Are you struggling under the load of a large student loan debt? Perhaps, it is a large debt caused by medical bills, home ownership or credit card debts. I do know the pain of having to deal with my own student loan debt and I’d like to share my story of conquering my own mountain of debt. I trust that my story of how God helped me in conquering that mountain will be of value to you; even if you are not a Christian.
Before I dive into the meat of this article, it is important to share some background information. When I went to college, the idea is to get a college education and it would somehow open the way for a decent paying job. Why do I say this? I’m 57 years old and I was born with low vision and I’ve a severe hearing loss in both ears.
In the 80s, job opportunities were difficult to come by for a man with such disabilities. Though I did see some changes in our society, it would take time for the computer revolution to take full effect and open the door of freedom and greater job opportunities. Unfortuneately, I did not help my situation with my personal fears and insecurity.
When I graduated college, I had a few thousand dollars in student loan debt and a very poor chance in getting a job. I could only get a couple of minimum wage job and I primarily lived on SSDI. I tried to get a job doing computer related work but I’d find the doors closing in my face. For people with serious disabilities, this treatment was quite typical
I had two other problems that compounded the above situation. The first one is called poor money management skills. The second problem came from an unnecessary education at an art school in Phoenix, AZ. I was trying to learn web design and wrongly thought college would help in that scenario.
I think my total student loans total around $7,000 or so. For me, this debt load left me with a definite feeling of drowning and I was barely treading water. For you, I had a small debt and it’s nothing compared to others. Yet, I remain confidence that the following story will be of help to you. Let’s get to the meat of the article.
Here is the first tip that proved very helpful in both the short run and the long run. It begins by learning how to manage my limited finance. In ’96 or so, I had a dream that prompted me to by a copy of Quicken. Because of my eyesight, it is a lot easier to look at Quicken and see how my checking account is doing than writing it in a check registry book.
It was a stepping stone towards taking control of my personal finances and discovering God’s financial blessings and learning that I could do something about my debts. I had to learn to be a careful steward of my personal finances and the art of budgeting. I was far from out of the woods, though. For one, I had to learn who not to listen to, for financial advice.
In the late ’90s, I came across a man named John Avanzini and he was advocating against paying off my credit card debt. As a follower of Jesus, I do trust God for my provision and trust in my Father’s help in the financial realm. According to this guy, I was not trusting God if I pay down my own credit card debt. Somehow, the credit card bill would be supernaturally paid for.
My error is twofold. First, I should have sought Jesus and asked about this strange advice. I would have discovered that God wanted me to continue paying. I still had to learn how to take responsibility for my finances. Even though I’d soon receive an inheritance from my father’s estate, the painful process of learning to discipline my finances would have yielded a better result.
Here’s the second tip and it begins with prayer. By 2007, I had grown tired of following bad advice and my avoidance of dealing with my student loan debts. Are you aware that the loans continue to pile on interests on top of the original loans? Because of this issue, the idea of not paying off my student loan until I’ve a good paying job was rubbish.
How does prayer come into this? In 2007, I would sometime listen to a well-known prophet named Kim Clement. He would often give a mix of teaching, prophetic declarations, and vision of the future. In this case, Kim shared a declaration about a mountain of financial debts and it struck a chord in my heart. I began praying my own declarations and petition for God’s help with my own financial debt.
What was my declaration? This mountain of debt is coming down, boy! It’s a coming down! In Jesus’ Name! With this declaration, I had determined to confront my mountain of student loans and deal with it, with my Father’s help. For the record, Kim never advocated the idea of not paying of my debt. He only advocated for persistent prayers and trusting in God’s provisions.
How did Jesus helped in the paying off of those debs? I could only do one loan, at a time. God placed in my heart an amount to pay each month. I was also given favor with the debt collector. When they saw that I was sincere, it became easier to work with me. As such, I thank Jesus for their willingness to help.
I’m not done, yet. I’ve a couple of other points to cover.
Let’s talk about the issue of tithes and Givings. By 2007, I had already learned the value of giving tithes to my local church. Tithes are not limited to what is put in the offering basket. It also includes your time and resources. What does this have to do with the student loan debts? How is it different than my simply giving money?
For me, I give to God out of a willing heart and I’ll trust Jesus to deal with any misdeed. I’m simply honoring God by giving what God has asked for. This view is in sharp contrast to the person who says I have to give out of duty and obligation. The attitude of the heart is key in distinguishing between the two.
Though I was not always consistent in my giving to my church, Jesus was consistently faithful in helping me in the challenges paying down the debts, help with grocery shopping and many other areas. In fact, it is God’s Spirit who led me to Crown Financial Ministries. It is through this ministry that I’d learn quite a bit about how I should view my finances.
I’d certainly recommend contacting these people and see how they can help. I checked their site and they do offer counseling to help with your finances. I am aware of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and Dave’s book. I was going to complain about the large $100 to take advantage of this program. I am thankful that God gave this poor man the needed funds for this program but I was far from being a fan.
Because things do change and it’s been 10 years, I checked Dave Ramsey’s site and it seems that he got the memo! Some time ago, they apparently made changes to their pricing plans. As of today, I could have paid $59 for a three month access to their kitchen sink teaching. About ten years, my church used this program to help people struggling with their own debt.
I do commend Dave for putting together a thorough financial training. You will get far more then you’d expect to get. However, I don’t think I was the target audience as it felt like overkill. I simply wanted to learn how to budget my money and work towards getting out of debt and into financial freedom. I am thankful that I got some help in that areas through friends who were leading the Financial Peace University class.
If you decide to take this training or the one offered by Crown Financial Ministries, I’d suggest that you pair up with someone that has already gone through this process. Why? The kitchen sink approach is great for broad foundational teachings; however, you still need to tailor it to fit your circumstances. Not everything is going to be appropriate for you.
What about student loan forgiveness? Why did I not pursue that? I actually tried to pursue that route and I got turned down. Unlike some people, I didn’t have the money to spend pursuing such a course. Instead, I chose to go the more difficult and time-consuming route. In spite of this, God has been faithful in helping me in conquering my mountain of student loan debts.
I do not regret going through the process of learning to better manage my finances. Especially since, it brought about a lot of positive changes in me and my personal finances. Plus, I’ve learned to recognize my Father’s provisions for me and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the long run, I became more grateful for when God does financially bless me through my church and others.
As for my student loans, they were finally paid off in September 2016. With God’s help, it began with the paying down of one student loan and quickly moving to the next one. The last one started in 2009 and I could only pay $66 per month and I was finishing off the second loan. A couple of years later, my SSDI went up and I was able to pay down the debt with a bigger payment.
As I pointed out, this mountain of debt is coming down! I thank Jesus for helping me in every area that needed help. Yes, it took nearly ten years for that mountain to come down. If God can help me in the taking down of that mountain, then Jesus can do the same thing for you.
You simply need to ask God for help and let the Holy Spirit guide you in the right way for you. You can be certain that it will line up with the Word of God.