photo credit: mhaithaca via photopin cc
edits: Shelly Tiffin
Why is it when you find yourself alone in a car for hours your mind takes you on journeys that are only as good as the ones you can get from time spent with a good therapist? Seriously! Spend some time alone on the road with no radio, pray that God would use the time to reveal things you need to hear, and let your mind go free.
I was doing this on the car ride up to Hume Lake a couple of weeks ago (6/2012) and God took me on an adventure that had almost as many twists and turns as the highway up the mountain that I was driving. It seemed like each new place God took me led back to one thing: our journey with Dave Ramsey. The adventure God has taken us on financially over the last three and a half years has been a fantastic one. To do the story justice will require more than what I want to focus on right now, but be sure they will show up in future posts.
Anyone who has heard of Dave knows he has a few catch phrases. My husband has adopted one of them. When people ask him “So, how are you doing?” my husband’s reply for the last three and half years, and continues to be, is “better than I deserve!”
Most people, including those who’ve never heard of Dave, agree with this statement. Responses like “Boy, isn’t that the truth!” and “Well, isn’t that right!” are common. However, it’s also a great conversation starter. It often takes the formality of saying hello, yet wanting to keep a “weather” level only conversation, and it breaks through to something deeper. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I have had to share what God has done with complete strangers.
On the other hand, if people know Dave, they say so. “Oh, you’re a Dave Ramsey guy. We listen to him too. Let me tell you…” Sharing testimonies with complete strangers about how God has transformed lives through finances is powerful stuff and in an instant we are strangers no more. It’s like finding out you’re both members of an exclusive club or that you’re related in some way. All walls are broken down.
To be honest though, the phrase got old real quick. As it replaced the typical response of “fine” in conversations, it only took three or four times before I realized it wasn’t going anywhere, and I was already over it. But fast forward three and half years later and the phrase that annoyed me so much has now really grown on me. It’s like a Thanksgiving dinner: there are as many meanings to the phrase as there are types of food on the table, the people involved make a lasting impact on my life, I am reminded of how thankful I should be, and reflecting on each moment of the journey is just as sweet and satisfying as that last bite of pumpkin pie before the afternoon nap.
“Better than I deserve” reminds me that a few years ago we were drowning in debt and about to lose our home, but after the Lord led us to Dave, and after sticking with Dave’s plan, we have peace in our finances (and we are debt free). The new house and new higher paying job for Kyle pale in comparison to what it is like to have peace about money. We truly are living better than we deserve. And although the Lord has honored our desire to put Him first in our finances, we did nothing to deserve it.
It reminds me that I have a husband who loves the Lord above all else. He loves me unconditionally and sharpens me like iron as we walk this life together. We have two beautiful and healthy girls who love the Lord as well. I have parents, grandparents, and all kinds of extended family who love and support me. I didn’t do anything to deserve them either.
And last, but by far the greatest, it reminds me that I am a sinner who deserves death but (and a very big but) Jesus died in my place so that I could live. I certainly didn’t deserve the sacrifice of God’s one and only son. When you compare any circumstances of life to that, how does your perspective not change?
So, the phrase that once made me roll my eyes and turn a deaf ear now makes me tune in for the perspective shift I need. Each time I hear it God speaks in the moment, but over the years He has used it to guide my attitude and to remind me of all He has accomplished in my life.
I am truly thankful that I live a life far “better than I deserve.”
Whether this is the first time you’ve heard it or you know it like I do, what does this phrase mean to you?