My Shining Knight

Bible Study: Fight Well Week Four

When it comes to fighting our battles well, one of the most important things to remember is that we are never fighting to gain anything, but to protect what was freely given to us by Jesus. He paid the price, he tore the veil, he won the victory and he gave us the prize. You’re not fighting in order to earn your place in God’s Kingdom or to prove you have what it takes to be one of his “Super Saints.” What was done on your behalf was something we never could have earned for ourselves. That’s exactly why we needed a Savior and it’s also why we must constantly depend on Him as we fight our everyday battles.

Grab an iced coffee cause it’s hot outside and let’s have a chat about why you can have peace in the midst of your battles.

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How to Get Out of Debt FAST!

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I bet you’ve got some dreams. I bet you’ve got some ideas for your life and I bet your bank account doesn’t always line up with these ideas. Am I right?

The truth is we all have an idea of how we picture our life looking and rarely does this ever line up with our reality. Most of the time, I would say it’s because the finances are just not there.

Money can be a sore subject. It can cause a lot of fights in marriage and can be a never-ending source of grief and frustration. But I would say from my own experience, it’s usually not a lack of money that’s the issue (or the main issue), but rather a huge pile of debt that month after month never ceases to remind us that our money is not our own.

Sure, we can budget, eat ramen and sit at home watching Netflix for fun in order to save money, but if debt is in the picture, you will never be able to find the extra cash to live the life you truly want to live. That is why I feel it is so vital that you work on getting yourself out of debt and out of it FAST!

Because the sooner you’re out of debt, the sooner your money is actually yours to do with what you will (not what you have to).

Before Jeff and I got married, he used to say that he would put more money into his savings and just pay the minimum on his credit cards because he felt he had more money that way. However, he quickly realized that $10,000 in savings with credit card debt, isn’t really $10,000 in savings. That money doesn’t accurately represent what you have if you still owe money to someone else.

Unfortunately in our American culture today, it’s considered “normal” to have debt, to pay a monthly car payment and to owe interest on things because you bought them before you could afford them. If this is what you believe, then it will be the way you live. But it doesn’t have to be! And in this post, I want to share with you some tips that Jeff and I used to get out of debt as fast as humanly possibly. And I can honestly say that it was well worth the effort.

 

How to Get Out of Debt FAST!

 

1.    Stop Adding Debt… and Stop it NOW!

I know this might seem obvious but too often, we feel like we need our debt. It becomes a familiar part of our life to the point where we can’t imagine ourselves not charging certain things. You can survive without your debt. And if you’re really serious about taking back control of your money, then this is the first and most vital step to starting this journey.

Maybe this means you won’t be eating out so often. Maybe this means your weekly trips to Starbucks will turn into at-home coffee pot drinks. Maybe you need to cancel some subscriptions until you’re out of this hole. There are always things we can cut out or cut back on to save money and this is the time to analyze where you spend money and adjust accordingly.

Think of it as a temporary sacrifice to live the life you truly want to live.

 

2.    Start and Maintain a Monthly Budget

If you aren’t already doing this for you and your family, then do this ASAP! This is where you will understand how much money is coming in, versus how much is going out, and where it’s all going out to.

If you want some help setting up a budget, you can watch my video HERE where I explain how I set up our budget and what I include. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar App. I use the free version, which requires me to input every transaction myself, which I love. It keeps me constantly updated so I always know where we stand financially. Something I never felt with my money before…

This may seem tedious at first and you may not see extreme results immediately. I think it took us about 3-4 months or so before I started seeing substantial results. But within 1 year from making my first budget, we got completely out of credit card debt, paid off one car, paid cash for another, bought our first home and traveled to Disney World about 3 times… and ALL we did was start budgeting. It is possible. You just have to be faithful and consistent.

 

3.    Create Your Debt Snowball

This is from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and it really helped Jeff and I see our debt from a more manageable perspective.

First, write down each debt sum that you owe (totals) from smallest to largest. This could include credit card debt, car payments, student loans…  Every debt you owe minus your mortgage. This you would attack at a later time if you desired, when you’re more financially stable.

So for example, if you have $600 on one credit card, $1,200 on another, and $4,500 left you owe on your car, then this would be what you would write.

$600

$1,200

$4,500

Taking on all your debt at once can be overwhelming and you certainly won’t feel capable of ever getting out of it. But if you make this list, then you’ll only focus on paying off one debt at a time, starting with the lowest (top) debt.

Continue to pay the minimum payment on everything else and then start to attack the smallest debt. Find money in your budget that you can spare and anything that’s extra or left over, throw it at the debt. Once it’s paid off, then you’ll cross it off and move on to the next total.

What you’ll find is that the more debt you pay off, the more money you’ll have to pay off the next debt. So that when you finally get to the largest debt you owe, you’ll also have a lot more money to throw at it each month than you do right now. That’s why it’s called a debt snowball. Your money grows along with your confidence in your ability to actually pay this off!

 

4.    Post Your Debt Goals

Now hear me out. I know this may seem embarrassing, but I believe it’s very important. Write your debt snowball out on a small index card and post it somewhere where you’ll see it every single day. We put ours on our fridge and it became a constant reminder of where we were and where we were headed.

Because when you post it, you own it, and then you attack it. If you don’t post it up, you won’t attack it with the same determination that you would if you saw it every day when you get your coffee. It’s not about identifying with your debt, but it’s about owning up to where you are and keeping a vision before you of where you are going.

 

5.    Have a Debt-Free Goal

Sometimes the concept of being “debt-free” isn’t enough to drive us to pay off our debt as fast as we can. Because most of us have never lived debt-free lives, we don’t fully understand what this kind of life would mean for us. So make a debt-free goal for yourself that will dive you to the finish line.

For me, it would for sure be a vacation that I had only ever dreamed about going on. What is it for you? What would be so great that it would cause you to say “no” to some things right now, so that you could say “yes” to (blank) later?

However, this goal, depending on your debt, could be pretty far off in the future and you’re going to need something to get you excited for the here and now…

 

6.    Create Mini Goals for Each Debt Sum

Every time you pay off one of your debts in the debt snowball, give yourself a mini reward. Maybe go out eat, to a movie or buy something nice for your home. Once you pay off a bigger debt, go out to a nicer dinner, or to the symphony.

Make it work for you and work it into your budget. When you cross off that debt, you need to remind your brain that this is not only a good thing, but you are going to get rewarded for what you just did. This will cause it to become more of a habit and something you look forward to doing, versus something you have to do.

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
— Luke 16:10 ESV

The journey ahead may take longer than it did for us, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to be miserable for the next three or so years. Paying off debt is fun! It becomes addicting to cross it off and attack it because you start taking back control of your money and realizing the kind of life you could be living.

It’s a biblical principle: when you’re faithful over the little, God will make you faithful over much. Tithing is great because it keeps our hearts trusting in God as our provider. But it’s not just 10% that belongs to Him. It all belongs to Him and we can be good stewards of our money by taking ownership, getting out of debt and actually start to create wealth to use for His glory.

If you’re struggling in your finances, please don’t get discouraged or condemned. This is something almost every single one of us deals with and the enemy wants to keep you down by beating you over the head. Don’t receive his condemnation. It’s not too late. You can do this. It is possible. All it takes is the courage to make that first step.

Let’s take back our lives and start living our full potential!

 

Authority Made Simple

Bible Study: Fight Well Week Three

I used to not really take the whole "armor of God" thing seriously... I mean, it’s not like there’s actual armor that I can put on after getting dressed in the morning and all of a sudden I feel completely ready for whatever might come my way. “Coffee spilled all over my white shirt... no problem! A girl is super rude to me at work... atta girl! My husband is short to me while I’m cooking dinner... bless you!” No, this just simply isn’t the case. I tend to feel more unprepared throughout my day and can easily get frustrated or discouraged by all the unpredictable inconveniences along the way.

But when we see the armor of God not as invisible sheets of metal that we pretended to put on as a kid, but rather as decisions we make in our heart at the start of each day as to how we’re going to live and act, then we truly begin to prepare ourselves to live peaceful and powerful lives.

Too often we wait till trouble is on the horizon (or we’re right smack dab in the hot mess) to turn to God’s word, looking for some quick fix to the boiling anger we feel rising up in our soul. We’re short, rude and snappy with people. We take offense and harbor the faults of others in our hearts. We get discouraged and quickly take our eyes off of Jesus and look to the waves around us, searching for an answer.

But our answer is always the same... Jesus is our answer, our protection and our power to reign in life. Take some time at the beginning of your day to go through the armor of God and make a bold declaration that the enemy cannot have your peace, joy or purpose set for that day. But you will walk in faith, carry peace, extend mercy, and wield the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.

So let's go over this sacred armor, forged in the fires of heaven and prepared for Daughters without rival, to truly understand what it means to "put on" what our Father gave to us.

It's time we rise, shine and lift others up along the way. It's time we love fearlessly, live purposefully and fight our battles well. 

Get your armor on girl! It’s a new day.

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The Battle in Your Mind

Bible Study: Fight Well Week Two

Do you ever feel trapped in your own mind? Do you ever feel lost in a sea of wandering thoughts that you can't seem to control or emotions that overtake you in a moment's notice?

Fear, insecurity, shame, guilt, unworthiness, comparison... it all begins in the mind. Sure our circumstances can assist in bringing these thoughts to the forefront of our minds, but the battles themselves are fought, won and lost right in our own heads. This is one reason why I believe the bible is so adamant about us renewing our minds.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.
— Romans 12:2 MSG

This world has it's own way of thinking and by default, that is exactly how you will think, respond and be conformed to, unless you decide to take action with your mind. The Christian life is not a passive life, but it's an active life where we are constantly moving forward, allowing what is in our new spirits to bleed out into our soul, and into our daily lives. But too many of us don't take our thoughts that seriously. I mean, they're just thoughts right? How serious could this battle be?

Well let's just say it's serious enough for God to declare that our transformation in the Christian life is dependent on the degree that we renew our behavior? No... Choices? No... Church attendance? No... To the degree that we renew our minds.

I know this seems like a lot of extra effort just for our thoughts. I mean, aren't we supposed to be casting our devils, waving swords around and beating demons to the ground? We give WAY too much credit to the enemy! The only true power he has is deception, which means he can't get his grimy paws on you without you yielding your mind over to him. Because you see your thoughts lead to your emotions, which lead to your life choices, which ultimately lead you to your destiny. That's why he tries to get in your head first, then he'll have access to your journey. 

Don't give him a foothold in your life. The truth is you don't have to! You don't have to stay saved and stuck in the same old lame thoughts and tired emotions. Know the truth, take authority, and begin to act in faith, even before you feel it in the natural. That is the way the Kingdom of God works anyways. He spoke and then it became reality. Walk after the nature of your Maker and be a Daughter of Faith and Wonder, who calls the Spiritual realm into her earthly reality. 

Take up your sword and fight these battles well. You have what it takes and your journey awaits! 

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A Royal Identity

Bible Study: Fight Well Week One

What one does when faced with the truth is more difficult than you’d think.
— Diana Prince, Wonder Woman

I’ve never felt like I was much of a fighter. At least not when it came to spiritual things…

Fighting the enemy, spiritual warfare and casting down thoughts were just phrases I would hear in a Sunday sermon but never really were a part of my everyday life. To be honest, I think I used to be a bit scared to “fight the devil.” I mean, it’s the devil. I don’t want to make him mad, right?

But I believe this happened because I had the wrong focus when it came to these things. I had to stop believing that I was fighting to get something or to find something or to prove something. I had to stop thinking that I just wasn’t as strong as other women who seemed so passionate and confident. I had to stop looking through the lens of myself and start looking at what the word of God actually says. And what I found changed everything.

When we realize who we are, and Whose we are, then we are finally able to tap into a deep power that we can’t find on our own. We pull from an ancient strength that doesn’t care how holy or perfect you feel in the moment. And we finally see our enemy for the small, pathetic and un-intimidating opponent he really is.

The problem… most of us don’t know who we are! Or at the very least, we have no idea how that relates with fighting well.

This summer, I want to get into the word and take a look at the battle strategies of a Royal Daughter and how this applies to every single part of our daily lives.

You don’t need to live in fear, anxiety or worry. Instead, you can live free, confident and strong. It’s all within your reach.

Join me for video one of the Fight Well Bible Study and let me show you who you really are.

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