Updated: May 9, 2020
Most likely you, like me, are not a millionaire or trust fund baby to the point that you don’t have to work for a living. Even if that isn’t your situation, humor me and keep reading anyway.
One of the hardest areas to fully entrust to God is: MONEY! Our dollars have a strong (sometimes deadly) hold on our minds. We love God. That’s not the question here. But when we look at our paycheck, or lack thereof in my case, panic can quickly set in. While in the grocery store, you begin to question how important food really is that week. [Seriously, why is meat so expensive any way?!] Sometimes you go to bed early, just as a way to save on the light bill. Sounds funny when you read it or say it out loud, but I’m the first to admit, the thought of money can be stressful. So stressful that it takes our focus off of God.
“No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and money.” – Jesus (Matthew 6:24)
How can money be my master if I don’t have any?
This was my question. And it honestly might be yours too. How can we be controlled by what we don’t feel we have? Answer: Even if we don’t see an abundance of dollars in our bank accounts, we can be controlled by the thought of what we don’t have.
Scripture tells us to be content with plenty and in want (1 Timothy 6:6). God isn’t so much concerned with our amount of money, but more so our hearts in relation to money. Instead of the thought/worry/burden of money plaguing our lives, we have to get intentional and take control of how we interact with money. Before that voice in your head says “I ain’t got no money to control”, hear me out. For those that work and get a paycheck for it, then that’s your money to control. No matter how much or how little, you are able to show it who the boss is after God.
In order to do that, we have to get intentional. A coach that stays in the locker room during the game and doesn’t review game film is a terrible coach. We have to get active and tell the team (our money) what to do! Get intentional. Nowhere have I found in Scripture that trusting God meant repeating bad habits and hoping He saves us from the consequences. Rather, trust really means we’ll live in a way that will honor Him in current circumstances, believing He can sustain us through anything.
I encourage you take your worries to God and cast your cares on to Him because He really does care. There are some other things you can do to become more intentional with your finances and take back your authority over it.
“Umm, Lysha, shouldn’t God just give me more money so things can be more comfortable?” Comfortable is not the right c-word God is looking for. Our Heavenly Father, being the good good Father He is, desires for us to be content. Easy to write and say, so darn hard to live out. And in your mind, you just now listed several reasons why. But learning to be satisfied is the best thing you can do for your finances. Always wanting more is what leads to feeling like we have less, so we spend more, then wonder why we still have less. It’s a crazy cycle! One I had repeated for a long time before I actually took my finances to God and had Him help me learn how to be content with what I had.
Ask God to let you know why it’s hard for you to be content. If we have food and covering (1 Timothy 6:8) we should be content.
Let’s get Practical
In my own journey, I’ve come across various practical efforts that along with being content have helped me keep money from being a thorn in my side, but a tool as it is meant to be.
BUDGET! (The inner accountant in me will always have a soft spot for budgeting, but it really works.) When making a budget, be honest with yourself! If you, like me, have a Starbucks habit, put it on there. A budget is the coach telling the players what to do during the game. There are bunches of templates online for FREE.99 online or you can make
your own. I keep it simple and just use excel. If the example is too simple for you, don’t hesitate to make something super elaborate. If yours is not balancing out at the end (notice I budget savings so a zero balance is a good thing), take a long hard look at what you can do to change that.
Simple, to the point. Works for me!!!
2. PRIORITIZE! This goes along with being content and budgeting. If you spend more on going out than paying off debt, you may a little lop-sided. Turn down for what? Your bank account says so! If getting caught up with some of those late payments means staying home a few more weekends than you’re used to, then do it! Better a little disciple now, than catastrophe later.
3. Live BELOW YOUR MEANS! Gasp! I may lose someone at this point, but there truly is wisdom in living your life this way. What if, contrary to popular belief, we aren’t supposed to use up all our resources on ourselves. You’d be surprised at how much extra you feel like you have when you get selective about what you give your resources to.
So what do you need to work on? I personally need to be more disciplined with sticking to my budget. Get accountability and seek God for wisdom. Don’t complain about what you don’t have, but ask for wisdom on how to manage what it is that you do have!
Get started now! There’s no time, like right now to get your purse in order. God wants to be invited into all areas of our lives, this one too! Below are some suggested resources for more information. Take your authority back!
Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey