When I first heard of Dave Ramsey, it was Spring of 2005. He was screaming on the radio at this poor little lady about borrowing money. At this time, I believed in the Principles of Using Other People's Money and It's better in my pocket than in yours. So, needless to say I quickly turned to another station. 6 months later, I stumbled onto Dave Ramsey again. This time, he was calming and the advice he gave this man about whose debt to pay back first would have been exactly what I would do too. So, he's not too bad after all.
I continued to listen, then I borrowed his book from the library. By this time, God has prepared my heart through Pastor John's (senior pastor at my church) sermons about financials..... Oh boy, it wasnt as rough as I had imagined. I wished we had found this book right after college because we have always wondered which paths/ steps to take.
Just like any new college graduate, we defined success by the stuff we can buy with our money. We didnt know any other way because we werent believers back then. Prior to TMMO (Total Money Makeover), we have always lived below our means. We never had a credit card balance, no school loans - just 2 car loans right after college which we paid off 2 years after we graduated. I could say that we were on the other end of the spectrum and sometimes we feel that we have worked ourselves too hard not to enjoy life a little. Finances for us was a very high priority - in fact for me, it was my light source. It makes me happy and sad. It makes me laugh and cry. Because we are here in America far away from our family in Asia, finances became our "security" because our family - if we ever needed help, they were 2 days plane right away. I dont want to admit this, but I was letting this world conform my being.
We officially got onto the Dave Ramsey band wagon in August of 2005. Our lives have dramatically changed since then. For some people, learning the TMMO ways may include tightening your fists towards finances. For others, it could mean loosening life a little. For us, it was more of a priority alignment - budget intended.
We have a budget, we use cash only and we discuss finances together. TMMO have taught us skills to handle our finances. More importantly, God taught us to align our priorities according to what is important to Him. Our most recent endeavor is to answer God's calling and serving Him through my business. Living on one income is not as scary once you see how God provides. I know it may be easy for someone to think, "It's easy for you to say".... and I know that. It is easy only when you align your priorities. Know that you may not hit every single item on your list and that's ok too. Personally, I feel like doing TMMO alone without a purpose in mind may help do some financial clean up, but it is with God's financial principles that we feel we are beginning to live life according to His plan.
I cannot help but to reiterate Romans 12:22 because as a new Christ follower, I wanted to know what's God's plans for us are. It was right in front of me and it didnt click until just recently: So, here is my version of Romans 12:22....
Do not be defined by the standards of this world, then you will know what the will of God for your life is.
So, what I personally got out of TMMO? It was simple financial principles but more importantly, I learnt how to balance between life and living.