Introduction: This is my first post on T4P, Nathan has granted me access to contribute from time to time. My name is Glen. I hope this post helps someone.
I recently had an event that could have had me very upset. I’ll go into specifics in a minute. This article is not about being upset though. It’s about using emotional triggers to look inward, pray, see what scripture has to say about the matter and come to peace and growth.
A brief background. I am currently going through a chapter 7 bankruptcy. That is not what this article is focused on, but it is important. I want to go into that more in another article later. My mom paid $2000 for my bankruptcy lawyer with the expectation that I will pay her back as I can. Pamela offered to pay that in full when her income tax refund comes in. She planned to replace the beds for the kids and us as well. They are all very worn with several holes chewed out by dogs and sagging spots. She also planned to do vehicle maintenance. Her car needs new tires and the check engine light and slip light are on. Past that, she agreed to give me $2000 to go toward converting half of our two car garage into a man cave / study. It is very difficult for me to focus on anything with no space for myself in a house of five with three teenagers. I go to Dennys’ to do homework almost every day when I take classes. So all of these things had me very excited. I was making 3D Models of the garage conversion and had a running spreadsheets for materials with prices and links to where I found the best deals.
Cut to the event. Pamela got a letter from the IRS that all of her refund except $1000 was applied to her outstanding student loan and we’re not getting the money we had expected. She graduated from a culinary school about 7 years ago. The original student loan was $7000, but with interest and fees about $9000. She was on a payment plan, but the small payments were barely chipping away at all and we didn’t know what to do about it. I kind of figured it would always just be there.
When I first read the letter my initial reaction was to reassure Pamela that we will be ok and that I am not upset with her and will find another way to take care of the things that we need most, such as vehicle maintenance, kids clothes, beds, and that I will pay my mom back. The rest of the day it really sat in that I will not be able to make my little area of refuge in the garage.
This is something I really want. I can act extroverted in social situations, but deep down I identify more as an introvert and I feel a need to recharge by myself. I have not been able to do that since I started dating Pamela. I don’t play any musical instruments anymore. I don’t draw. I have to go out to program or study. I very rarely even watch TV or play games on the PlayStation or PC aside from when I pick up Big Mike and take the laptop to Dennys. Trying to get everyone to leave me alone so I can think straight for an hour or two is not worth the fight it takes to achieve such a miracle. The boys will find ten reasons to come out of their bedroom and ask me questions. They blare their TV and Phones, usually both at once in competition with each other for volume. If I take away their phones, then they fight with each other loudly out of boredom if nothing else. By the time I get any quit I’m ready for bed. There’s also the issue of feeling stupid for going through such trouble if it’s not for something important like school. I feel ridiculous just trying to have a peaceful minut to watch TV or especially to play a game. I work 50, 62, or 74 hours per week, and intermittently take classes on top of that and try to keep the house in decent maintenance. Sometimes I just want to stop and play a game, but I don’t.
If I had a little space in the garage walled off and cooled with a mini split ductless A/C unit and a desk and TV I could stay home to study or relax any time I needed or wanted and feel more recharged to have quality time with the family in between.
Anyway, enough of that. I wanted to emphasise how strongly I felt about it and what it meant to me. That done, I can move on to where I am now.
The following thought process has helped me find peace and grow closer in relationship with God and build better character through a healthier outlook on life many times. Here’s how it works.
God wants us to have Peace in all things. Not just the good. Even in the midst of stressful situations or problems out of our control.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I use any emotion that triggers a feeling other than peace as a sign to stop and pray about why I don’t have peace and ask for help to find it and give thanks.
In many cases my thoughts were not aligned with scripture. Theophostic Prayer Ministries has a great method to help people pinpoint conflicting beliefs and find harmful thoughts that do not align with scripture.
In this case my thoughts about finances were not aligned with God’s will.
Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
I was content to slowly chip away at a debt with no real hope of it going away while spending money that could have repaid that debt on other things.
This article sums this up very well: https://get.tithe.ly/blog/bible-verses-about-debt
With this new view I was able to see that having the tax refund go directly to the student loan and paying it in full now has freed us, not burdened us. God helped us to not only do the right thing, but the thing that would benefit our future most and a thing that we would not have done on our own without this new scriptural alignment.
I am thankful that this has happened the way it did. I have a bit more content with my current situation as well. I believe my garage conversion can still be in my future, but in God’s timing without debt, and with peace that when it does happen, it will be a blessing and not a curse in the form of debt.
My hope in writing this is that the reader will take the following lessons to heart. God loves us and wants what is best for us. When we don’t have Peace, God is trying to tell us something is not in alignment with His will for us. When this happens, the best thing we can do is stop and pray. Search Scripture, and be open and looking for change in yourself, not in anything external. The situation is just a trigger, the real problem is always within our own thought process.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I highly recommend looking into Theophostic Prayer methods of self reflection and prayer for healing linked here: https://www.equip.org/article/theophostic-prayer-ministry-part-one/