By Scott Johnson ~ FireBoss Realty
We just got back from laying on the beach in Playa Del Carmen and diving the Palancar Reef off of Cozumel. On one of our dives I was cruising along enjoying the amazing creatures that only live in the turquoise waters around the gorgeous Palancar reef. We had a dive master that we were following and I just had to keep an eye on him and follow where he led me. He had thousands of dives and knew the reef well. He was relaxed laying on his back and kicking peacefully with his arms crossed across his chest as he kept an eye on all of us baby ducks that were following our mama duck. I had a GoPro video camera and was shooting video of some of the sea life that we encountered on our dive. At one point my dive master pointed at a coral formation and I instantly moved the video camera to capture the creatures that he had spotted… but I didn’t see what he was seeing… I looked back at him for guidance and he just kept pointing at the same coral formation… as I cleared the far side of the coral wall I spotted the group of divers that I was supposed to be diving with and the REAL dive master that I was supposed to be following. I still don’t know how, or when, I got off course. The dive master I was following looked just like the one that I started following but was not the same guy and they had different dives planned. When I discovered I was off course, I made a course correction and finished the dive back on course.
Is It Time For A Financial Course Correction?
Sometimes our financial lives are just like that dive. We start out with a plan and a course laid out in advance but something happens along the way and we get off course. At this point we often beat ourselves up, decide that we are failures in the financial realm, that this financial thing is just too hard and we quit… when all we really need to do is realize we’re off course, make a financial course correction and enjoy the rest of the dive!!!
Just last week we graduated another group from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. These new graduates have just started their financial dive and we’ll be there to guide them. Just because we’re acting as financial dive masters doesn’t mean that we have made it or that we know everything about finding financial peace. Even though we’ve facilitated this class several times and graduated hundreds of people from this program… we often discover that we need a financial course correction. I learn something new every time! While recently reflecting on what I’ve learned about financial peace I came up with this little list of big ideas:
My prayers have often been more than slightly on the selfish side. In fact, they probably still are to some extent. Help me, bless me, be with me are common themes… but my prayers have changed and now regularly ask for God to change my heart, to lead me where HE would have me go, and to help me do EXACTLY what He would want me to do.
These may be scary prayers for you to pray because when you pray for these things… God will answer. Your heart will change. You will be led to do things you otherwise wouldn’t have done and you will tend to redefine your entire life and all of your goals.
No, it doesn’t always mean give money… Sometimes it means that you give of yourself, your time, your talents and sometimes it actually does mean to give the money you have been entrusted with. God just has a way of prompting you to FIND A NEED AND FILL IT. The best cure for being self-focused is to start focusing on what you can do for others.
I know that we’re all strapped for time… but how are you currently using the time that God has given you. God has a plan for your life that is bigger than the money and possessions that you have been given to use… So what is the BIG DREAM that He has placed in your life?
When you allow yourself to be used for the purpose that you were designed for it will become abundantly clear when you are exactly where you are supposed to be and you are doing exactly the thing that you were designed to do. When you invest your time and resources for others there is a peace in your life that you will not be able to explain.
If you don’t know what “Your Thing” is, Spend some time working at your kids school… Help out at your church… Spend a few hours visiting with people at a nearby assisted living center… Help out at a local food bank… Hang out with some at-risk youth… Call a single mom and offer her the night off while you hang out with her kids for a few hours… Help an elderly neighbor (or a not so elderly neighbor) with some yard work…. Just test-drive some stuff… You have time and you have talents… Go do something with them and discover how they can be used to help others!
Less May Just Be More
Our ME culture is ingrained with “what’s in it for me?” We strive for bigger houses, fancier cars, bigger televisions with more channels and we stand in long line to be the first to buy latest gadgets and electronics. As Dave Ramsey puts it, “We spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.” We let Stuffitis stifle contentment and prevent us from finding financial peace.
Spending is not Saving
We often lie to ourselves and rationalize that “Because something is a great deal, I’m saving money!” The definition of rationalize that I like best is: Rationalize = Telling ourselves Rational Lies! The truth is spending is not necessarily saving!
Of course you’re a thrifty shopper and head straight to the sale racks and buy it for 75% off! That’s a no brainer. Of COURSE you have to take advantage of such an amazing deal! You’re literally saving hundreds of dollars. Right?
Wrong!!! In reality you aren’t saving anything. You’re likely spending $150 to fill a closet that is already full. If it’s in the budget and you need it, or even if you just want it, buy it… GUILT FREE!!! It’s those out of the budget bargains that will kill your financial plan!!! Stuff isn’t bad… Just have a plan and don’t let great marketing ruin your financial plan!!! (and your life.)
Find a Financial Accountability Partner
There are an infinite number of people willing to tell you where or how to spend money and the vast majority of them don’t have your best interests in mind. We also deal with the peer pressure that makes us feel like we have to spend money on status items. We see people with European cars, bigger TVs, updated kitchens, newer iPhones or designer clothes and often fail to realize that a lot of the people we are envying can’t afford those things either! They may have stuff but they may not have financial peace? We should remember to Stop taking financial advice from broke people!
Don’t listen to the people who tell you to spend more or who make you feel like what you have isn’t quite good enough. Find accountability partners who are willing to support and encourage your journey towards financial peace and then do the same for them. Working your way through the Baby Steps of Financial Peace is hard work. It requires real sacrifice, real change and can even be painful sometimes…
However, If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else!
We will have another Financial Peace University (FPU) starting January 25, 2015 on Sunday afternoons from 12:30 – 2:30. If you’ve never attended FPU this is a great way to start off the new year with a new financial plan. If you’ve attended before, you can come back again for a refresher for FREE!!! Update your financial plan, refresh your memory or reboot your entire financial life. We all get a little off course sometimes and need a financial course correction to get back on track…
Let us know if you would like to attend FPU in January… we’re looking forward to seeing you there!!!
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE IN YOUR SEARCH FOR FINANCIAL PEACE?
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