This is an article from Debt Kid. He lost of $250,000 trading stocks, options, and currencies as a young 20-something. He’s been blogging since 2007 about his journey to get out of debt.
When I originally set out to write this piece on debt, it was titled, “The Soul Crushing Power of Debt”.
But the more I reflected on my own experience with debt, the more I realized:
“There are really two responses to the power of debt. It can crush you. Or it can motivate you. Sometimes, it can do both at the same time.”
Daily debt (debt you think about at least once a day) really can be soul crushing. You know the Dementors in Harry Potter? The way the characters slow down and all the goodness is sucked out of them when the Dementors get close? That's what daily debt feels like.
And it sucks.
After awhile though, the feeling becomes normal. It's normal to have your heartbeat race anytime your phone rings from an unknown caller. It's normal to stress at the grocery store over a 25 cent difference in brands. It's normal to not sleep well.
It's not until you go a day without thinking about your debt that you realize the weight it has on your life.
I decided that I wasn't going to let my debt drown me. Sure, I was an idiot. Yeah, I was completely broke. But I knew I could work hard. And I knew that I didn't have any other choice than to get out of debt.
And so my debt drove me. It drove me to work friday nights with no social life. It drove me to constantly be thinking of new income sources. It drove me to relentlessly cut my spending habits.
It also drove me a little mad. But, that's another story for another day.
I think the biggest step for me in dealing with my debt was acknowledging the emotional and physical toll it was taking on me. Once I was able to recognize what was happening to me, I was able to combat it better.
I know I'm working hard to get out of debt.
I know I'm not spending recklessly.
I know I'm saving money every month.
I'm controlling the things I can control, and trying to not beat myself up other things I cannot (sounds like an AA meeting!).
Debt is powerful
There is a reason Jesus talks more about money in the Bible than nearly any other topic: it's a powerful force. It can cause us to stumble, and make mistakes, and not act rationally.
As a Christian I'm reminded that Jesus wants us to serve him with our whole hearts, and bodies and minds. And to do that to our 100% fullest, we need our minds and bodies fresh and healthy.
And that means doing whatever we can to stay away from debt and it's powerful force in our lives.
What do you think? Is debt really that powerful or am I just scarred?