Why do people get sick? A poor diet, lack of exercise, or underlying health problems are all likely causes. Stress can be devastating to your health, too. And what is one of the most prevalent sources of stress?
I spent the past twelve years helping people with severe debt - more debt than most people can imagine. My clients would come to me when they had exhausted all their options. My goal was to solve their financial difficulties. But I quickly found that in order to do so, I needed to snap them out of a deep, self-destructive funk. If I did not, they would just get sicker, and would not be able to help themselves.
These people were hurting; I could see that as soon as they walked through the door. Their debt had led to a decline in their physical health. This was made worse by the fact that, in their misery, they had stopped caring for themselves. They didn’t see friends, weren't eating right, and were often abusing themselves with alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. I noticed some even stopped brushing their teeth. They could barely get out of the house.
As a result, they became weak. They gained weight. They were despondent… unable to see a light at the end of this phase of their life journey.
The worst part was that there was a good chance this would not have happened had they only sought help sooner.
When you have unmanageable debt, the natural response is to shield yourself from blame. It’s too painful to accept that your own behavior led to this condition - and if you can’t admit it to yourself, how can you admit it to a stranger? That’s why people came to me when they had nowhere else to turn. Even then, they’d often come with excuses, blaming a business partner or an overspending spouse. Anyone but themselves.
This told me more than they could have realized. It told me they were struggling with relationships. Then, if I spoke to their spouse (which I often did), I would hear a different story. I would hear about months spent not talking about money - or maybe not talking at all. In many cases, lack of communication was the real problem.
When I figured out the root cause of a person’s problem, I’d offer solutions - and not just financial ones. I would tell them to make peace with whatever was hurting them. To treat a spouse better. To forgive an old grudge. At first, many thought this was unrelated. But when they followed this advice, they found that things improved dramatically.
So what should you do if you have debt? The first step is to talk to someone who can help, before the problem eats away at your health and your relationships. If you hold something inside, it will not go away on its own. It will only grow, and will touch other areas of your life.
Only when you bring something out into the open can you start to make peace. If you can’t pay off your debts, you can at least face them, and prevent further damage to your health and your spiritual wellbeing.