Finances, Fears, and Faith
Fear of money can be a dangerous thing. I've experienced this firsthand the past few months. Launching out into a business whithout paid benefits, vacation, or health insurance adds a layer of complexity to our lives that we tried our best to prepare for. And even after getting all of that settled into our budget, let's be honest, it's scary not knowing what your paycheck will be every month. One of the ways fear has creeped into our household has been a lack of communication. I've been so focused on growing and learning how to be my own boss that unfortunately I've done a poor job of keeping in touch with my wife on a day-to-day basis. (Excuses, I know! but that's reality right now)
And at the end of the day we both get home with about 10% energy left in our tanks, and that goes toward figuring out what's for supper and spending time with Rooney. And when she goes to bed, we sit down and realize how little we have left for each other.
Fear creeps in as we start thinking about the things coming up in the next month we'll have to pay for, and wondering where and how that income is coming in the door.
The crazy thing is that we knew it would be this way before we got into it. We prepped, planned, and talked about it, but didn't really have a clue until we started doing it.
Planning is good, but living it out is the real deal. We're learning things we couldn't have ever learned by "planning." Same is true with parenting. We had no idea until we were in the thick of it how challenging parenting would be. But, we've learned and we've grown from it.
Let's combine both problems... the other night we were laying in bed around 8 PM (Yup, we were exhausted!) and talking about our budget and how we thought December was going to shake out. Well, the whole situation ended in tears because Kelsey wants Rooney to attend preschool next fall, but that requires a deposit to hold her spot.
The whole problem was rooted in fear. She didn't want to tell me about it because she thought I would be burdened by the added expense, and after the whole situation was settled down, I calmly reminded her that "making a budget work" was what I do! On top of that, she was carrying a $125 burden that I honestly viewed as a no-big-deal expense. (plus, this beautiful little girl is a sponge!)
What we realized is that we both need to do a better job of communicating going forward. We can't control everything, but we can do our best to control what we have. And in this case it simply took some communicating to keep us on the same page. A tough lesson for sure, but we're learning, adapting, and adjusting to this change in lifestyle.
Where Fear Can Trick Us
Fear can keep us from experiencing the life we're called to live. God's word tells us not to be afraid over and over and over again. So, when fear comes into our lives, are we running to God to help us (Isaiah 41:13), or are we letting the fear fester in our minds and consume our thoughts?
For I hold you by the right hand - I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.' -Isaiah 41:13
There have been at least a dozen times in the past few months where fear and anxiety about money have consumed my thinking. And each time it does, I have to stop and remind myself who is in control, give the fear over to God, and let him speak his promises back into my life.
This doesn't mean God takes all our troubles away, but he is with us, and when we focus on that, the fear of the day fades away and we continue to walk with him. And when we count our blessings with a gracious heart, it tends to keep things in perspective. We have a roof over our heads, full stomachs, clothes beyond reason, and even two working vehicles, now.
In the grand scheme of things... what's there to be worried about?
The good thing about our situation is that we're trying to manage what God has entrusted to us with the best of our abilities. Having a plan for our money (no matter what that amount is) takes the fear out of our finances. We're committed to making the most of what we have, even if that means putting other goals on hold for now.
An important lesson we're learning is that we never really "arrive" with our budget, it's an on-going process of improvement. Just like working out. You can arrive at your target weight, fit level, or peak performance, but if you stop working out, you won't stay where you were for long.
Managing your finances isn't a diet or fad... it's a lifestyle. Don't be afraid. Embrace the ride. It will take you further than living in fear.
What financial fears are standing in your way currently?