When you think of money or finances, is your stomach in knots? Is the upcoming holiday season starting to stress you out? What about the current financial crisis? Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are you constantly fretting layoffs or “restructuring”?
Finances can be a very anxious experience for many, even those who are well off. Managing money can be very stressful. Many couples that divorce in the US do so because of problems with money. It’s an incredibly serious issue in people’s lives.
Can you find peace in stressful financial situations? Can finances really become a place of peace and rest, or must they always be feared and anxiety-provoking?
When it comes to our financial economy, our country is in serious trouble. Consumer debt is at an all time high. Credit companies have made it so easy to “buy now and pay later”. For one small monthly fee, you can have whatever you want. How many of those “small monthly fees” do you have?
This credit-driven lifestyle has made it too easy to spend more than we make. I recently read a statistic on consumer spending in America. Through most of the 1900’s, people spent on average about 30% less than what they made. That means people were saving money. Today, the average American spends more than they earn. That means nothing is being saved. Nothing is put away for unforeseen circumstances.
I can see why financial anxiety is rampant these days. The loss of a job, an emergency house repair, the car breaks down, again–all can be terribly stressful when it comes finances.
So, is there hope? Can you be free from financial anxiety? I shout a hearty YES. You can be free. But, it may take time and serious discipline. It probably took you years to get where you are now. For many, it’ll take years to dig yourself out of the financial pit. But, here’s the beautiful thing–God is faithful and he cares for you, even your finances.
Today, my wife and I live in financial freedom. And it’s not because we have lots of money. On the contrary, we live very modestly. As a freelance producer, our finances ebb and flow depending on projects. Our financial freedom is a result of solid money management skills and the discipline to live by those skills.
We live on a budget, we no longer use credit cards, we only buy used cars, and at the end of each month, we have money left over. Amazingly, we don’t feel at all constricted by this lifestyle. Quite the opposite. This lifestyle has given us incredible freedom.
“But you don’t know where we are. We’ve maxed out our credit cards? My husband lost his job. These medical bills keep getting higher and higher. We can barely get by.”
Here’s the most important message I learned about finances: it’s not a matter of how much or how little you make; it’s a matter of your heart. Financial freedom starts in your heart. Listen to what Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be” (Matthew 6:21).
Where is your treasure? A new car, a big house, a pair of jeans, your 401K? Or, is your treasure in your family, your peace, or God? You see, where you put your money is where your heart is. Your money always follows your heart. So, make sure your heart is right when it comes to finances.
When my wife and I first got married, we were in debt. I was into new cars, new stereo equipment, new things. So when I prayed for financial freedom, I expected God to deposit a big sum of money into my account. What he did, though, was deposit incredible financial wisdom into my heart. You see, financial freedom starts in your heart.
If you’re struggling with finances, I want to encourage you that you can be free from financial anxiety. God desires to help you, first with your heart and then with your finances. I have seen God move in amazing ways when it comes to finances, both in my life and in the lives of those we have counseled. There are great resources to help you in this journey towards financial freedom. Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial are two great resources to get started.
Prayer: Father, I need your help with finances. Financial anxiety is consuming me. I’ve made some bad money decisions in the past, and the financial consequences are overwhelming. First, change my heart. Then, give me a strategy to get my finances under control. Help me start down the road to financial freedom.