Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Guest Blog by Aaron...

...about the man who changed our lives.

Here is one of the truest and most terrifying sentences I have ever read (from William Law’s Serious Call): “If you will look into your own heart in complete honesty, you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not a saint: you do not wholly want to be.”

Such a true, powerful statement.  I have a choice, I have influence over my decisions, I am not a victim, I have power.  Let’s take this a step forward for the sake of this blog post……

“If you will look into your own heart in complete honesty, you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not wealthy/financially stable: you do not wholly want to be”  See what I did there?
It’s so true for many of us.  We can blame many circumstances and incidents in our past that have caused us to be struck down and set back.  I’m going to share a story.  Because of decisions that I made (that I later wish I could take back) I owed the IRS and state of Michigan $4,000 in taxes.  Due on April 15th, 2011.  Two weeks later, the week before my 1st child was born, our basement flooded.  The whole basement, at the same level at the carpet.  There’s another $2,000.  What am I missing…oh yeah.  Back in January, we woke up and my wife said, “It’s really dry in this house”.  Here comes a new humidifier, $500.  Remember that baby I mentioned, well he required surgery via C-Section to come out and that means extra day in hospital.  Also, another hospital stay a couple weeks later because of a fall.  So tack on another $2,000 - $3,000 in hospital bills.  Then, in July, brakes needed to be fix.  Another $600.  All in the same year. 

Guess what, we paid cash for everything!  IRS/State of Michigan, I had a check for them.  Flooded basement, how about a check.  Humidifier…..check!   Beaumont Hospital, I have some checks for you as each bill comes in the mail!  Heating & Cooling, meet the checkbook.   Brake job, debit card! (Forgot the checkbook).  I’m not saying all this to brag.  I’m just making the point that I understand more than anyone that things happen.  But instead of life happening to you, how about you happening to life? 

How did this all happen?  Back in December of 2010, I met someone named Dave Ramsey.  He changed my life.  If my religion allowed me to worship false idols, he’d be it.  Through him, I made the choice with my wife to take control.  Grab our finances by the collar and take over.  Like Gandolf in the Lord of the Rings, we told our money, “You Shall Not Pass!!!”  But the funny thing is that we did it through simple methods – Make a budget, pay mostly everything with cash.  That’s it.  We broke out a budget and it said, “Show Me the Money!!!”  Dave Ramsey was able to empower us that we can be wealthy if we choose to be.  But not wealthy just for the sake of hoarding money with a clinched fist.   Creating wealth in order to give it away and give it happily.  The only person who can help someone in need is someone who has something to give.  My wife and I just made a Wilkerson Bucket List to list things that we want to do in our lives.  I’m happy that much of that involves giving our money away and travel and give our money away and do more travelling.

But the moral of the story is that you start all this with the idea that I CAN become wealthy, if I want to.  Life happens…..waaah waaah waaah.  You can happen to life.  You can.  We did it.  But you have to believe.  We started on January 1st 2011 with $82,000 worth of debt.  At the end of this month, we’ll be down to $50,000 worth of debt.  We’ll be debt free.  We will be debt free.  Why?  Because we made the choice to take control and make a plan.  Dave Ramsey helped us believe that it’s possible.  We’re going to be millionaires one day.  We will because we decided to be millionaires so that we can give a lot of it away and live the way we want to.   And on our way to becoming millionaires, we’re still going to give 10% of our income to the Church.  And we all think about becoming millionaires, let’s be serious.  Remember that mega millions jackpot a couple weeks ago?  Don’t tell me you didn’t buy a ticket or significantly consider buying one.  And then you wondered what you’d do with that $648 millions.  How much you’d give away.  Didn’t you?
Look up Dave Ramsey to learn more about him and be amazed by his awesomeness.

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