Friday, May 11, 2012

Life's little ironies

I am going to be debt free this month. Yay. That massive debt that I started the year with will soon be no more by May ending. I thank God because He really helped me and was very understanding about a few things.

I use a free little spreadsheet to make my monthly budget and also to make a list of all my consumer debt. I love it because I can see everything at a glance and I can calculate to my heart's contents within the program without having to drag out my calculator (the computer one lol of course.)

After the church I currently attend did a two or three week sermon series on debt using Dave Ramsey's principles (it's called Life Church for a reason-so far every sermon has had real life applications for me), I changed two things in my spreadsheet. I introduced the red cells to mark out the debt I had completely paid off, and contrary to conventional wisdom, I paid off the lowest debt first. Dave Ramsey calls it the snowball effect. Thanks to my spreadsheet, I see that there really is no change in when the total debt would be paid off, (I have a little function cell that calculates how many months i have to pay off), but Dave Ramsey was going for how good it feels to see the paid off debts accumulate. He is right, it feels good to see all that red on my spreadsheet. I don't know why I chose red though, don't even like the color. 

Anyway, so this month is the first time in a looong time that I bounced a check. Isn't that ironic? I mean all year I've been operating at a negative according to my spreadsheet (outcome much greater than income), hit by many surprises, higher than expected light bill, increase in gas prices thus affecting my budgeted amount, the girl I was training with dropping out so I had to pay the entire trainer fee by myself instead of the half that I could comfortably pay etc but I had never bounced a check. But this month, the last month, the month where I was even paying less in debt, and I had extra instead of a deficit, I bounced a check.

I found it so ironic. It's all a matter of timing of course, a payment came in late and a payment went out early and that threw everything off but its so odd you know. There's a lesson in this somewhere. I am pretty sure. To be frank, I wasn't stressed out, because I already knew the outcome, whatever negative balance my bank account says right now, I am going to be debt free at the end of this month, without having to be creative about anything, no need to steal from peter to pay paul as i did at one point blatantly and I have been doing all along but God is very understanding like I said ;) (I have been hiding behind the fact that I don't have a church home as reason for paying back my tithes, sigh. Bad, I know. But umm yeah, while I decide on Life Church or any church I guess I can give my tithes to YouVersion/Biblegateway because I use those sites daily.)

All this reminds me of a verse that I first really read in medical school and really helped get me through the doubt and fear back then:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10. 

I read that verse way back in 2005 as part of a Charles Stanley devotional and it really calmed my fears. See, my journey and acceptance into medical school was not a given, good grades, automatic entry but a sign of God's infinite grace towards me. So I would tell myself, you know what God put you here for a reason so best believe He will be faithful to complete what He has started in you, Phil 1:6. 

So it is with this ironic negative balance. I knew the outcome, come May 25th, I will have a spreadsheet covered in red with zero balance on everything so I didn't sweat it at all. 

Now to apply that verse to every other aspect of my life for which I am in the waiting room. 

It is well. 

Post Script/Shoutouts
First, I am always complaining about customer service, so let me give praise where praise is due to Bank of America right now. Without any hassle, they erased the overdraft fee and set things to right. I am still in awe over that one. 

Second, Charles Stanley. He is one of my favorite TV preachers. In 2004, his ministry- In Touch Ministries- had a online bible school that was totally free of charge: Charles Stanley Institute. I lived for those daily classes, quizzes and memorization of bible passages. I even earned my certificate and had it hanging in my study room in my old apartment whilst in medical school. Shoot, I still have that certificate with me right now in El Paso.  Every month I would get his monthly letter in the mail until I left Miami (geez 7 years) and it was always on point for my life. I also loved the ministries monthly magazine. I stopped receiving it though, I guess I should have updated my mailing address with them. He took every photo on the cover. I thought that was pretty amazing too. 

Ok, this is long enough. Am going to be late for work. 

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