Picture this: You’ve just finished the nine-week Bible Study, Navigating Your Finances God’s Way. You’ve got your budget belt tightened up and you are primed to check off the first box on the Money Map and you have $500 saved toward your goal of $1,000 for the Emergency Fund. Then, a family member gets injured and needs to be taken to the hospital. The bill exceeds the $500 you’ve tucked away for emergencies, but the hospital works with you to make payments for the difference.
You start tucking money away again in your Emergency Fund and plugging away at the hospital bill when it’s time to get the kids ready to go back to school. Back-to-school shopping can be frugal with planning, but it has the potential to slow you down as you’re trying to build the emergency fund back up.
Finally, the big day arrives when you’ve accumulated another $300 into the emergency reserves and you realize that you can pay off the balance on that hospital bill. It feels good to have that bill paid, but the Emergency Fund is back to zero. And so it goes.
Does this sound familiar? There are seven, count them, seven destinations on the Money Map with several steps in each. That doesn’t sound like too many, but how many of us feel defeated because we can’t get out of the gate at destination one? Realistically speaking, we probably have many boxes on the Money Map in progress. We might be making house payments, contributing to a retirement plan, tithing, saving for our children’s educations, and paying off credit cards all at the same time. But sometimes it can be very frustrating to have one setback after another on the very first destination.
Today, I just want to write to encourage anyone who has experienced or is currently experiencing this scenario. The Money Map is meant to be just that, a road map, a guide to get us from Point A to Point B. But, often life doesn’t read like a textbook and our individual money maps may do some looping around.
It’s important not to get discouraged when we find ourselves back at Destination One: Building up our Emergency Fund or even Destination Two: Paying off Credit Cards and Building the Emergency Fund to Three Months’ Income. It’s a wonderful feeling to have the credit cards paid off, but sometimes the money in the Emergency Fund may not be enough to cover the emergency at that point on our journey.
The important thing to keep in mind is that we are being faithful to God’s economy, faithful to what we’ve learned through the Bible Study, and it’s important to continue applying these principles rather than throwing our hands up in desperation. When we have confidence in the system God outlined for us, we will enjoy victories along the way, but in his time and in his way. In fact, it’s only possible with him by our side.
So no matter how many times you’ve had to stop and restart, to loop around, get lost and make detours, keep on keeping on. You ARE making progress!
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”~Deuteronomy 31:6