Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)
- TITLE: Owe No Man Any Thing
By Patricia Casey
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I remember at one point receiving many fashion catalogs in the mail in a single season. Everything in every magazine appealed to me. I realized that even if I won the lottery, I would never have enough money for all the clothes, shoes, coats, etc. that I would want. My fashion god was threatened.
As a new believer in August, 1997, I was excited to learn how to walk with God. Reading scripture soon after I was saved, I came across Romans 13:8: Owe no man any thing…
I had ten credit cards maxed out plus a school loan. I had just begun studying for my master’s degree, which would add another $18,000 to the total debt when finished. How could I ever recover from all of my mistakes?
I knew I needed to quit college. If I wanted to do things God’s way, I needed to stop increasing my debt immediately. It took me ten years to earn my bachelor’s degree. Growing up, I thought I was stupid. Succeeding at college fed my need to feel like I was smart.
No matter what, I would obey God in everything he asked me to do. When I made the decision to quit school, I thought it would be no big deal. Walking out of the college for the last time that day, I began to cry. I cried for three days straight. I didn’t realize that school was another god to me. (God isn't asking everyone to quit school, He had a purpose for me that was not about money.)
Next, I signed up with a credit counseling agency, which reduced my finance charges and gave me an affordable payment. I also cancelled all of my credit cards. It was amazing to me how much more real my spending seemed without a credit card. Now, the money had to be there at the time I spent it.
There was a second hand clothing store near where I worked. If I was to going to get out of debt, I had to learn to spend less money. The first time I entered the store, I felt embarrassed and humiliated. I always shopped in the best stores. It wasn't long though, before I freely shared with others the great deals I found.
I still had a long way to go before my debt would reduce to zero. I paid the max every month that I could, but it wasn’t going away fast enough for my satisfaction. I reduced my spending more and more each month. Instead of looking for great deals, I stopped spending. Unless the item was necessary for today, it could wait.
After seven years, I was down to one credit card with a balance remaining. Years before this mess, I convinced my husband to separate our money so I wouldn’t need to answer to him for my spending. God put it on my heart to ask my husband to pay off this final credit card for me. After sufficient preparation by praying with friends, I presented my request to him. He asked me how long it would take for me to pay him back. I let him know there would be no repayment.
This usually would be a disastrous situation. My husband’s god is his money. Imagine my shock when my husband agreed. I paid off the credit card immediately before Satan could squeeze back in and change his mind. A few days later, he regretted helping me.
One week after I paid off the loan, my husband received a letter in the mail. It indicated that the company he worked for felt they owed him $10,000, the amount he gave me to pay off my last credit card. Even after reading the letter, he didn’t believe it was true until the money came in.
Now God is teaching me how to spend His money. There are always new lessons when walking with God.
We are now debt free. God is faithful.
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