I’ve always been fascinated by the potential of even the smallest seed.
We seem to take it for granted, but let me remind you that a Sequoia tree (the largest living thing on earth) grows to be hundreds of feet tall and starts with a tiny little seed.
I still remember, like you probably do, being in first-grade planting seeds in a dixie cup and watching the miracle of growth and change.
How have we lost the wonder of something coming to life from something dead and lifeless?
And once sprouted, the amazing simplicity of soil, water, and sun causing growth for decades, centuries, or in the case of the Sequoia, millennia.
Our role is merely to take small & consistent actions to nurture the seed.
What if we could apply this principle to our money?
I remember being on a 7-month sabbatical when I was 20 years old and living in a city where I didn’t know anyone. I was on a spiritual journey that would ultimately lead me to some very practical changes.
I had no savings. I had no money left in my checking account, and my credit card was $264 from being maxed out.
My rent was due that day, and I was worried about needing to buy gas to pick up a couple of friends from the airport who would be staying with me that weekend.
At the worst possible time, my car broke down in front of a minor league ballpark about 30 minutes before game time as hundreds were driving by staring.
I found myself pushing my car to the side of the road as hundreds pulled into the ballpark.
The embarrassment was the last thing on my mind, because I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent, much less fix my now broken down car with my $264 remaining available credit with Visa.
As I finished pushing my car to the side of the road to get out of the flow of traffic, I climbed in, put my head in my hands, prayed, and committed with every ounce of my being to get control of my money.
Looking back, this was when the seed of financial success was planted.
Even though I was terrified and clueless…
about how to get out of the financial mess I found myself in, at least the seed was planted – and by the help and grace of God I was determined to nurture it for as long as it took.
I began reading articles about how to get control of my money and began eliminating foolish money habits I had developed.
And just like the 1st grader with the dixie cup, I began looking for signs of progress the next day only to find nothing.
Just wet dirt.
And the next day – still just wet dirt.
But I bought books, read magazines, watched videos – anything I could to continue nurturing the seed – all while seeing no visible signs of progress.
And to be honest, it took months before I saw the first signs of progress.
That first sign of life for me was…
that I was able to pay my monthly expenses without using a credit card. I can’t even tell you how excited I was realizing that it might just work.
I kept at it – making as few stupid money decisions as possible.
Side note: financial success is a lot more about minimizing stupid decisions than making really good ones.
And over the months my seed grew from a sprout to a seedling – I watched my net worth (or AUM as we call it around here) go from negative $13K to $0, which was a huge cause for celebration for me.
During the following years we (Linda was now in the picture) paid off over $46K of credit cards, car loans, 2 houses, and have been able to (by God’s grace) give our age as a percentage of our income.
Those have been some amazing highlights, but the unexpected benefit has been actually having true financial freedom. Not the kind where you have a ton of money and are stressed out all the time worried about it, but instead a deep security knowing that God will always take care of us – regardless of what the bank balance says.
And it all started with a tiny seed being planted.
“Do not despise these small beginnings”–Zechariah 4:10 NLT
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