This month, I EXCEEDED my first savings goal of $10,000! I can’t believe I am finally typing this. This blog post is a testament to the goodness of God.
I will preface this post by saying that it is amazing how God allows seasons of lack to prepare us for a fruitful harvest. And also, that God knows exactly what trials we need to overcome to get us to where we need to be. I often think about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 that taught me an important lesson in honoring the Lord with my income and being a good steward of money.
Last year, I struggled to find employment was unable to truly provide or do nice things for myself. There was $0 in savings and I barely had any cash on hand. I eventually took a job as a very part-time substitute teacher and graduate assistant, living paycheck to paycheck to get by. I learned to budget and to really live on less. I also spent 2019 with a depression, often feeling stuck and directionless. The season that I was in was alienating and extremely lonely. Additionally, I considered pausing my second graduate degree program because of the emotional, financial, and mental stress that was mounting. I had anxiety surrounding my ability to finish my program requirements. However, God told me to stay so I listened. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t met with reluctance.
My word for 2020 is “abundance”
Last December, God told me that my word for 2020 would be “abundance”. It was something that I heard loud and clear through my personal time with Him. After a year of searching for employment in my field, I found work. It was a blessing that started from a job interview to entering the hiring process all within the span of two weeks. This is part of a text message that I sent to a friend a few days before the new year:
Although I began the new year with no income, I was encouraged to know that this circumstance would change. I set a financial goal for myself to save $10,000 before 2020 came to a close. Although this goal seemed like a reach, I was comforted by God’s promise to me based on the Parable in Matthew 25. This scripture from Proverbs is also a timely reminder that building wealth and embarking on the road to financial freedom takes time:
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Proverbs 13:11 (NIV)
I did come across some “setbacks”
Unfortunately, because I began a mid-year contract, my starting pay was at the prorated rate. This meant that for the remainder of the six months of the contract, I would be making less money than the position actually offered. However, I shook off the disappointment. In February, I starting tithing again monthly for the first time in months and I opened my first high-yield savings account. I also started doing monthly budgets and paying down student loan debt, which I was incredibly thankful to do.
Secondly, I went ahead with my decision to pay off two of my student loans early. During that time, there was also word going around about the $1,200 stimulus check. I had hoped to use that money toward paying for my last semester of graduate school. But…I have yet to receive that money (lol, it’s all good!). As a result, I ended up paying for my tuition out-of-pocket rather than taking out another student loan. This was definitely a setback financially. However, paying for my last semester without a loan was still worthwhile. It meant having less debt.
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones”
One of my favorite scriptures relates to Proverbs 13:11. It says: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10 (NLT). It is also an important lesson that is shown in Matthew 25. I started seriously looking into making income as a blogger this summer. Although the income is slowly coming in through my side hustles, I am thankful that God provides a way for me to make extra money outside of my 9-to-5 career. Honestly, God is still growing my confidence in the ability to make money doing what I love on the side, so I feel encouraged when He nudges me to keep pursuing that. I thought about this encouraging reminder from this Instagram post.
Remember the second Master’s degree I thought about stopping? I (finally!) finished it in August which gave me a significant pay bump. And I received my year-long contract, which means I am receiving full, salaried pay. Here we are and I have surpassed my first savings goal of $10,000 in less than a year! This still hasn’t hit me fully yet. I can only express my gratitude. But God.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)