One of my favorite quotes from Dave Ramsey is “Act your wage.” I value Dave’s contribution to help people get out of debt and live in financial freedom.
What gets missed by many however, is that being debt-free is not the same as financial freedom. In fact, many people are getting out of debt but remaining slaves to money…and never realizing it. How can this be?
Have you ever seen someone come into a huge sum of money through the lottery, job promotion, inheritance, etc., only to be back to their old financial situation, or even worse off, within a few years? It is called being broke at a higher level. You have more money, but the way you relate to money remains the same. Whether you get out of debt through a sudden financial windfall, or through steady plodding and working it off, you remain just as enslaved to money unless you create a new way of being with it. Without a new way of being with money, the only thing that changes when you get more money or get out of debt is the way you express being a slave. You are still serving money instead of money serving you.
The way you relate to money is a context. There is a context for financial slavery and a context for financial mastery. And it has NOTHING to do with how much money/debt you have and don’t have. Whichever context you come from will determine what is and isn’t possible for you.
The context of financial slavery says that money is finite and there is never enough. It is a context of lack that will have you constantly striving for more and fearful to make financial commitments. It also leaves you seeing yourself as a victim to circumstances and situations as the determining factors in your wellbeing. It can be summed up in the perception, “I need money to be okay.” These are the rules and parameters in the game of financial slavery, and no matter how much money you make, you are never free. Because the more you “win” as a slave to money, the more enslaved you become.
Financial mastery, however, says that money is infinite and always available. It is a context of abundant supply that will have you empowered to decide and direct money with purpose and intention. You will make bold commitments, as it leaves you seeing yourself as being the determining factor in your wellbeing, regardless of uncontrollable circumstances and situations. It is summed up in the perception, “Money needs me, and I’ve always been okay.” In the game of financial mastery, you come from “win” already. No matter how much money you make or lose, you are always already free. Freedom begets freedom.
So we have well-intentioned people applying the rules of financial freedom while still living in the context of financial slavery. Just like the difference in rules between soccer and football, what is possible in one game just isn’t allowed for in the other. And the number one rule in the game of slavery is that freedom is never possible.
Jesus says new wine needs new wine skins—He is speaking to the decisive nature of context. Financial freedom techniques are awesome…when lived in the context of financial mastery. But as long as your relationship with money is still a context of financial slavery, techniques lead only to more bondage. Have you noticed that?
Here is the GREAT NEWS! You get to choose the game you play, the arena you enter, the context you live from. You get to create it. Slave or Master? Who do you choose to be?