“We are never getting out of debt working for other people.”
It was a hot night in June 2017 when I came home and told my husband that something had to change.
We are college educated, early 40s and unable to get above salaries of less than $30,000 per year. We have an emergency fund… which promptly disappears at the first emergency. Rebuild that emergency fund, and poof!, that money is gone. The Dave Ramsey plan is solid on the snowball part, but not so much on the lack of income available in our area. How can we snowball down our debt if we can never keep an emergency fund?
My husband and I dated for four years before we got engaged in 2015. We never lived together. We got married in fall 2016. Overall, we are both conservative with money, but we never seem to get ahead.
Our particular diets cost a fortune. I am allergic to gluten, wheat, cow milk, green beans, oranges, and a host of other fruits, vegetables and spices. My husband, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few years ago, is free of medicines, completely healthy and continues to follow the strict diet that got his sugars under control.
Added to our regular expenses is credit card debit I accumulated from car repairs, food allergy diet groceries (before I knew how to shop smart for it) and paying for food allergy tests and doctors visits (with a few non-essential – i.e. “stupid” – purchases in between).
There is little room to breathe in our budget. We cannot be a blessing to others. We cannot help our family members in need. We are lucky if there is no emergency to tighten the belt even more.
Many say, try a new career, or get a new job. Well, I’ve tried that. It hasn’t worked and I’ve come to the conclusion that God has something greater for me than an office.
I started my career in journalism. I was so excited to get a job working for $6 per hour, midnight to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at a radio station. (Yeah, right.) Seriously, that was the best I could get in my area. I finally got smart and moved into newspaper journalism, where the salaries were slightly better, but the stress levels and overtime much higher. News writing built on my natural gift for storytelling and writing – one that I totally attribute to God. Sometimes, the words seem to come from my fingers.
One day, I woke up and realized that I would never have a church life or stability in salary or living if I stayed in this high-demanding, low-paying profession. I moved into marketing and public relations. Fifteen years later, after working with scores of clients on social media strategies (when all they wanted to do was have their grandchildren run their Facebook business pages), writing blog content for clients AND several personal websites, I could not stomach it anymore.
I had burned the candle at both ends for so long, I was fresh out of energy, ideas and passion. I just stopped. (It was the best decision I’ve made, but that is a post for another time.)
I moved into another low-pay job, with little room for advancement, despite the assurances of managers that I would go far since I had a degree. Once I figured out the system, I realized I would never be able to grow.
After 2 ½ years, I accepted a position that was better suited to my skills and focused on something about which I was passionate.
After the first day, I never wanted to go back. After one month and 4 days, I finally walked out.
It was during this time we had talked about not getting out of debt while working traditional jobs. I was – and still am – at a crossroads. Not only am I tired of the paycheck-paycheck lifestyle – with no hope of improving in this job market – I am tired of working for people and companies that do not honor God.
I don’t expect perfection, but backbiting, backstabbing, alcohol-infused environments are not places to grow or to make a difference in the lives of people who need help. They are also not places where you can make a difference with a servant’s heart. In these environments, superiors and coworkers want to hold you back from using your gifts out of spite, envy, arrogance, pride or a combination of these.
It reminds me of the phrase my father always says people are thinking: “I hope you are doing well, just so long as you are not doing better than me.” Sadly, this is true in too many instances.
Sometime in June, a friend sent me a copy of the Gameplan Mini book by Sarah Harnisch. My friend asked if I would read it and let her know my thoughts. She had gifted us with three Young Living essential oils, plus a lovely diffuser, for our wedding. (Thieves was the first to go!) I was open to the opportunity.
The book went right along with everything my husband and I had been talking about. (How I wish I had kept a timeline of everything to show how God placed everything at exactly the right time!!!) It was about passion, freedom, making a difference in the lives of other people and making an income that goes beyond survival mode.
I was in. So was my husband.
This wasn’t a light decision. We knew it would be hard work. We would spend some money on oils that, in the past, we thought we simply could not. (Now we cannot live without Young Living Vitality oils!) But we prayed. We leaned into God. Together. And we both believed this was the future.
At the time, I was taking the “Know Your Why” five-day Bible study on the Bible app. Through scripture and teaching, everything we prayed about, as well as the Young Living path, solidified. When the study was over, I bought Ken Costa’s “Know Your Why” book to continue to lean into God’s plan and purpose for my life.
After reading the Gameplan mini, I signed on to take the Gameplan Bootcamp for five weeks beginning July 31.
From the moment I signed on to do Gameplan, everything went fiery.
The bad job got worse – to the point I walked out. I was unemployed for a few weeks before I accepted another job (knowing it was for a season). God provided for our finances quickly. (Praise Him!) My husband was in a car accident. We had to deal with insurance, police and prayed, prayed PRAYED for the health and continued recovery of everyone involved. We had additional drama from others in our lives. Daily drama.
Every week, the devil offered up something new, different and more challenging, irritating and time-consuming (if we let it be).
That is how I knew I was on the right track. When you are truly leaning into God and His path, the devil is not going to be happy. My husband was in complete agreement.
In the Gameplan group, I found a network of people who were supportive, prayerful and wanted others to succeed. These people don’t know me personally, but they want me to succeed! It wasn’t about knocking me off the corporate ladder, but arming me with the tools I would need to successfully share Young Living’s amazing products and earn an income to free my family in a way we could be blessings to others!
We kept praying through. I was unnaturally peaceful (all thanks to God). I watched videos, did the homework, started getting my website in order to sell oils, as well as three e-books I plan to publish later this year. I researched, and finally got past my reservations about FDA compliance.
In the past, with all the drama going on, I would have walked away from this opportunity. I would have said (and did say on several occasions), “I can’t do this now. There is just too much going on.” I would have shut the door.
I did shut the door. Many times. How many times, I don’t know.
As I sat and remembered some of those times this afternoon, my heart hurt. I believe my passion for Young Living oils and the opportunity to take the Bootcamp and learn the best ways to share these oils is a blessing from God and I am pressing in.
How many times in the past did God come knocking at my door, with a better gift than the Amazon box the UPS man leaves for me? How many times did the door stay closed? How many times did God knock and I did not answer – I didn’t even peak!?
I had to sit down and apologize to God. How many blessings did I leave behind because I did not press in? I did not take chances? I allowed circumstances and devil-inspired drama to dictate my life instead of God.
It was a tough pill to swallow.
I could easily pass it off, saying this time is easier because I have a wonderfully supportive spouse who cannot wait to see what blessings are in store. I could say I’m more mature now, or it just hit me at the right time.
The fact is, I failed God. I don’t plan to do that (knowingly) again.
Will I fail Him? Absolutely! I’m human, but I’m armed with the knowledge that God is ready to open up an incredible world of blessings. All I have to do is embrace the blessings as He brings them to me. (Open the door, Angela!)
September 2017 is when I teach my first class. I’m pressing into God, learning to pray specifically over my business, thanks to Sarah’s classes, and learning to pray over my family in new ways.
God is amazing in His perfect timing. I’m so thankful I am finally willing to wake up and grab His blessings and never let go. I’m thankful to this incredible community of faithful people who support each other – and I cannot wait to be a support to someone else when they start their journey.2