by Courtney Woodruff
How to Flourish Financially During Deployment by NOT Overspending
My fingertips brushed the bright floral fabric. The light-hearted tangerine, lemon, and grapefruit hues lifted my spirits. Without a second thought, I casually tossed the pretty summer dress into the shopping cart.
Grinning at my baby boy seated snugly in the upper basket, I took a sip of the latte I’d picked up on my way into the store. This had become our weekly ritual; indulging myself in retail therapy temporarily filled the aching emptiness that had been gnawing at my insides since my husband left for the Middle East.
We’re getting extra money each month, deployment is hard, and I deserve a treat, I reasoned with myself.
So far, the day’s “treat” consisted of: fancy coffee, new clothes, and a brightly colored educational toy that held my infant’s attention for longer than two seconds. In the back of my mind, I knew the momentary rush of fulfillment accompanying fun purchases would only plug the void in my heart long enough to snip the price tag from each item.
Still, I wandered aimlessly through the aisles. As I made my way through the book section, a bright pink rectangle caught my eye; a Bible. Even though I already had one, it had been awhile since I’d cracked it open. Maybe this pretty cover will encourage me to read? Sighing, I added it to the contents of my basket and turned toward the front of the store. What’s one more little thing? Overspending? Not even a consideration.
Moments later, I was standing in the checkout line, scoffing in disbelief at the ugly word that had appeared on the screen: declined.
My cheeks flushed as I offered the cashier a flustered apology. Retrieving my phone from my purse, my fingers fluttered frantically across the screen as I logged into our checking account and transferred money from savings.
“That should do it,” I said, holding my breath and keeping my eyes down as I swiped my debit card once again. This time, a receipt appeared, and waves of hot guilt mixed with cooling relief.
A rogue tear ran down my cheek as I made my way to the car. I was angry at myself; mad that I hadn’t been a good steward of our finances and that I’d let our budget slip through my fingers.
I didn’t start reading my new Bible right away. I was embarrassed, stubborn, and self-centered. But, God used my struggle to find peace in overspending to call me closer to Him. That bright pink book was the best purchase I’d ever made.
As I developed a daily habit of savoring Scripture, my eyes began to open to the aching emptiness inside of me. Slowly, through prayer, personal devotions, and advice from trusted friends, I began to rely on the Holy Spirit to fill the void in every area of my life, including my finances.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
I learned while earthly treasures may capture fragments of happiness like gold flakes in a sieve, God fills our inner void with true joy and peace as our faith grows.
How to Flourish in Finances During Deployment:
- Acknowledge your finances belong to God. Thank Him for his provision, ask for forgiveness if necessary, and pray for wisdom and discernment in this area of your life.
- Seek wise advice and counsel. Ask responsible friends, colleagues, and family members for a referral to a trusted financial advisor who can help you get back on track.
- Set a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goal. Decide to pay off a debt, save up for a family vacation, or boost your emergency funds.
- Create a plan. Write out the steps you need to take to reach your financial goal, and post them in a prominent spot.
- Surround yourself with people who will help you follow through with self-discipline. If you slip up every once and awhile, don’t let it derail you. Find solid accountability partners, and keep moving forward.
If you struggle with overspending as a way to fill the void during deployment, I assure you, you aren’t alone.
Consider the following verses and store them in your heart and mind.
Verses to Ponder:
Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. (Proverbs 13:18 ESV)
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor will he who loves wealth with his income; this is also vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 ESV)
Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and faithful provision. Please help us to seek wisdom and discernment as we learn to flourish in our finances during deployment and avoid overspending to stop up the emptiness we feel. Fill the void with your love, joy, peace, and hope. Amen.