I must admit that from time to time I become quite discouraged by the vast student debt that Matt and I carry. In many ways it has been a blessing because if we had no debt, Matt and I would have a ridiculous income and probably waste a good part of it and develop selfish financial habits etc. Instead, we have spent the last two years of our marriage figuring out how to budget, how to compromise, how to live simply and frugally without giving up on having fun, and we have been challenged to figure out how to fit generosity in there too. It’s still a work in progress.

But sometimes it is sucky that no matter how greatly we succeed each month, there are still tens of thousands of dollars waiting to be paid off. I will admit that this week I started praying for God to forgive my debts (instead of trespasses) in the Lord’s Prayer. It is easy to become discouraged when I think of all the choices that would open to Matt and I without debt.But maybe that is a blessing as well, that we are limited in dreaming up distractions from what God has called us to. I was encouraged by Peter’s exhortation in 1 Peter 2, for servants to serve their masters well no matter how they are treated. What on earth is the connection? A pastor who preached on this text pointed out that servants were a middle class of people between slaves and free people. They might be people who had become heavily indebted and pledged themselves as servants to pay off their debt. It was a good reminder just to do what we have to do well to pay off our debt.

So that struck a chord with me, and then the pastor also referenced 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul tells people to live the life God has called them to, not seeking to change their status (circumcised/uncircumcised, married/single, slave/free), saying only that if a slave has an opportunity to have freedom they should take it.

So today I have a little more peace about this debt that God has not yet felt the need to remove from our lives. We are doing what we can to get rid of it, and in many ways it has shaped us and our marriage in helpful ways, although I have sometimes leaned close to idolizing paying it off. But I am finding freedom from constantly spiritualizing the simple reality that we have great big student loans – it is part of life but it doesn’t need to define us. We are working towards “freedom” from debt, but our situation is not like living in that hole in the picture! In all reality we are free —

We eat, we laugh, we worship, we play, we share and we love.

There is no reason in light of all that to think that a bunch of numbers on paper somehow mean we aren’t.

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