One area of my life that is still bound by fear and anxiety is around money. I have a lot of fear around it — just the thought of it often makes my stomach knot up and I feel inexplicably guilty, even if I’ve done nothing wrong. I procrastinate around all things money. I often pay the bills late not because we don’t have the money, but because I am afraid to look at them. The fear is irrational, and even as I write this there is a tightness in my chest that doesn’t make sense.
I have made mistakes and yes, grew up in a household that experienced a lot of stress around money. There often seemed to be a lot of lack. My parents often fought about money, and though they worked hard to give me the things they did (and I am extremely grateful for them) I do have to acknowledge that what they taught me about money is that it is stressful, lacking, and that rich people are somehow evil. Whenever I was in the company of rich people, I always felt uncomfortable, somehow not good enough.
I grew up with no money management skills to speak of. I had no idea how to save and I definitely fall on the “spend” side of the saver / spender continuum. When I got to college and credit card companies started practically tossing cards in my bookbag, you can imagine what happened. By the time I divorced my first husband, we had $30,000 in credit card debt.
Although now I live relatively debt free, the stress of the indebted life still haunts me. I still always feel as if I have something to hide, and the fact that as I write this, I know that the next thing I have to do is pay the bills, I feel like I’m going to throw up.
I’m going to start praying differently about my finances. I’ve always asked God to bless my finances, I tithe on my personal income and try to be a good steward of my money (I often fail). But I’ve noticed that the biggest changes come not when I ask God to change my circumstances, but to change my heart about my circumstances. When I ask Him to show me how to view my problem through His eyes, not mine, that’s when drastic, amazing changes occur. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
See? That’s why I love writing. I didn’t start off writing this post knowing I was going to change my prayer life — God gave me that idea through the words. Thanks, God.
How about you? What stresses you about money? Are you a good money manager?