Whether it’s reconnecting with inspirational people, feeling the relief of being welcomed with open arms by others or feeling the excitement of a long-standing rivalry, there’s nothing like homecoming. It’s a jubilant time for growth and celebration. It’s a time to reflect on the past, to revel in the present and to hope for a brighter future.
I’d like to invite each and every one of you to Homecoming, Oct. 25–28, 2018 at my church, the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey where the entire event has been planned around achieving financial freedom. Just think of debt as that rival that needs to be beat by a wide margin in a legendary showdown.
Even if you can’t make it to New Jersey, this is the perfect time to starting planning for a debt-free experience in 2019 or 2020. After all, no matter where you reside, you really can’t feel at home if you’re living in debt.
Just like athletes psyche themselves up for the big game, you’ve got to get your mind right and your energy focused to tackle a rival like debt. Yes, it’s beat you before. Maybe debt has beat you every time you’ve tried to go up against it in the past. I know, from experience, that it feels like battling a giant. Just thinking about it may make you want to give up before you even start. But there’s hope.
Conquering debt isn’t something you should try to do alone. That’s why I encourage you to take the team approach by getting a mentor or a friend who can support you along the way. Homecoming is a time to embrace each other and for the reminder that you are greater than your circumstances. Yes, you are. You may, however, need a coach.
Don’t be fooled by gimmicks or high-priced advice. There are plenty of banks and other financial institutions that have financial experts who can serve as coaches, sometimes for free. There’s also lots of available free advice and apps for taking the basic steps to start debt relief, including setting up a monthly budget.
In my experience, getting rid of debt is more about the social, psychological, emotional and spiritual relationships you’ve built over time rather than just physical circumstances. It requires a lifestyle change. Homecoming is a time to look around at what your kin are doing, think about why you are the way you are and make determinations for the future. Do you want to defeat debt?
You can help yourself get in the right frame of mind by taking some time to create your own personal Spirit Week. Give yourself that seven-day challenge and motivation, or involve others who can be your cheerleaders and witnesses. For instance, one day you can make a short list of daily things you spend money on that are wants versus needs. The next day you can decide what you’ll eliminate from that list to redirect the money to needs. The next day you can use that money and pay down a bill or open a savings account, etc. Make sure you save a day for a little celebration, even if it’s just taking time to look in the mirror and appreciate what you’ve begun.
When a basketball team defeats a rival that they haven’t beat in a while, it’s usually not because they got lucky in that one game. It’s because they’ve planned. They’ve studied their opponent. They’ve strategized. They’ve worked-out and practiced. The defeat is the culmination of a lot of blood, sweat and tears. The victory is priceless.
Imagine how you’ll feel when you demolish debt from your life and are welcomed to financial freedom. I imagine it will feel like a homecoming. It’s where you belong.
DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., author of Say Yes to No Debt: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom, is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey and is the architect of the dfree® financial freedom movement.