Dave Ramsey, Financial Freedom & Gazelle Intensity

Last year, I had a wonderful encounter with a friend on Etsy who saw Hint's gazelle charm as the perfect way to inspire her journey to financial freedom. When my friend shared her story with me, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Dave Ramsey, radio host and financial author with a Christian perspective, has adopted the gazelle as a symbol for getting out of debt.

Dave Ramsey calls it "gazelle intensity" and developed the phrase from a biblical passage in Proverbs 6:4-5 "Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler."

It's pure ancient poetry and not new information if your truly in touch with your instincts, for when you're in over your head, drowning in personal debt you've got to work with extra intensity like the bobbing and weaving action of a gazelle to escape the claws of a cheetah. In Dave Ramsey's metaphor, the cheetah represents the endless parade of offers by credit companies, and you are the gazelle refusing to get into the game of financial deception. The first step in the Gazelle Challenge is to cut up your credit cards. Now that's intense!!

After I paid off a spate of credit card debt acquired during my thirties, I did cut up my credit cards and relied completely on my checking account and cash on hand for a couple years. I have to say there was a lot of peace during this time in my life when I abandoned the idea of credit, so his Gazelle Challenge has piqued my interest for the year ahead.

I haven't read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness but am putting it on my list for 2011, for I just love the idea that there are a bunch of people running like gazelles out there seeking financial freedom for themselves and their families. Perhaps the more we all come to healthier relationship with money, then collectively we could have effect on the bigger picture -- the governance of money in city, state and country.


  1. So very true. With a bit of determination and a set of coincidences and opportunities, we were able to pay off all of our debt (school loans, credit cards, etc) 15 years ago. We've never looked back at our decision to do without if we couldn't pay for it now. Along with that decision came a shift in our life view that we didn't anticipate. Slowly, we began to value relationship and community much more than things. I believe that you are right that collectively if we had a healthier relationship with money that it has potential to be world changining.

  2. This is good food for thought, Beth. I am trying to disentangle myself from some things. I like the idea of bobbing and weaving and finding the surest path to successfully escaping that path. I will give this more thought. You always provoke me (in a good way , of course ;-)
    Enjoy the day!

  3. Not only did taking Dave's FPU class with my husband seriously change our lives, but we now attend the church that hosted the class...we fell in love with the people there! We paid off our vehicle 8 months early, the house is paid off now and we are working on one of our last cards! LOVE the charm! Great reminder to have with you!


  4. Leslie and LeAnn, you two women have really inspired me today with your stories. THANK YOU!! I'm not sure why I drag my heals on this issue when really its probably very simple. Blessings to you both for sharing your stories here and helping me to see what the possibilities might be.

    Erin, I'd love to bob and weave down this path with you! I hope you find something here that helps :)

  5. Great post, Beth! I live on a cash basis, except for air tickets. Being self employed, this allows me to sleep peacefully at night as well as giving me a feeling of freedom - with nothing hanging over my head. Love the gazelle connection.

  6. My husband and I just finished Financial Peace University in October. Cutting up those credit cards reallllly hurt! But I know this is the right path for us to take. I love your little pendant.

  7. Leslie, great to connect over this and it encourages me to hear you experience peace and freedom on the cash system!

    Darlene, how cool to hear about another person cutting up their credit cards! Congrats on taking the leap :)


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