Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The first step to breaking the cycle of debt

In a talk given at the April 4, 2009 General Conference of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Robert D. Hales counseled members to break the cycle of debt and other uncontrolled wants. This is good advice for all, whether members or not of the Church. Elder Hales said, "Learn to say, 'We can't afford it, even though we want it.' Or, 'We can afford it, but we don't need it.' "

Provident living is about separating those things we need and can afford from those we don't need and can't afford. Don't be too anxious to put something into the category of a "need," For most, especially those living in the United States, we can usually save and live on less. The trick is living on less in good times, not just in bad times. As Elder Hales said, "Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality. Let me assure you that your situation is not beyond the reach of our Savior. Each temptation we overcome strengthens us, not destroys us. The Lord will never allow us to suffer beyond what we can endure."

The first step in breaking the cycle of any addiction, including the cycle of debt, is to recognize that we have a problem that needs to be solved and then immediately beginning to focus on the things we do that lead us to the unwanted behavior. We cannot do this alone, again quoting from Elder Hales, "Our success is never measured by how strongly we are tempted, but by how faithfully we respond. We must ask for help from our Heavenly Father and seek strength through the atonement of his Son, Jesus Christ. In both temporal and spiritual things, obtaining this divine assistance enables us to become provident providers for ourselves and for others."

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