Making conscious choices allows you to overcome the challenges of your life. By breaking you out of autopilot, they break you free of the bonds of a mediocre life.
But your life won’t escape mediocrity if you make conscious choices about only a few things. You must make conscious choices about everything. That can burden just as much as the mediocre life your conscious choices helps you overcome.
Instead of swapping burdens around, you can leverage the power of habit. By working on your life one area at a time, you can adopt the habit of making conscious choices in a way that tips the balance towards liberating you.
For many, personal finances will likely top that list of life areas to reform. New Years resolutions regarding finances enjoy almost as much popularity as losing weight. Plus it’s just hard to feel free in other aspects of your life when this one area has you in bondage.
You need not feel imprisoned. Just as you can free yourself from the shackles of old, defunct ways of thinking, you can remove the chains of financial servitude. You can put your house in order.
Pay your tithing
The first step is to give the Creator of the universe what He’s marked as His. In so doing, you access the powers of heaven. Given the strong, thick cords that often comprise financial bonds, getting all the help you can just makes sense.
In my life, I’ve almost always paid tithing. Yes, I said almost. And yes, there’s a story behind that.
When I switched my career to education, I couldn’t find a job. So I made my own by starting a tutoring business. I learned lots in that experience, but I also didn’t make any money. And when you don’t make any money, you don’t pay tithing.
I had that business for just over a year — plenty of time to develop a habit of not paying tithing. So when I finally found a job in education, I followed my default habit and didn’t pay tithing. And, as I look back now upon that time, I see I didn’t have the blessings that come with paying tithing.
I’ve worked hard to re-establish the habit I once had, and now I’m seeing the blessings from paying tithing. The Lord has provided miracle after miracle in providing me financial support once I first walk by faith and pay my tithing. No financial house can be in order where tithing is not paid.
Eliminate your debt
Of course, excessive debt also indicates a financial house out of order. No matter how hard you work, interest will always work harder. Interest never sleeps. Interest never eats. Interest never stops.
Just like turning off the faucet stops an overflowing bathtub, the first step to clearing debt is to stop the flow of new charges to your existing debt. This requires a huge amount of discipline which many people don’t have (which is why they have financial problems to begin with).
But there’s good news. If you pay your tithing, you can access the powers of heaven to turn things around. I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to write the last check that paid off my student loans. I also remember when I received the title for my car. Those were wonderful moments when I savored freedom.
They didn’t come all at once. They came as I exercised the discipline month after month to pay the small portions I could every month. Step by step, I achieved my freedom.
Save what you can
Once you get out of debt, it’s best to stay out. And part of that is having enough in store to weather the rainy days that will surely come your way. One accident, one job loss, or one other unfortunate event can quickly bring you back into the bondage of indebtedness.
Again, the end result doesn’t happen overnight. You need the discipline month after month to set aside what little you can every month into savings. And you need the discipline not to touch that money outside of legitimate emergency need.
I’ve never been a profligate spender, so I’ve always saved by default. Most people aren’t that way; they spend most of what they earn every month. Still, I can see some wisdom in making the conscious choice to set aside a certain amount for savings every month. There’s a difference between simply letting something happen and acting to ensure it happens.
In the end, the conscious choices we make in managing our money reveal the discipline we have in managing ourselves. By making the right conscious choices, we can have a house in order. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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