” What!! How could this happen AGAIN?”
Anxiety rising. Tears pooling. That lump in your throat swelling and hurting.
This is the inner turmoil I experienced probably once a month. Why? I had run out of money and once again overdrafted my account, and as a result, racked up,(sometimes HUNDREDS) in overdraft fees.
I got my first checking account when I was around 18, as I was just starting out in college. I got my debit card, checkbook, and a new confidence. I was an ADULT!! I had a real account with a real bank. I had to fill out real paper work and keep track of real money. I was so excited.
As the business of school and life in a new city got underway, I forgot to record everything. I thought ” I’ll remember what I pulled out of the ATM.” or ” A couple bucks here and there aren’t going to make a big difference.” I found acting like money was never gonna run out. Why? I dont know. I was stupid.
Not too long after I opened the account, I started overdrafting. In fact, I overdrafted so often that I honestly can’t remember the first time it happened. Or the second or third. I actually thought “People probably overdraft every other month or so, so what’s the big deal if I do it a little more often?”. Wow…
I remember one time, looking at my account, and finding that somehow I had accumulated almost $600 dollars, in overdraft fees. Are you kidding me! For some reason, the $30 here, or the $50 there in overdrafts didn’t quite push the right button. It wasn’t until that moment that I realised I had a problem. One of the worse things was, I was spending so mindlessly that I couldn’t even pinpoint when I had actually run out of money and what I had bought. There were so many random transactions. I was a mess, and my spending habits where even worse.
The thoughts that went through my head were.. ( clearing of throat)
” God, could You PLEASE deliver me from this financial affliction!!”
” Could You please send someone my way who will have compassion on me and help me!”
” Would You mind making some numbers just appear in my bank account.. miraculously?”
I HONESTLY thought that.
So I thought, well if it’s between the checkbook, and debit, card and ATM transactions that I can’t keep track of, then I’ll get rid of the checkbook and just keep my debit card. Even though I got rid of the checkbook, that DID NOT fix my problem.
I remained checkbook-less, overdrafting and in constant financial distress for 6 more years. SERIOUS financial trouble.
Then friends from church who knew of my situation began asking me if I tithed. ” No, not really.” But I would give sometimes if I had a little ” extra”. They challenged me. They would remind me that the Bible says if I don’t give of my first fruits, the rest was cursed. Well, I really felt like EVERYTHING in my bank account was cursed. It just kept slipping away. But the fear of a curse wasn’t even enough to change my ways. Scripture was scripture, but I knew if I tithed, there was NO WAY I would make a bill payment. It just wasn’t possible. What was I suppose to tell the car company “Sorry, I couldn’t make a payment, I had to tithe to my church.” OR ” Can someone come and get me, because I’ve run out of gas… again.” ( I had probably run out of gas on the side of the road.. oh about..20 to 30 times. seriously!) I was still waiting for God to rescue me and make some kind of MIRACLE happen…
And well… He did.
God began convicting me. He started showing me that I didn’t trust HIM more than I trusted anything else in this world. In fact, He was the last person I trusted. I had been looking at God as my emotional need ” filler”, but I didn’t realise He was interested in so much more in my life. He wanted ALL of it, even my NEEDS. This was very hard for me, because.. well… I had trust issues. People with skin on can fail you, so why would I put my entire financial situation in someone’s hands that I can’t even touch. I obviously knew God was real, but letting go of this, well.. this was the breaking point for me. If I let go, one of two things will happen,something miraculous OR I sink and have to go live on the streets. No joke, it had gotten to that point, although most people never knew I had gotten to that place.
So knowing what I know about God, and knowing that so much of what you do as a Christian is based on faith ( before you even see the result ). I tithed. I tithed once or twice, struggled a bit and quit for a month or two. Off and on. On and off. My inconsistency was the proof that I did not trust God. With God, it’s all or nothing. He’s jealous. He’s serious. And He wants everything. And I knew this. He was waiting for me to come to a place where I was willing to let go and be completely dependant on Him. I was waiting for me to come to place too, because I was failing at taking care of my own needs. Finally, I said…” OK, this time it’s for real. If I perish, I perish!” ( the drama queen coming out)
Even before I say what Im about to say.. my insides are swelling with emotion because what I have experienced has forever changed my life.
Did money miraculously appear in my account? No. Did some wealthy person have compassion on me and donate a large gift? No. There was no quick fix. A journey, of trusting God and listening to His small voice checking me as Im about to purchase something unnecessary, and posting sticky notes all over house reminding myself to tithe. I even asked particular people in my life to keep me accountable and ASK me often if I’m tithing. Why? Because I knew that God’s best for me only comes when I give MY best. I was determined to prove to God and to myself, that I really believed that His view and plan was way better than mine, and that no matter what challenges came across, I would trust Him. It’s only when relationships are challenged that you find ou how strong they really are.
Since I started tithing ( consistently), my whole life has changed. I now run my own business. I am able to give and bless people. I am able to travel and do missions trips around the world. I am my own boss, doing what I love the most, everyday, feeling so blessed to be making a living doing what Im passionate about!
Following God’s principles REALLY DOES change your life. And the great thing is.. when a financial challenge comes up… and it does.. I can say ” This one’s on YOU God, because I’ve done my part”. And He ALWAYS holds up His end.
If you aren’t tithing, you are MISSING OUT. I look forward to tithing now because I see how my life is so blessed just by being obedient. Obedience opens the door to greater things. If you are trustworthy with little, you will be entrusted with much. I want to be trustworthy of so much more than money, but I had to become trustworthy of what I already had.