Today as I write this, we are flat broke.
There is $3 in our checking account and $6 in our savings account.
It’s almost payday and that money goes to bills, fuel, and food.
We are living paycheck to paycheck. And I hate it.
Some may balk at my blatant admission. Some might feel relieved that they are not the only ones. This confession is the raw truth hidden behind a curtain that honestly makes me cringe to reveal to you. But, I know that there is power in truth. There is power in confession. And there is power in sharing how I’m living abundantly in a season of being flat broke.
There is no vacation fund, no overhauling our wardrobe for seasonal clothes, no starting projects for the house. The septic tank needs to be pumped. We need groceries. This is a holiday weekend and there’s no money for gifts. The shower drain is leaking and the bathroom needs to be gutted with new plumbing. And, we are broke.
Speaking of broke, I broke the lawnmower blades last week and the kitchen sink last night! Oh my gosh, seriously! Can you relate to all this, friend?
I’m not Complaining
Giant Slayer, I’m not writing to complain. I’m not writing for you to feel sorry for me. I’m not even writing to ask others to “buy in” to what I’m selling. I’m writing to speak truth about living in abundance while I’m in a season of being flat broke.
You see a few years ago, we were making 6 figures each year and had no debt. That felt lovely. We were living overseas as part of Chris’s career in the Army and I was teaching for the Department of Defense. We were making good money. We traveled Europe. We never went without. We blessed others with the excess of our finances. We enjoyed this season.
And then things changed. Chris retired, and we bought a house. Oh, and not just any house. Our dream house with dream land because, friend, we were dreaming big for this next season of our lives. I’m writing this to thwart the mindset that we must have big bank accounts and lots of stuff to be “living the dream”. We don’t. It took a while (and counseling) for us to work through spending habits in this season of our life.
And we cut up the credit cards. So, where debt once was abundant and almost out of control, we now live paycheck to paycheck because will accrue no more debt. We’ve been behind on a few bills and have had to play catch-up with a few companies, but the Lord always provides. And while those checking account amounts may sound dismal, we’ve paid off almost $15,000 in debt in the past year and lived within our means for the past 18 months.
I say “we” because all of this was a joint decision. You see, we chose this life. We chose this house. We chose to cut up the cards and take responsibility for all our actions. We choose to create a budget and live within it. So while it may seem that I am “flat broke” for a season, my spirituality, my marriage, my motherhood, and this ministry are in full abundance.
Friend, this post is not about creative ways to eliminate debt or how to create a budget. There are lots of resources out there for those. This post is about living an abundant life when you’re flat broke. Because I know that sometimes we have done all that we can “to throw off all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” and we are still flat broke. We can “fix our eyes on Jesus” and the finances have yet to change. We are in the season of “hard” and seeking just the glimmer of “hope”. I want to tell you a secret. I’ve heard it said that “hope is not a strategy”. (Sorry, not sorry, Miss Rachel Hollis) I want to lay that falsehood to rest. Hope is a strategy.
HOPE IS A STRATEGY.
The hope that we have in Christ is a strategy for living an abundant life. The hope we have in him helps us to fix our eyes on the author and perfector of our faith. The hope that we have reminds us that this is circumstance is temporary, this world is not our home, and His purpose for us is always to grow closer to Him in faith, even in the season of flat broke; maybe, especially in the season of flat broke!
His purpose for us is not to live a cushy life so that we never struggle. As a matter of fact, Christ speaks a lot about sacrifice in this life. I think sometimes we want to skip over this because we don’t like to struggle. Friend, I want to speak truth: without a struggle we cannot grow. (Go read James 1).
Christ Taught about An Abundant Life
Christ spoke about living an abundant life. He came so that we might have life to the full. (John 10:10). In this passage, Jesus speaks of thieves and robbers coming to kill and destroy. Yet, he came to give us abundant life. Friend, I’m convinced he wasn’t talking about us being rich and famous. He was talking about our mindset, our salvation, and our spiritual lives.
I can’t help but wonder if this season of “flat broke” for me is where I’m supposed to grow abundantly in faith, in family, and in fortitude. I know that the Creator is “working all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). That includes me. That includes you. We love Him and called according to His purpose for our lives.
What if I embraced this season fully and focused on “Godliness with contentment” (1 Timothy 6)? What would my life look like? How would my mindset about being “flat broke” change?
And this, sweet friend, brought me to share what I’ve learned with you. I know about the power of using Godly Affirmations. Heck, friend, I wrote an entire e-course called UNLABELED to share how to shift our mindset by claiming God’s Word! It is in this season of flat broke that I’m learning to shift my mindset from “lack to abundance” and this was too good to keep to myself. I call this the “Flat Broke Season” Mindset Shift (totally unoriginal, I know).
But First, a Reality Check
Our worldly mindset wants us to focus on this physical world and what we do not have. Friend, I’m not talking about facing the reality of your bank account. That is just discernment and facing truth. We cannot deny the numbers coming in or going out. We must face them.
This is not an “Oh, well, we’ll always be broke” mindset. And this isn’t a feel-good post to remind you that Jesus said “Don’t worry” from Matthew 6:25-33. There is a difference between worry and sober-minded. We are to be sober-minded. Friend, there are so many resources about dealing with debt, numbers, and habits that are hindering you from eliminating debt in your life. The Bible speaks clearly about living in debt and being okay with it. Two verses that come to mind are these:
Proverbs 22:7: The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Romans 13:8: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
And let me give you another hard truth in this disclaimer note: If you’re struggling to make ends meet, then please talk with a licensed financial counselor about your numbers. If you have serious money issues and spending habits that are out of control, friend, please seek wisdom from a Christian counselor to dig deep into the issues and addictions that are hindering your finances. Chris and I did this very thing. It was truly an intervention from God that has saved our marriage.
The “Flat Broke Season” Mindset Shift.
Now that you know that I’ve faced the “reality” of our numbers, I want you to truly understand that I view where we are as a season. That this is a place where God is working amazing things for us that I cannot even understand. I fully believe in this hope. As I said above, the Bible speaks clearly about being in debt. We are working to eliminate that. This “flat broke” season has brought so much clarity on where the priorities are in my walk with the Creator, who I am created to be in Christ, my purpose for my work and how I truly serve others. And it has been beautiful.
So what is this mindset shift I’ve had to work through? After we faced reality, I knew my attitude and heart had to change towards our finances. I wanted to give you a few tips and affirmations to help you to do the same.
Tips to Shift Your Mindset
- Show up for your life. For real, make showing up your superpower. Show up for your family and embrace who they are. Show up for yourself and make time for the things you love. Show up for your workout and push your physical body. Show up for your nutrition and bless your body. Show up for your dreams and build them. When we show up for our lives, we can truly embrace where we are and honor the season of our lives. We can practice “Godliness with contentment” and be thankful for the very breath in our lungs when we learn to be present and grateful.
- Learn to be present. For real, focus on being in the moment and honoring others with your presence. This mindset shift means putting down your phone, stop scrolling social media, unplug from mindless videos and playing games while you’re in the presence of others. This has sparked more joy in my life than I ever imagined. I challenge you to do this too. Silence those notifications so those little red circles and annoying dings are not pulling for your attention. Instead of waiting for online friends | followers to “validate” you, validate others with your laughter, your discussion, your snuggles, and your very presence.
- Stop Comparing. For real, unplug and unfollow those social media accounts that make you crave what the world says you should have. Let me speak directly to you a phrase that all should hear. “Other people’s blessings are none of your business.” Remember the story from Matthew 20: 1-16? I can’t help but to remind myself that I have no right to be “envious because the Master is generous.” I am to count my blessings and see God’s abundance in my own life. Trust me, friend, writing out daily gratitude will retrain your brain to see God’s goodness in your life. It’s a nerdy brain process called neuroplasticity and it is legit. I’ve seen it in my own life. I write out my blessings on the In the Word printable while doing my daily quiet time.
- Discover how you can serve. For real, get out of your own way. I have found so many times that I feel that I’m “lacking” is because I’m focused inward on what’s not happening for me. How human and selfish of me. Servitude as a Christian should be a part of our priorities. Friend, get your accounts and finances in order and focus on ways that you can serve and help others without spending money! Can you help your neighbor in the garden? Can you call a friend who’s struggling? Can you share beautiful content on social media with words that encourage others in their walk with Christ? Get creative. Write out a list of ways that you can serve. In this post, I talk about creating a purposeful pause for reflection. I have a list of a few ways to reflect on how you’re serving others.
- Revisit what you have. For real, what do you have that you love? I’m not just talking about counting blessings and giving gratitude to the Creator for His abundance. I was listening to a podcast the other day and the woman was talking about the “must haves” of her wardrobe. All I could think was, “How could I create these within my own closet instead of buying new things?” That got me to thinking that you might have the same question. I created some questions to help you shift this mindset too.
*Thoughts on Clothes*
What do you have in the closets that you love to wear? Can you piece these together in new ways to give you a fresh look and be excited about your wardrobe again? Can you mix and match some accessories to stack your bracelets or necklaces? What about adding heels to jeans instead of flats? Adding layers of shirts can create a more “polished” look without an investment! Get creative! (And if you do this and share your outfit on social media, tag me! I want to see you!)
*Thoughts on the Home*
I recently read Cozy Minimalist Home and it sparked a lot of insight and creativity about how I truly view our home. A serious mindset shift happened when I read this book. It gave me “permission” and to appreciate what I have and hope that I truly can create simple and beautiful spaces in my home. I love the less is more mindset, and this book truly embraces this. So I want to ask you these questions to help you with a mindset shift for your home based on what I’ve learned:
- What do you have in your home already that could be moved/rearranged in a new or creative way? Can you swap out one piece of furniture for another piece in the house? How can you change prints on the wall? Curtains? Pillows? Can you cut flowers or branches from outside to bring to the table? Get creative, friend! Search Pinterest for some inspiration. Remember, don’t get caught in the comparison game! Focus on your own blessings!
- Do you need to get a cleaning routine/rhythm in order to appreciate the space you already have? Then swing by Creating a Home of Peace and see about setting a new rhythm for your home.
- Do you need to declutter or purgePurge + Sell OR Purge + Donate. For real, friend, truly look at what you have in your life. What is taking up your time, your space, your energy? The Lord pressed upon me a while back the idea to run a Hebrews 12 race and to eliminate, purge, and declutter. I’ve taken this seriously. This flat broke season has become one of ridding ourselves of old ways, old habits, and old strongholds that have held us captive.
Multiple times in Scripture it seems the people of the Lord go through a cleansing process in order to live more abundantly. Maybe this is where you are too? If so, I encourage you to pick up the Hebrews 12 workbook (it’s free) and work through this process of “throwing off all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles… to fix your eyes on Jesus”.
There are lots of decluttering tools out there to help you go through your home. I’m not an expert, but I can tell you to start small with spaces that will not overwhelm you and have the least amount of sentimental value. I’m still working through this process. Once I reach the place God’s calling me to in this process with our home and my life, then I want to create a few resources for you to help you do this with a spiritual mindset too!
Affirmations from Scripture
I’ve shared my story about using Godly Affirmations in Unlabeled. I’m all about using God’s Word to speak life into my life. This is not the “money flows in my life” kind of affirmation. I don’t want the world’s words. I want God’s promises to fill my mind. And I want that for you too.
I want to focus on the blessings that God provides and remind myself that this flat broke season is temporary. I remind myself that money and wealth are not what I chase after, but that I am a woman after God’s heart. I have this hope that as I work for the Lord and use His principles to guide our finances, that the debt will continue to decrease and one day we will use our wealth once again to bless others in the Kingdom work.
But, until that moment happens, I will live abundantly in this flat broke season and shout His goodness and His praises. I will share my heart, my words, my work, and my life to glorify Him. I will live in my purpose, my appointment, and my calling by setting fierce boundaries around my priorities so that I can serve in the best possible way. I will speak His life-giving words into my mind and spirit to remind me that hope is a strategy.
Friend, I want to challenge you to do this too.
I want to share a few Godly Affirmations that you can claim as His child to remember the promises He has for you. Discover how you can use scripture to claim Godly affirmations here.
Scriptures to Encourage You
Colossians 3:2 – I set my mind on things above, not on earthly things.
Romans 8:28 – I know that in all things God is working for me because I love Him and am called according to his purpose.
Luke 6:38 – I give generously.
Matthew 6:25-34 – I seek His kingdom first. He provides for me.
Proverbs 11:25 – A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
A FREE DOWNLOAD
As sisters in Christ, we are on the battlefield together. So, I want to share this free tool with you!
But, sis, I don’t want to just give you this tool, I want to give you several of my favorite resources to help you create a simple, but intentional, time with the Lord.
I put together a PDF that has 3 of my favorite tools to use to really get focused and start each day with intention to fill your cup and in turn serve and bless others!
1.| “In the Word”
2.|Pages of Godly Affirmations
3.| the MAP (Morning Action Plan)
I purposefully chose these 3 tools because they truly helped me simplify my mornings to focus on living intentionally for the Creator.
I started writing and practicing Godly Affirmations and it transformed my thinking just as Paul talked about in Romans 12:1-2. I became UNLABELED from the world’s ideas of who I was and focused on who God says that I am as His daughter.
The MAP (Morning Action Plan)
The morning action plan helped me to create a routine and a rhythm in the mornings to wake up each day with intention. It took me a long time to realize that the reason I didn’t want to wake up early is that I didn’t want to face my life and what each day brought.
If you keep saying “I’m not a morning person!” then I challenge you to read this post here.
MORE HELPFUL TOOLS
Sister, the aim of A Simply Dunn Life is to help you simplify areas of your life to live. I would love to share with you more tools that I have to help you do this!