To complete a thought I had a couple weeks ago, I’ve found that habitually going to church has become a great motivator to tackle my own personal debt problem.

I arrived at Fountain Street Church about fifteen minutes early this week. I like to get a seat front and center on the balcony so I can get a good view of “the show.” I was followed up the stairs by a woman with her arms full. I went to one side of the aisle and she to the other, setting down a stack of papers on one of the fold up seats and a large offering plate.

This offering plate has become like an Alcoholics Anonymous buddy to me. We check in once a week, telepathically, of course, and I explain to it the steps forward I’ve taken and those moments when I’ve backslid as well.

I do have to clear something up. I do not believe that getting religion will fix your finances. Furthermore, I am highly critical of church economics. In fact, I am becoming a proponent of stricter regulations concerning churches who claim nonprofit tax status, but I digress.

Now that we have the disclaimer section behind us, I want to get to the main point. Getting out of debt involves rewriting your habits and bidding farewell to all that comes natural. You need weekly rituals, like going to church or volunteering for a charitable foundation, a place that you’d like to support financially once you’re back on your feet. You need to immerse yourself in literature by people who are writing about tackling debt, setting yourself up to succeed with your finances, and bettering yourself in general. Perhaps most importantly, you also need friends who are in similar situations and who can keep you accountable with your goals. Every day you need some kind of inspiration to keep you going. You are rewriting your life history, so you need to connect with your muse.

Here are a couple of the things that inspired me this Sunday at church. Maybe you’ll see in these words what I see:

Life has its battles, sorrows, and regret:
but in the shadows, let us not forget:
we who now gather know each other’s pain;
kindness can heal us; as we give we gain.
Sing now in friendship this, our hearts’ own song.

– Here We Have Gathered, verse 3, words by Alicia S. Carpenter, music from the Genevan psalter

To commune is to release one’s heartache in the company of others, to say, one beggar to another, “I know where bread is…” and by this miracle, help each other find a way back home.

– Responsive reading


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