When you hear the expression financial freedom what comes to mind? Is it real or just a fantasy? If it is real then how do you achieve it?
Financial pressures are one of the leading causes of stress. They are also one of the biggest contributors to marital issues. If not addressed and handled properly they can hold us back from becoming who we are created to be. But they don’t have to; you can obtain financial freedom.
Life is a journey made of journeys within the journey. Financial freedom is one of those journeys.
“If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will straighten out almost every other area of his life.” – Billy Graham
Financial freedom does not necessarily mean having a lot of money. Rather it is about understanding who the true owner of our money and possessions is and making wise decisions with the funds we have. That way instead of being a slave to our money our money works for us. Regardless whether you have an abundance of wealth or live pay check to pay check this applies to you.
Prepare for the journey
There are certain steps we need to take whenever we embark on a journey if we want to reach our desired destination. Traveling the road to financial freedom is no different. Someone once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
The first step in reaching financial freedom is to discover where you are. You then need to determine where you want to go. And finally, before you embark on your journey you will want to discover what God has to say about it.
Determine Where You Are
How can you know what you need to do to reach financial freedom if you don’t have an accurate understanding of your current situation? The best way to do that is to determine your current net worth. You can use this simple tool to do that.
Don’t panic or stress out about what the numbers are. They are just giving you an accurate picture of your starting point.
Determine Where You Want To Go
I don’t know about you, but when I prepare to take a trip, I get out a map and plan my route. My dad was a truck driver, and he taught me at a very young age how to read a map and plan my route. He also schooled me in the art of folding a map correctly.
While Google Maps and a good GPS system have for the most part replaced paper maps they still have a useful purpose when traveling.
Finding our way through financial challenges can be overwhelming. I don’t know who originally wrote this little rhyme, but I often repeat it to myself when I start to feel overwhelmed. By the yard, life is hard, and by the mile, life’s a trial, but inch by inch life’s a cinch.
Small steps will help you achieve financial freedom. Crown Financial Ministries has developed a great tool called the Money Map to help navigate the road to financial freedom. You can go here to get a copy.
You will also need, wait for it, here it comes – a budget. We will take a more in-depth look at budgeting in a future post. But let me just say that budgeting is not as hard or painful as we think it is. There are many great budgeting tools available to help us. You may need to try several before you find the one that works best for you. My favorite and the one I use is YNAB. YNAB stands for You Need A Budget. You can go here for more details.
Discover What God Has To Say
Did you know that the Bible has 2,350 verses on how to handle money and possessions? In fact, 15% of everything Jesus had to say had to do with money and possessions.
Because He knew that money would be a challenge for us He talked about it often. He wants us to handle it wisely, and He cares enough to show us how.
Been There Done That
Lest you think that I am writing from the end of the journey that is not the case. I have never been wealthy from the world’s point of view, but I have never had any need go unmet either.
I’ve done a lot of things right financially, and I have also made just about every financial blunder possible. I know what it’s like to have a healthy balance in my savings account. And like 66% of Americans I know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck. I currently have financial debt, but I also have a plan to eliminate it.
That plan will require effort, and it will take time. But this journey is about progress, not perfection.
“How we handle money is simply an outside indicator of our internal spiritual condition.” – Larry Burkett
We have all made mistakes with money in the past. That’s no surprise. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In Philippians 3:13-14 (NCV) Paul says: “Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God has called me through Christ to the life above.”
Let’s make this journey in God’s strength, not ours. Handling things according to the principles He gives us in His Word.
Financial freedom is the freedom that comes from getting out of debt, increasing our giving and savings, and most importantly drawing closer to Jesus.
To get started navigating your journey be sure to grab the tools I mentioned earlier and start today.
Where are you on the journey to financial freedom? What part of your finances causes you the most stress?