What’s Up Wednesdays (On a Friday): The Realest Stuff I Ever Wrote

Please pardon the interruption, but I feel the need to blog today. Can you believe it? Right, neither can I. This may be a more personal post that usual, because I am putting myself on display. This weekend my family is moving into a different place. It is a larger rental property that is a better fit for my family. Yes, me, a 30-something man with a large family is not a homeowner. Really, not even close. Why? In my earlier days, I did not realize the true power of credit and used it as a means to get what I had not earned. In my latter years, I used it to keep our family afloat in the midst of a slew of issues related to me choosing to quit a full time job and pursue a different career. The end result is credit that is almost home buying worthy, yet so far away still.

We spent the last 8 months trying everything that we could to get into a house, especially considering that the 2 bedroom duplex we were currently residing in just became too cramped. We prayed so hard for some kind of credit miracle, but what we discovered harshly was that while God has forgiven us for making so many financial mistakes regarding stewardship, credit bureaus and bill collectors don’t forgive. To them, we are a number, a poor number. Even with credit resolution companies, very little can be done. Shady credit sharks sue to collect payments on the smallest debt, creating massive, fee-laden anchors. To them, we are irresponsible, even as our recent years have been very purposefully good…even great. To them, we are nothing but people who look to take advantage of something “freely given”. Now, this is not sour grapes because of the system. It is what it is, but I can’t help wondering how many others out there are like me- a guy trying to do the best job that he can for his family, trying to dig out of a hole that keeps getting the bottom dropped out of it.

We did it to ourselves. It is easy to kill credit, but the system has structured it so that it is akin to climbing Everest in order to clean it up. I just don’t think it should be that way. For those who are honestly and sincerely trying to right the wrongs of their past, there is no grace.

Personally, this has lead to copious amounts of self doubt and loathing. I’ve felt for so long like I let my family down, that my mistakes continue to return like a vengeful ghost and keep us from achieving what my wife and kids so fully deserve. Recently, I have come to a new thought process. It is possible that my self loathing comes into play only when I look at myself in the light of classmates I consider to be very successful. These are classmates who own houses, have thriving families, and great jobs. In my eyes, they are rich. In a word, I was comparing myself; basing my success against what I consider to be true riches. Even as a 34 year old man, I’m still being educated. Lifelong learner? Somebody tattoo that across the wrinkles of my brain, thought that would probably hurt…a BUNCH!

In truth, what is success? I must define my own, even as others must do the same. I have a wife and 4 beautiful children. I work in a field where all of my creative, dramatic angst can come out and play. Most of all, we are striving for better. We aren’t content to rest in the messes of our pasts. We want more. We are trusting God to give us wisdom to move ahead, to climb up. In doing all of this, I understand that I have to let go of my failures, and forgive myself as well. I can’t keep up with the Joneses. I’ve got to make a way for the Belts.

So, while I will always believe that the credit system needs an overhaul, that people are more than credit numbers calculated by FICO and whoever else puts out those notices and alerts, I’ll just do my best until our scores rise to where we need them to be. Believe one thing though, the Belt family will be homeowners in the future.

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