What to Do When You’re Worried about Money
By Dr. Audrey Davidheiser, Crosswalk.com
If you’re like the rest of us, inflation has stolen your attention. You might have had to alter your habits and plans due to the high cost of everything. Instead of snorkeling in Hawaii, for instance, you might have had to settle for a staycation this summer, funneling your funds to feed your tummy and town car instead.
Money worries convinced me to swindle cash.
With God’s help I resolved that particular pickle. Hallelujah. The point is, however, hard times can discourage committed Christians from living by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
If you, too, have been battling money worries, here are 5 things you can do:
(Fair warning: some of what you’re about to read might cause you to squirm. Yet—to paraphrase a popular phrase—might these principles be intended for such a time as this? Esther 4:14)
1. Stance on Finance
Some Christians equate Christianity with poverty. For them, to receive Jesus is to subsist as a pauper—anything but well off. Their motto? “We don’t worship Mammon.” These folks may also judge so-called prosperity preachers as spreaders of holy lies.
On the other side are those whose sole objective is to amass money and more money. They parade their premium automobiles in front of their gleaming mansions while insuring the church hears about their impressive portfolios and hedge funds.
The godly approach toward money falls somewhere in the middle.
Money doesn’t escape God’s attention. Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, preached that “one must not live on bread alone, but on every word coming out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, ISV). His point: chomping on the Word is essential.
But by comparing God’s Word to bread, Jesus also highlights our dependence on food, which means that unless your local grocery store agrees on a barter system, feeding your family requires money.
Matthew 6:24 states, “No one can serve two masters, for you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (NLT).
We don’t need to love money (1 Timothy 6:10)—but we shouldn’t shun it either.
2. Apply Psychology
If anxiety over finances has been gripping you, don’t just shush it. Find out which part of you is afraid of running out of money.
Yes. The theory I practice, Internal Family Systems, acknowledges that we all have personality parts. That means you, like me, house a set of parts inside your soul, each with its own thoughts, feelings, and fears.
This means you can befriend your scared part and find out why it anticipates you not having enough. Sure, prices have skyrocketed. But what makes that part of you think God won’t come through? Listen with an open heart and offer your part as much compassion as you can.
In case this fearful part didn’t know about your faith in God, let it know that God has promised to provide (Matthew 6:25-34). King David testified, based on experience, that he has never seen God’s people forsaken or their descendants having to beg for food (Psalm 37:25). Before David ascended to the throne, he roamed from cave to cave and had nobody to depend on.
Except for God.
There’s a way to liberate our parts from the fear of scarcity they’ve been saddled with. Working with a professional therapist trained in this model is ideal, but if this option doesn’t feel right for you, ask God to help open your heart and mind to new ways to discover your fearful part and cast its cares upon Him (Psalm 55:22).
3. Your Own Multiplication Miracles
Jesus once fed the multitudes with a miracle. He multiplied a handful of grilled Tilapias and pita bread to quench their hunger.
This miracle manufactured so much food, the disciples scrambled to stockpile leftovers (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, John 6:1-15).
Catch this: Jesus replicated the pattern of providing ample provision to gratify another famished crowd using a scant amount of food (Matthew 15:32-39).
Why did the Holy Spirit include not one, but two, separate multiplication miracles in His Word—even though there were many other events that could’ve been documented instead (John 21:25)? Wouldn’t it have been a wiser use of space to report one or the other?
One possible answer has to do with 1 Corinthians 10:11: “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (NLT).
Said another way, perhaps God inserted two multiplication miracles in the Gospels to emphasize it’s okay to expect these examples to happen nowadays.
A child took this concept to heart. Dr. Heidi Baker, a missionary in Africa, taught the children under her care to pray when they needed food. When they ran out of cookies, one boy asked God to multiply them so everyone could enjoy these sweet treats. So, He did—for weeks and weeks.
If God didn’t mind multiplying dessert, why would main courses be any different?
If you’ve ever fantasized about robbing God, the Bible outlines how you can pull it off: “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).
God considers us a thief if we withhold our tithes from Him.
Please don’t mistake the verse to suggest that God is a maniacal master who demands our money to enrich Himself. “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and everything it contains” (Psalm 50:12, NASB). Rather, He instituted tithing so that when we give Him 10% of our earnings, He has the right to protect the rest.
Check out what this protection looks like: Eight out of 10 regular tithers have zero credit card debt. More than a quarter (28%) of them live debt-free—including having no mortgage.
Yet, only 3-5% of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.
Even if you’re not accustomed to this biblical command, you can still weave it into regular practice. This process is no different than learning to work a smartphone the first time you bought it. You may second guess yourself in the beginning, but keep at it and things will become habitual.
The benefits of tithing far outweigh any objections: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10).
It may sound counterintuitive to scatter your money if the whole point is to secure more of it, but God’s kingdom policies often appear absurd.
If you want to climb to the top, serve others (Matthew 20:26, Mark 10:43).
An oaf upset you? Don’t avenge yourself (Romans 12:19).
Short on cash? “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38, NLT).
Should you give on top of your tithe? Depends. How much would you like to receive? Notice how the last verse concludes: the amount you give determines how much you’ll receive.
It’s fine to give because you love God and care for people. But it’s equally fine to give because you’re in need yourself.
Remember to give joyfully (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) and to expect God—not fellow humans—to deliver your hearty reward.
The Most Important Step
Without a deep assurance in your heart that Jesus loves you so much He’ll sustain your life—regardless of soaring prices—you won’t successfully erase the fear of lack.
Even when you apply the previous steps religiously.
So, how about devoting time to meditate on God’s love for you?
Here is a famous verse to launch us off:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
This Scripture is often quoted in conjunction with our eternal destination. If you have received Jesus as your Lord, Heaven will welcome you after your earthbound visit is finished.
But the Greek for perish in the verse can also mean “to die, with the implication of ruin or destruction.”
The same God who longs to live with you in the hereafter will also preserve you here and now.
“Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth much more than birds?” (Matthew 6:26, CEV).
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/lovelyday12
Audrey Davidheiser, PhD is a California licensed psychologist, certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist and IFSI approved clinical consultant, as well as author of Surviving Difficult People: When Your Faith and Feelings Clash. After founding and directing a counseling center for the Los Angeles Dream Center, she now devotes her practice to survivors of trauma—including spiritual abuse. Visit her on www.aimforbreakthrough.com