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As many of you know, I’m a follower of Christ. That means I choose Jesus every day. I choose to live for Him, praise Him, and share His truth with others.
Everyone’s relationship with Jesus looks a little different. We all have our own way of connecting with Him, and praising Him. For me, that has always been through prayer. I’ve always felt comfortable talking to God. To me, it’s always just felt like I was talking to a friend. If you could hear my dialogue with God, it’d sound a lot like how I talk to everyone else in my life. I think that’s how it should be too. I feel, too often, that people think praying has to be this cordial conversation with God, but it doesn’t have to be.
I’ve always been big on praying in the car. For some reason, whenever I drive, I feel the closest to God. I recall many times I’ve driven two or three hours alone and just talked to God the whole time.
So, I find it ironic that the opportunity God placed in my lap nine months ago was Uber. I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned this on my blog yet, but I drive for Uber and Lyft. It started as a way to make extra money to help with bills, but now I drive every single day, and it’s become the dominant form of my income.
The Backstory Before THE Story
I would say my terrible money habits started when I got my first job. I was eighteen, had never had my own source of income, and had nothing I was responsible for. I didn’t have to pay rent (I lived at home), I didn’t have any credit cards (yet), and no car payment. So, I was debt-free, and reckless.
It was around this time that I had the not-so-brilliant idea to sign up for a credit card. Long story short, one turned into four, and I excused each one with perks and cash-back. (Spoiler alert: they’re not worth it.) The worst part was that I didn’t even need them. It’s not like I needed the cushion.
So, here I am, five years later, and just NOW getting it all together. Or at least, attempting to. I’ve racked up a lot of credit card debt, borrowed money from family and friends, and gotten myself in over in my head more times than I can count. You see, I work a lot and make a decent amount of money, but I’m careless with it. I’ve learned the hard way what not to do with money.
Dave Ramsey Who?
I spend a lot of time alone in my car these days. My summer has been seven days a week (most weeks) of me working my other job for six hours, then driving for Uber and Lyft until midnight. It’s just as exhausting as it sounds too. So why do I do it then?
Well. Back in March I read Dave Ramsey’s book, “The Total Money Makeover.” If you haven’t read it, I highly encourage you to. In it, Dave discusses all his knowledge on saving, paying off debt, and taking control of your financial life.
After I read it, I was determined to work harder than ever to pay off my debt. But guess what happened? While I was working more, I was still spending more than I should on things I didn’t need. I was even surprised when, at the end of the month, I was short on money for bills.
Trust me, that gets old REALLY fast.
How God Stepped Into This Mess
I kind of re-commited to this whole “money management” thing, and actually meant it this time. I couldn’t have done it alone though. Remember how I mentioned I was big on prayer? Well, after countless times of me asking God to magically drop a few thousand dollars into my lap to jumpstart my process, I re-realized that God doesn’t just hand us things. Don’t get me wrong, we are sons and daughters of a GENEROUS Father, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to work for anything.
So, I now pray every single time before I drive for Uber and Lyft. I thank God after every single ride I get, and I praise Him because while I work hard for the money I earn, He also provides those opportunities for me.
I’ve shared a couple stories here and there on the faithfulness I’ve experienced from God in the past couple months in driving on my Instagram, but I wanted to share those plus the rest here today. I think it’s important to share how God moves in our lives, in the almost “impossible” every-day miracles we experience. Sometimes that’s what reminds us what a big and powerful God we have, and the impact prayer has on our lives.
- A month and a half ago, I was getting gas. Now, keep in mind that in order to be able to make money with Uber and Lyft, I obviously have to put gas in my car. I recall, that night in specific, I had less than $20 in my account. I asked the attendant to put $5 in.
Once it was done, he came over and told me that the man getting gas on the other side of the station gave the attendant $10 to put in my car. I don’t know if he’d heard how much I asked for, or if he just felt compelled to be generous, but it felt like a nudge from God telling me he wouldn’t let me down.
- I think we often times forget to pray specific prayers. I hate over-used Christian terms, but I’m using this one: we often times put God in a box. I’m guilty of this, thinking that God couldn’t possibly answer our biggest prayers. WRONG.
This story took place a little less than a month ago. Like I said, all I’ve done this summer is work long hours, almost every day. I remember this day in specific because I was truly burnt out. I had gone two weeks straight working 12-hour days, and I’d had no time for myself. This meant I wasn’t writing blog posts, I wasn’t reading out of enjoyment, etc.
Sometimes when I drive I set a goal for myself. That day in particular, I had set a goal to make $60. I’d either make the $60 first or wait until midnight and go home. Usually, it’s the latter. I signed on that night, and the very first ride I got was to drive someone to and from Lebanon (for those of you who don’t live in Corvallis, it’s about a 30 minute drive there), and I made $63 exactly in one hour. That meant I was able to go home that night, write the blog post I’d been wanting to write, and go to bed early for once. God knew I was tired, and took care of me.
- This story and the next kind of go hand-in-hand. These both occurred within three days of each other this past week. I needed $200. Why I needed it isn’t important to the story, but I needed it by this last Thursday.
The Monday before this “due date,” I was working at my other job. I got a text from a number I didn’t have saved. It was from a passenger who’d thought they left their wallet in my car. I checked and found it under the passenger’s seat. I made sure nothing had fallen out and then I met them in the parking lot of a Winco.
I went up to him, handed him his wallet, and before I could walk away, he said, “please accept this.” It was dark so when I looked down I couldn’t quite make out what it was. I then realized it was a $100 bill. I insisted it was too much, but he wouldn’t budge. I thanked him reverently and we said goodbye. That was exactly half of what I’d needed.
- The next day was very slow for driving. I was discouraged and worried I wouldn’t make my deadline on Thursday. I went home that night frustrated. The next day though (Wednesday), I signed on to drive after getting off work at my other job, and prayed specifically that I’d make the other $100 (which usually doesn’t happen unless you drive a full 12-hour day). I feebly prayed that God would give me a trip to Portland, which pays well, but doubted He could make it happen.
If you’ve never heard this before, God is humorous. He really is.
That same day, not even an hour into driving, I got a Lyft request to take someone up to Portland. The ride was $110.
What’s ironic is that I didn’t even think that was something God could do for me. It was simply a thought in my head I figured would be too big a prayer to ask for. Even after the many times God has proven to be unexpected and giving, I still doubted it could happen.
A week ago, a friend asked how she could be praying for me. I told her I was stressed financially. She then later messaged me and reminded me of the verse Matthew 6:26-34 that says, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
I feel called to share about my financial struggles because I’ve struggled a lot. I finally feel like I’m getting back on my feet, but I couldn’t do it without prayer. I couldn’t do it without trusting that God provides time and time again. God is a generous Father who gives abundantly more than we could ask for. Again, this doesn’t mean I can just sit around and do nothing. I still have to work hard, but if you’re willing to work for what you ask God for, He will surprise you in ways you couldn’t have imagined.
I hope this serves as encouragement to some of you. For me, prayer feels second nature, but I know for a lot of people, it’s hard. If that’s you, I encourage you to pay attention to how often you’re talking to God, both in the good and the bad. Know you’re never alone in your struggles even if it seems you are. God is redeeming my poor financial choices, and He can redeem your situation, whether yours also happens to be financial or not.
As always, thanks for reading.
Yours truly, Clare