and the role it plays in our lives. Here are several verses that have helped me personally on my financial independence journey.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Luke 16:13 NIV
Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7 NLT
It is important to note is that there are no explicit mentions in the Bible about debt being a sin. However, there are many actions and behaviors that, although not sinful, are simply not good for us.
Some of you say, “We can do anything we want to.” But I tell you not everything is good for us. So I refuse to let anything have power over me. – 1 Corinthians 6:12 CEV
For me, it wasn’t just the debt itself holding me back. There was also the lack and scarcity mindset that began to have power over me. I realized that, if I didn’t confront this, it would only get worse. Although I am still working on my relationship with money, paying off the debt was a step in the right direction
I truly believe that verses about money and debt in God’s word are not meant to condemn. Rather, they are intended for correction and redirection, urging us as Christians to set a higher standard for our lives in the area of personal finance.
Faith In God’s Provision
Learning to rely on God as my provider is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Although I have made progress in exchanging striving for thriving in most areas of my life, I still catch myself believing that I am my provider.
I understand now that, ultimately, the paths, blessings, and means of earning a living are all from God. How does God provide?
Righteousness – God promises provision for those who follow Him.
Once I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the Godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. – Proverbs 27:25 NLT
Skills & Talents – God blesses us with talents that we should use to glorify Him in all areas of our lives, including our work.
In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift of showing kindness to others, do it gladly. – Romans 12:6-8 NLT
Favor – Our God-given talents and gifts (see above) have the power to open doors for personal, professional, and financial growth.
A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. – Proverbs 18:16 NKJV
Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will perform before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. – Proverbs 22:29 NIV
How Will You Choose Faith Over Fear?
I hope you’ve been inspired and encouraged by my personal story of choosing faith over fear to become debt free. Is there anything currently holding you back from trusting God in the area of debt or personal finance? If so, please share below!