The greatest struggle we all have with our finances (and how to solve it)
I asked my email list what their greatest struggles were when it came to thinking about faith and finances and their responses sounded a lot like mine: when should I save and when should I spend? Is it okay to spend money on fun things like holidays when money is tight? What about spending money on things like maintaining my home? What should I give to and how can I know that it will be stewarded faithfully? When should I be trusting God and when is God expecting me to step up and be faithful with what He has already given me? Should I be saving for my children’s future education or be generous with the imminent needs I see around me outside my family right now? What should I do when my partner and I are not in agreement with how our finances should be spent?
None of these questions are straightforward and that is why they are struggles! If there were easy answers then this would not be an area which occupies time in our hearts and thoughts. But as I thought about all the responses, I did feel that there was one particular thing that we all struggled with: knowing what to do in each situation. In one word: wisdom. We all struggle with wisdom when it comes to finances because it isn't dependant on how much we have. Whether we are billionaires or in too much debt, we all have to make decisions with what to do with our finances.
And that is the good news too because God has told us that there is ALWAYS a solution to the lack of wisdom that we experience: ask Him.
Because I cannot (and should not!) tell you how to spend your finances. I cannot know whether God is calling you to spend your money right now on a new car rather than a second hand one or if you are meant to be saving it for your children’s university fees. It is impossible for me to tell you if you should be continuing to work your frustrating job or if you should be giving it up and trusting that God will provide in other ways if not through another job straight away.
But I can tell you (and remind myself) this: if we stop a moment and ask God for wisdom about each decision we need to make, He promises that He will give us wisdom.
I love how Brian Simmon’s Passion Translation puts it:
How we need to be overwhelmed by His generous grace!
So my (daily) challenge to myself and my prayer for you is that we would ask God what He thinks about our finances. That we would, in daily relationship, ask Him to show us how the money we do have should be allocated today. My prayer is that we would trust His promptings and believe that He does have the resources of the whole world and beyond at His fingertips should we just believe, and that we would know that He desires to help us, to bless us and to grow us to be blessings to others in our handling of our finances.
Sometimes I can be so overwhelmed by the bigger picture that I just need to stop and ask God for wisdom and ask Him: what are you saying to me right now about this financial decision today?
And then I need to ask myself: am I going to trust? Am I going to be faithful in obeying His voice - that thought in my heart which invites me to trust not to fear?
Discerning God’s voice is a life-long journey, but the area of finances is a great area to learn to hear His voice and obey. Jesus had a lot to say about finances, but what He seemed to be saying overall was: the way you handle your finances shows the way you handle your life. It will quickly reveal concretely where your priorities are and what you believe about who God is. (Ouch, right?!)
God doesn’t mind us making mistakes when it comes to finances, but what He does desire is for us to include Him, to ask Him and He so desires that His children wouldn’t walk around worrying about something that He has a solution for.
One of my children broke some bowls this week as they were drying up. I could hear their anxiety at trying to clear them up and feeling bad about the broken bowls because they knew they had been careless about putting the bowls too close to the edge. But my willingness to help them clear up the mess wasn’t diminished by the length of time it took them to ask - in fact they didn’t even ask. They had tried to clear the mess up themselves and it was a bit of a disaster. On hearing their self-criticism and their frustration with the clean up, I went downstairs to help them out and let them know I wasn’t mad at them - I’m was just sad that they were anxious and stressed out for so long when it wasn’t necessary and I was able to help!
So if you are in a bit of a financial mess, or just have some doubts or fears which are swirling around your head, can I invite you to take a moment to close your eyes and imagine yourself in Your Father’s arms and Him telling you that He loves you and cares for you and wants to help you. He isn’t mad with you for any past mistakes or messes you have made - instead He wants to help you put them right. Together.
You may like to pray this prayer to:
God, thank you for your love. Thank you that you care about my finances. Thank you that today is a new day. God, I am sorry where I have tried to manage my finances without your help. I am sorry where I have doubted your goodness and provision. I am asking today for wisdom to help me with my financial decisions. I am asking You to show me specifically what I should be doing about _____(insert financial decision)____ today. Thank You that you are good and you desire to show me the right way to go. Amen.
Learning to discern what God is saying to us specifically about each situation comes as we make time to be with Him and ask Him! I have put together a 60-second guide to help you build relationship with God, 10 minutes at a time. Click the image below to get your copy!