Have you ever convinced yourself that if your financial debt was wiped away, all your problems would be, too? I have. Several years ago, I became convinced the only thing standing between me and my dreams was money.
I spent two years writing a single petition in my journal: "For the release of all debt." My debt included a mortgage, a student loan, and a car loan. I believed that if I won the $250,000 Country Living magazine sweepstakes I discovered in the pages of my monthly subscription, then not only would I be free of money burdens, I'd instantly have the courage to claim a new life. I clicked the sweepstakes button daily. I could practically taste my newfound freedom: sun-kissed tomatoes pulled from the vine on a lazy afternoon, served alongside slices of homemade bread made earlier that morning. Because in my vision of freedom I would have all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. All I needed to change my life was a miracle.
The sweepstakes deadline came and went. I remained undeterred, daily writing my petition, willing another windfall to come along. I wrote through growing heartache over a life I no longer wanted. I wrote because I didn't know what else to do.
And then the strangest thing happened. I woke up one morning and discovered I'd become diligent at paying off debt. And saving. Next thing I knew, the car loan was paid off, and a dent had been made in the mortgage and student loan. There was even the makings of a reserve fund. It didn't feel miraculous at the time. More like a series of small steps that are barely detectable until years later when one looks back and realizes the answer to all your prayers was...you.
I come from a faith tradition that prays to an external God in hopes of being saved, from debt and suffering and heartache. And for a good portion of my life I believed in these prayers. But there's a danger in prayers that turn us into victims, people who wait to be rescued. The real miracles of life are the ones that happen because we've made a way where there otherwise wasn't one. When we come to believe in our power to move mountains, even a mountain of debt can be moved. This forty-day journey we're on of writing down our dreams is meant to do just that: to change our lives by changing us. Trust me, anything and everything can happen.
Head on over to this interview on Cap Beauty's blog with financial advisor Michelle Smith. How do women sabotage themselves around money? Smith says: