There are two car stories that have been so significant to my family’s financial life I want to tell them both upfront. The first of those stories is here. The next post will tell the second, so stay tuned.
I was young, in college, engaged to my sweetheart, and driving what I thought was a super cool car. I had NO business owning this car and really the credit union who gave me the loan for it had NO business doing so either. But, regardless, here I was.
It was beginning to get cold in Oklahoma, and I was planning to take a foreign mission trip the upcoming summer. The group I was going with began to talk about fundraising and as I pondered the idea, I grew increasingly uncomfortable. In general, I am in favor of individuals raising money to go on mission trips. But in my current situation, my heart was pricked. I knew I was struggling to make payments every month for a car that was far above my means. By common standards, the payments were actually quite low, but they were more than I could afford on my income and it was definitely more car than was wise for me to have. How could I ask for other people to give me money when I was spending mine on this car?
After much prayer and contemplation, I approached my fiance with my predicament. In what was one of the hardest conversations of my young life, I told him that I needed – that I thought maybe God was asking me – to sell my car. I cried and cried. You would have thought it was a real crisis. Even as a young guy, he was wise and told me he thought it was a good decision and that he was really proud of me. So, that settled it. I set about trying to sell the car, with his help.
A sweet couple approached us wanting to purchase the car. The craziest thing is, believe it or not, God had been working on their hearts as well. Turns out that at around the same time He was asking me to sell my car, they said He was asking them to give their car away! Yep, it’s true. And, I was the recipient.
I was ecstatic! It was a mid-90’s model Mitsubishi Eclipse with no automatic anything, including no power steering. It was a manual 5-speed (if you’re under 25, ask someone in their 30’s or 40’s to explain this term to you) and did not have a single cup holder. And I LOVED that car! I drove it until it literally blew up on the highway and had to be towed away and sold for parts.
No power steering: Sometimes, probably much of the time, doing the right and wise thing is not only a hard decision to make, but it can be difficult to maintain. Like driving a stick shift with no power steering. But, you know what? It makes you stronger. In so many facets of our lives, including our finances, the best path is often a challenging path. My husband joked that my biceps were bigger than his when I was driving that car. Ha! (They weren’t, by the way!)