“I’ve spent how much on credit card interest and late fees in the past three months?”
“You don’t want to know. In fact, you don’t want to know how much you’ve spent in the past three years on interest and late fees.”
“But I didn’t know...” With tears spilling down my face, I let my sentence trail off, lest my voice betray my emotion.
“We aren’t responsible for your lack of knowledge. This information was all in the terms you received when you signed up for this card.”
Biting back an angry reply, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. This conversation was not going my way. How was I supposed to know about penalties hidden in the fine print? No one reads the fine print! Deep down I knew even though I didn’t understand the rules of using a credit card, I had broken them and had to pay the price.
I wondered how God might view avoiding financial responsibility. While the Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not procrastinate,” I knew avoiding responsibility wasn’t a godly biblical concept. Colossians 3:23 says everything I do should be done for the Lord. Procrastination, to paraphrase the dictionary, is a wilful delay of doing something that should be done. If I’m wilfully delaying paying my bills, then it’s as if I’m also doing this unto the Lord. So it’s wrong.
After reflection, I realized my behaviour was rooted in fear, which was not from the Lord (2 Timothy 1:7). It was time to stop procrastinating.
In my mind, money was a big, green bully, and I was the little bug it cruelly squished. I needed help learning to manage my finances—and James 1:5 told me where to look. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” Time to pray.
With some anxiety, I asked God for wisdom and understanding. The next Sunday at church, my pastor told the congregation about a free six-week budgeting course for anyone who wanted to learn how to make and balance a budget. So I signed up.
The man leading the budgeting course spent most of the first evening explaining what to expect and the emotional reactions we may experience as a result of the coursework. I looked around the room and noticed people of all ages. People older than I didn’t know how to budget either? Were they afraid too?
We were challenged to tailor our budgets according to the financial goals we wanted to accomplish. I didn’t know a budgeter could do that. Up until then, I thought a budget was an immutable, standardized document a person was required to live up to. I had never thought about my financial goals before—objectives I wanted to achieve and how much I needed in order to accomplish them.
In an instant, budgeting became a way I could do more things in life. Instead of being the bully who squished me, money transformed into a pal who could help me reach my goals.
My first budget took me more than a week to balance. Receipts littered my kitchen table, and my recycling bin overflowed with mistake-riddled templates. Dealing with money was hard work, but I was beginning to see where the proper money management could take me.
The more I learned about money, the more I saw how enslaved I’d been by my lack of financial knowledge. Putting in the hours to gain insight not only transformed my grasp on financial concepts but it empowered me to take responsibility for my money.
After completing my budgeting course, I confronted a new fear. I had a balanced budget. I had financial goals. I had put in the work. But what if I failed?
Proverbs 16:3 gave me courage: “Commit your actions to the Lord, / and your plans will succeed.”
Overcoming financial procrastination began as a desire to be a better testament to God. I wanted to honour Him with my finances, so I put in the work in order to stop avoiding what was right. I began trusting that He would continue leading me down the path of financial independence.
I wish I could say my relationship with money was the only place procrastination popped up. Turns out, I love putting things off until tomorrow. Writing deadlines, homework, grocery shopping, getting out of bed, getting dressed for work, exercising...I could go on. In the moment, procrastination feels amazing, but it only leads to anxiety.
As I meditate on God’s Word, I can look forward to making the most of each day. We’re not here for long, so let’s take up his challenge to make the most of our days and leave procrastination for later.
This article is an excerpt from Exquisitely Imperfect.