I was sharing with some new folks in ministry that personal finances can be a thief of a calling. I believe it's in the top three reasons I see people leave jobs they feel called to. It is one thing to feel alone, it's another thing to feel overwhelmed, but to feel poor is an absolute killer.
When I encounter someone who is financially stressed my first thought is, "Do you operate on a budget where every penny is accounted for?" If you don't know where your money is going then you are a slave to mystery. My money will always work for me instead of me working for it. That's our relationship. I should own it, it shouldn't own me. A budget where every penny is accounted for is my way of saying, "Money! Go make me a sandwich."
My second thought is, "Do you know what poor looks like?" In college I had the opportunity to travel to Eastern Europe and serve homeless children in Romania. I saw poor kids. Poor is when you stop thinking about money and begin to think survival. People with a lack of finacnes are struggling with comfortability not survival. There is a BIG difference. I'm not going to categorize myself as poor, or allow anyone else to make me feel poor. Fixing a financial issue is all to often uncomfortable, it requires us to change and we hate change. However, I can't think of another time we are more motivated to change and we should milk that emotional cow and make a plan.
My final thought is, "You will never win with debt." Debt may be the biggest place we have gotten complacent as a western culture. I heard a Christian say, "Debt is a inevitable, might as well die with it."
Financial freedom is found in a zero debt lifestyle. When you owe no one you are free to spend your money however you want.