debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

Misplaced Faith


I’m thrilled to have Kirsten from Indebted and in Debt for a guest post today.  Kirsten writes on something I’ve been struggling with.  Faith that God will provide enough for me so that I can let go of my possessions and spend my time on pursuing the minimalist lifestyle I so badly desire.

Pardon the Mess

I don’t do well with messes. Clutter in my house makes my brain feel cluttered. I can’t think with messes around; I feel antsy, ill-at-ease, on edge. We did ok with controlling clutter until we had kiddo #1, but as the parents among the readers surely know, kids breed clutter. And they spread that clutter everywhere, no matter how much you attempt to stem the tide.

While I was on maternity leave with my second baby (just a few months ago), a friend shared an article on Facebook from a successful blogger who had written about taking away her children’s toys. She noticed an improvement in their behavior – they seemed more focused. And of course things were neater. Boy, that sounded nice.

Decluttering Machine

As I looked around my clutter-stricken house, where I was tripping over small toys (newborn in hand!) and cursing my eldest’s “junk”, I had an aha! moment (hi, Oprah!). I could also get rid of the bulk of her toys or, at the very least, put her toys in rotation.


One day worth of mess on maternity leave

I write a private blog for our families, since they live so far away, and I even went so far as to post there “stop sending toys” – said the kids wouldn’t get them. I even started collecting a few toys a day that were “junk” and tossing them. I started off strong.


Then I just sort of stopped…

Lack of Faith

The thing is, both my husband and I lived through some lean times as children. We remember doing without. We went off to college (borrowing our souls to do it) and planned for a better future for our children with our high-falutin’ degrees.

Now that we’ve burned through any sort of disposable money that we had, I think we are scared that we’ve reached the end, that there will be no more “stuff” and that our children will be left to do without like we did when we were children.

No, I didn’t have brand name clothes and I was often in ill-fitting hand-me-downs, but I always had clothes. I always had a roof over my head and never once were our utilities shut off. We ate fine. Mr. Indebted went through tighter spots, but even then, he was always OK.

In comparison, our kids have a roof, air conditioning and heat, plenty of food to eat, and through the generosity of family, nice clothes to wear. They do not lack for anything. Why am I so worried that they will?

I’ve come to realize that the problem isn’t the stuff we jam into the closets. The problem is in my soul.

God has provided for our needs in astounding fashion. But I lack the faith that God will continue to provide. I cling to those jeans because I’m scared they are the last pair of jeans I’ll ever own, never mind they don’t fit. I cling to my worn out running shoes just in case. I cling to my ratty sheets because I may never have another set.

An Exercise in Faith

God didn’t tell me He’d give me everything I ever wanted. But He has promised to take care of me and I realized I need to let Him. I realized I need to turn loose of “stuff” to make more room for Him in my heart and for Him to work wonders in my life.

I’ve started off slow. The first day, I chose one thing to say goodbye to (symbolically, a maternity / nursing dress). The next day, two. I’ve been going for a week now, and I gave up seven things today for a total of 28 things (which just happens to be my lucky number). And you know what? I feel lighter, less worried about tomorrow, and less cluttered in my closets, my brain, and in my soul.


There’s room to breathe. There’s room to let God work.

Do you feel cluttered where you live? Have you ever tried to declutter? If so, did you take baby steps, or just fly through the house?

Indebted-Moms-faithKirsten blogs semi-anonymously at, discussing her faith and family’s large student loan burden, which has cost her an opportunity at being a stay-at-home mom.  Kirsten is an actual rocket scientist who actually doesn’t know a lot of things people think rocket scientists should know. She loves lists, coffee, and NASCAR, but not necessarily in that order.


I had the highest traffic Monday when my guest post was published at Financial Samurai.  448 views baby!  OK, when I hear people talk about 20,000 views, this is nothing but it’s big for me and it’s my first so I’ll take it all day long!

I haven’t been doing blogger Carnivals lately but I had submitted to one (twice evidently – you’ll see the same post listed two times!) before I moved my blog to self-hosted and I guess it only runs once a month, even thought it’s listed as weekly in the Blogger Carnival site.  Consequently, I never got a pingback on this site, but happened to come across the Carnival and saw my post so I’m linking back here, which I understand is good carnival etiquette.

How to Blog Carnival – The Benefits of Cloud Software Edition

Do you enter blogger carnivals?  Why or why not?

This post has been linked up to
and of Friday Jet Fuel #7



Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

74 thoughts on “Misplaced Faith

  1. Hi Kirsten,

    i think you will see that as you let go of stuff, your life will seem simpler and less stressful. We downsized five years ago from a 2,800 sq ft., 3-car garage in California to a 950 sq. ft. townhouse in the Midwest. (Our four children are grown) You cannot imagine what we had to unload! And I don’t miss or need any of it. I sometimes stop at estate sales and then come home and tell my husband, “We are never doing that to our kids!”

    And kids just don’t need that many toys. I saw that with my own kids and now grandchildren. I like your new blog design!

    • Isabella ~ Thanks for stopping by! I am so looking forward to the day we will downsize. I need to start getting rid of our stuff to prepare for that day. Our four children are grown as well. I have one grandchild so far and from my experience raising kids and now with him, kids just want your time. That’s what Kirsten is trying to do and I commend her for it!

    • Glad you liked the new design :-) yeah, we have an actual playroom (aside from the junky basement area in the photo) packed with toys. My daughter does so much better when she only has one or two toys to pick from, so I agree – kids don’t need too many toys!
      Kirsten recently posted…Misplaced Faith – Head Over to Debt DebsMy Profile

  2. I can so relate to this post, Kirsten. I have struggled with “stuff” and clutter in my house for too long. I do good for a while and get rid of a lot of stuff, and it still seems to pile back up. One thing on my to-do list is to clean out my attic room to make a room for my daughter because she’s outgrown the small room she’s in now. It’s so daunting every time I open the door…but it has to be done. I need to start taking the baby steps…but I get overwhelmed. I know the end result will so be worth it…so what am I waiting for? ;) Glad to have some motivation from you today. Press on girl…and I’ll TRY to start pressing in with you. xoxo, mb
    Meredith Bernard recently posted…When You Can’t See Nothin’ For the Fog {Woman2Woman | Link-up}My Profile

    • I get overwhelmed like this too as well, Meredith. Sometimes, it’s just starting that is the problem. If you have a friend or sister you can trade tasks with, it can help to have a buddy tackling these types of projects. Good luck and God Bless and thanks for coming by and commenting. Is it too late to hook up for the W2W linkup?

  3. I am not a fan of faith in a higher power because I feel THAT is misplaced and often removes personal responsibility. But to each his own. Having faith in myself and gratitude for the support of those around me in my reality is what I find most effective.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Apple Stock: A Lesson In PatienceMy Profile

    • Some people do use faith as an excuse in every area. Like, oh, I’m just going to keep buying crap because The Lord will provide, but that’s not right at all. I think it’s usually a motivator for me. My faith motivates me to get out of debt, for example, instead of mindlessly accumulating more.
      Kirsten recently posted…Misplaced Faith – Head Over to Debt DebsMy Profile

  4. Decluttering is a constant battle at our house. I don’t know how the stuff makes it into the house but it does! With two little boys (ages 2 and 4) it’s easy to get behind and hard to get caught back up once you do!
    Tennille recently posted…Apps That Pay – Stop Throwing Away Your Receipts!My Profile

  5. It’s a battle here in the house between I and my wife because she is so sentimental. We always have an argument on which things of her and my kids we need to get rid of. How can I convince her that she needs to let go those unwanted things she’s keeping in our house?
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…What is the best way to invest $10,000My Profile

  6. I can definitely relate to this post, Kirstin. I cannot stand clutter either. And the grandparents have given the kids more than enough stuff. We literally don’t have to buy them anything in the toy dept. It takes a strong person to make a change. Way to go. And congrats on your guest post! That’s awesome.

  7. Clutter is the worse mental drain possible. It occupies your thoughts every time you stare at it. The trick is, if you can’t find a proper place for it, then get rid of it. Organization 101.

  8. I too found my life to be less stressful once I started to pare down what I owned. I first did it out of necessity when I was paying off debt, but I now choose to happily live with less stuff. It is always a work in progress for me because it’s easy to let a few things back into the house and before you know it you’re back to square one. I respect the fact that your faith plays a huge role in your life. Great to see a guest post from you Kirsten :)
    Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…Financial Fire Drill – Are You Ready?My Profile

  9. Excellent post. I struggle with clutter and no-clutter all the time. On the one hand, stuff is useful. On the other hand, the sheer quantity drives me insane. It always amazes me, though, how much stuff I can find to get rid of.
    My Dad figures that my grandma’s gigantic shoe collection was born out of only being able to have one pair during and shortly after the war, they were something that she felt she didn’t have (well, because she didn’t!) as a child and never wanted to feel that way again.
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…WTF Is PaleoMy Profile

  10. I think people who have felt deprived of something (for whatever reason) do become a little hoarder-like in their tendencies. It really takes some awareness of that issue to stop it!

  11. We used to believe that stuff brought us happiness but have actually found that our stuff to happiness relationship is an inverse relationship. It is amazing when you shift your mindset, how things fall into place.

    To answer the Carnival question, Deb, I did those for while when I first started and then realized I got no traffic from them and it took me a while just to put all of my information in there, plus I would have to remember to link to the Carnival after it was posted and some times I was better at remembering than others. I would rather participate in link ups, and always want to do the Femme Frugality one; however, Saturdays are usually my day away from the computer and I don’t always have the time to visit the other bloggers on the linkup.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Shameless Plug Sort OfMy Profile

    • I agree with the inverse relationship between things and happiness. When you don’t have so much stuff lying around, you are actually doing things that bring happiness.

  12. The more unnecessary stuff that I get rid of the more relaxed I feel. As I get rid of: negative thoughts, negative people, the stupid paper pile, too many clothes, shoes, dishes, and use up my product-the happier I am. There’s now room for cool things to come into my life and it’s awesome. You can do this thing! Just remember you are blessed and have an abundant life.
    Michelle recently posted…Why Do I Write About Personal Finance?My Profile

  13. I’m kind of agnostic so I throw the term God and Universe around interchangeably. I feel funny saying any higher power will provide for me, however, when it comes to the process of decluttering, I always feel freer and lighter in the world. It’s not so much that I’m waiting for new stuff to come in instead, but just being free of stuff that isn’t necessary and weighs you down. It’s a process though and at first it’s hard to let go, but then you get addicted to that feeling that you are not bound by “stuff.”
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Healthy Acts of DefianceMy Profile

    • That’s how I feel. Lighter and freer. I’m not waiting for God to bring me more (please! I don’t want any more!). But I do think the exercise here helped me to recognize that I have what I need. And them some. The “and then some” isn’t beneficial. It’s causing stress and doubt and worry. So, it’s very freeing to turn it loose.

  14. I like your plan to give away just a few things at a time. I totally identify with the cluttered home/cluttered mind–that’s exactly how I feel. I’m also guilty of keeping old ratty bedsheets since I don’t want to buy new ones! Thank you for sharing this.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Frugal Hound Sniffs: Free To PursueMy Profile

    • Ratty bed sheet twins! Yay!

      I think the baby steps are important because I really don’t gave time to do more. But setting a goal and knowing I was going to find seven things to give up today made it very doable.

  15. I love the idea of living more paired down! I like the idea of a rotation of kids toys, I currently don’t have kids but I don’t like the idea of toys filling every room in my house.
    Downstairs and in Debt recently posted…Millenial Cheque UsageMy Profile

    • We’ve had a hard time implementing the rotation. It’s work! And I have to do it while the oldest isn’t looking or else it’s all for naught :-)

  16. I have found having less stuff makes my life easier. Less decisions to make when getting dressed, less wash to do, less stuff to misplace. As we declutter I always see if I can sell any of the stuff to help pay down debt too.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Summer Job FailureMy Profile

  17. I can’t function in clutter either. I’m constantly weeding out things from our house. It’s interesting you post about toys though because lately we’ve been feeling like there are just too many toys but we’re not exactly sure where to start. I have thought about asking family not to get them toys for Christmas….
    Kara recently posted…My #1 Tip for a Stress Free MorningMy Profile

    • So on our family blog, I listed 30 non toy gift ideas. Bubbles, art supplies, clothes, books, passes to the children’s museum, etc. and I said NO toys.

  18. Great post, and I can totally relate! I have a 4 year-old and the amount of toys she had was astounding! Moving to Oregon a few weeks ago, caused me to have to downsize her collection. Luckily, she hasn’t missed most of it :)
    Mackenzie recently posted…All The Books… And Then SomeMy Profile

    • That is an excellent time to “lose” some toys. When we moved 2 years ago, we had a manageable amount of toys – one toy box. Now, I have four plastic bins, with three drawers each, the toy box is filled with stuffed animals, plus more in a plastic bin, plus we have about 10 new baby dolls. We might need to move ;-)

  19. I love the feeling of relief that I get when I de-clutter. There really is a sense of peace and freedom from a burden. For some reason, even though I know that de-cluttering is a good thing, it takes an awful lot of push to get me to actually do it. I don’t think it’s a fear of letting go of the things – I think it’s that I’m daunted by the organizational skills required to sort through clutter and make decisions about it all. When I actually do it, it’s not so daunting. It just seems that way beforehand. Our minds are certainly very tricky, stubborn things at times!
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Debt-Freedom = Freedom to do What You Love: Learning from my Co-op StudentsMy Profile

  20. Hey Kirsten, glad to see your posts around the web! I need to be better in this area, getting rid of stuff, decluttering, and stepping out on faith. I am glad that you feel a burden lifted from you when you made the decision!

    Deb – congrats on traffic! I hope you have many returning visitors to your website! I really have to thank Dividend Mantra for my traffic… I recently broke 1,200 cumulative referrals from his site… crazy! I would have basically no traffic without his support (and I have e-mailed him thanking him, because that is a big motivator to see traffic coming).
    Kipp recently posted…Why you should NOT Delay ParenthoodMy Profile

    • Thanks, Kipp and even though the rest was directed at Deb, whoa! Yeah, Dividend Mantra has been my number one referral source, too (although no where near that amount of traffic). And I barely ever comment there!

      • About 1/3 of those are from his blogroll, then the other 2/3 are from two weekend articles and then his Grand Rapids trip where he had mentioned that we had met up for lunch (and linked to my page). Some from comment clicks as well, but not that much really in comparison to those sources.
        Kipp recently posted…Why you should NOT Delay ParenthoodMy Profile

        • Okay so now first I had to figure out how you even look up that information, LOL. I’ll be honest with you, I love the traffic but my quest is to find evidence of non bloggers following my blog in the form of comments. That’s who I started out to reach with this blog and when I get confirmation of this you will hear a big WAAHOO!! :-D

  21. Love that you are bringing this topic up Kirsten! Whenever I think that God may not provide for me in the future, I force myself to look back and see what He has done for me in the past. That usually cures any misgivings and weak thoughts I have about this issue.
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted…How to Pass the CPA Exam On the First TryMy Profile

  22. That’s a great way of doing things, Brian. I do some positive self-talk on big things (but I seem to not do so great at the small things cluttering my house). For an example of a big thing, our house is on Zillow as a “make me move”, and we aren’t getting a lot of bites. I have to remind myself that we’ve sold two other houses very quickly when we needed to. He’s always stepped in to keep us from financial difficulties.

  23. Ahhhhh that feeling of letting stuff go. I alway think it is going to hurt but the feeling after it goes is awesome. (A bit like exercise maybe – put if off a bit but you feel great afterwards
    I can relate to this because I am about one crisis and two bad days away from becoming a full fledged hoarder sometimes. I have to purge all the time to stay on top of it. Not sure where all the “stuff” comes from but it keeps magically appearing. Thank you for the inspiring post, I need to go put some stuff in my donation bin now.
    May recently posted…Financial SchadenfreudeMy Profile

    • Yes, I know I’ll feel great afterwards and even get one area done, hopefully it will spillover! I’m good now about not bringing new stuff in. The Irishman says we better start now to purge everything so we’re ready to sell in 4 or 5 years. I think if I approach it like I’m getting ready to sell very soon, it will go much better. Good luck with your challenge, May!

    • I actually snort-laughed at “one crisis and two bad days away from becoming a full fledged hoarder sometimes”. Maybe cause that’s me?

  24. I too hold onto clothes that no longer fit and items that no longer have a use. Decluttering the home is good for feeling more at ease with everything I think! Interesting how this post is faith related as up until recently, I wasn’t religious, but lately I’m finding that I want to understand and know more about God. Today has been one of those days in fact.

    Debs, congrats on the traffic! I’ll be sure to check out your guest post now!
    Hayley @ Disease Called Debt recently posted…I’ve Just Had My First Real Spending Splurge in 20 MonthsMy Profile

    • So nice to hear, Hayley. My faith has waxed and waned over the years but generally grows stronger. Sometimes I am like the apostle Thomas (doubting Thomas) but sometimes I am like Apostle Paul (not so much persecuting but ignoring) who later became one of Jesus’s strongest supporters. One thing I do know is that no matter how flippant or flakey I am, I know God is always there to turn to, and has brought me much comfort in my lows and joy in highs.

      • Well said, Deb! I have good days and bad days with my faith, too. But I always keep coming back to God, and I like to think I’m a little stronger each time.

  25. I definitely feel like I have too much clutter in my house. I think one thing that is tough is not having good storage. Having a lot of stuff isn’t a bad thing, as long as everything has it’s place. At the same time I’m a Christian and I totally see where you are coming from. It’s so much easier to be secure in your house and possessions than to be secure in your faith and God’s willingness to provide.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How to Make Money Entering GiveawaysMy Profile

  26. AWESOME post, Kirsten. I used to be in this same place, having lived a similar childhood, and have slowly dug my way out by studying the Word immensely. God is indeed an awesome God and He loves us more than we could ever manage to love ourselves. :-)
    Laurie @wellkeptwallet recently posted…MORE Back to School Savings!My Profile

    • Well put, Laurie. When I am not loving myself I stop and think and pray to God and it’s like he’s sitting beside me and putting his arms around me and giving me a big hug.

  27. The interesting point I got from your post is that you are excited by the ‘small’ number of 448 comments on your guest post compared with other bloggers. That used to be my biggest issue – comparing myself with others and this resulted in my being sad even when I had achieved something big. I have, for the most part, moved on and now just enjoy my successes. There will always be somebody bigger and better than me, but the interesting thing is that the bigger person has his/her own hang ups. Thanks for reminding me that I have to be happy with my achievements without comparing [even though this was not your message :)]
    Zambian Lady recently posted…Food restaurantMy Profile

    • Definitely, don’t put yourself down by comparing to others. That’s Joneses thinking. I’m glad you got something out of it, Zambian Lady! Thanks for dropping in!

  28. Kirsten, I think it’s awesome that you have decided to let go of a few things. I have that same mentality sometimes – “what if.” But in the year I’ve been living on my own, nothing has happened. I have everything I need, and then some. Truthfully, I still have guilt over the presents my parents purchased for me. They were in debt for most of my life, and I remember some Christmases going by where there wasn’t much under the tree. But they still got me stuff, and I feel incredibly selfish because of that. I’m sure your kids will grow up remembering all the love you gave them versus the toys. I know I do.
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…A Reintroduction of SortsMy Profile

    • So true Erin, but don’t feel selfish. They did what they thought was right and did the best they could. You have such a great relationship with your parents and care for them so much which is awesome. I’m very fortunate to have kids like you. You are a blessing to your parents.

  29. I’ve been working on decluttering now, and it’s difficult. And I can definitely relate to what you’re saying. I remember (like Erin) some of the gifts I received as a child and I feel guilty that my parents spent any money on them knowing how poor we actually were now. Even if the gifts weren’t much, I know now that they were trying and the thought and love was there. That matters more than they toys.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…do the math: energy vampiresMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing that, Ryan! But like I told, Erin, don’t feel guilty. The best homage you can pay your parents is taking what was great about how they raised you and adding your own learnings to the process. Every parent knows they are not perfect but it brings great joy when their kids mimic what they did well and correct what they did wrong. After all, we only want what’s best for our kids.

  30. Ahhh, speaking my language, here Kirsten! I have always loved moving stuff along…toys, clothes, etc. And the PAPER on the kitchen counter – yikes. There is always more we can give away – it’s amazing! We truly don’t know HOW much we really have – which is why knowledge of those with less is so important – perspective! But..more than the stuff…I want to TRUST HIM. He always provides, and we are all still blogging about trust. Praise Him for His grace and patience. :)
    Ginger recently posted…One Thing I Must Ask of The LordMy Profile

    • Thank you, Ginger, for sharing your thoughts. I always think that God has a sense of humour, and even if no one else does, I know he loves mine. So when I start relying too much on me and not enough on him, I tease him in my prayers saying that I’m a slow learner and to send me more reminders.

  31. I have never heard of a blog carnival. There’s always something isn’t there! I have never thought about de-cluttering as a faith issue, but it totally makes sense in your post. Whether it is with de-cluttering and giving things away, or simply trusting God with our needs, we often battle a “scarcity” mind-set. So enjoyed your post today!
    Ginger Harrington recently posted…Letting Them Go: Faith Prayers for our ChildrenMy Profile

    • Two faith based Ginger’s in a row, commenting on my blog! How delightful! Thank you so much for visiting. I think once my debt is gone I will be able to give up the scarcity mind set, but why can’t I do that now? I’m following a plan which I think is supported by God, so why can’t I relax about it and give up some of my junk? I think I need to push myself a bit more, and with every item I’m going to ask God, keep or give away? LOL

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  33. I’m naturally fairly lightweight on “stuff,” though I definitely cling to certain things. (I have one pair of pants I have literally never been able to wear — I bought them at my lowest ever adult weight, and even then they were just slightly too small. This was at least 8 years ago and there they are in my closet, waiting for me to mysteriously take off ten pounds. They are super cute pants, though. Sigh.)

    BUT it is very hard with kids. My bff hates clutter and stuff, but with a nearly 4 year old it is a constant struggle because family and friends keep sending things. They live far away and want to express their love, I get it. But then I also feel like the fact that I’m *not* sending things (partly because I’m broke and partly because I know how much it stresses out my friend) will hurt my relationship with my goddaughter. I don’t let this fear run my life, but it’s definitely there.
    Cecilia@thesingledollar recently posted…and one moreMy Profile

    • I find most new parents are happy with any donation to a kid’s college fund. I know money is tight, but if you want to give something, even $10 would probably mean a lot to your friend, as I assume she knows your financial situation.

      Time to get rid of those pants, GF! Can you sell them?

  34. Excellent post. When we rest in God, it means we trust Him to take care of us, because he is the Author of the universe, he is unlimited in His ability to provide. In fact, that is one of His Names: ‘Jehovah Jireh’ (I AM PROVISION) as He revealed in the Bible.
    M recently posted…Emotions and MoneyMy Profile

  35. Thanks a lot Kirsten for your thoughtful and awesome post! You rock!! Back at ya, gf, in September. :-)

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