By: Cheri Fuller
"Worry is like a rocking chair.
It gives you something to do,
but it won’t get you anywhere."
Worry to Wonder
Maybe you experienced a little worry when you signed the contract for your first home and within minutes began to fear that you wouldn’t have enough to make the monthly payments. Perhaps you never gave finances a thought until your husband was laid off along with a thousand other people in his high-tech company. Or your worries snowballed when creditors started calling or when you realized your kids were only a few years away from college and your savings had been eaten up. Regardless of what the situation is that triggers your rapid heartbeat, here are practical ways to move toward trust when anxiety about finances grips your heart.
Review who God is and write down His goodness to you. Write in your journal all the ways God has provided in the past. Include little and big blessings. Write down things you know about God and ways you have experienced His loving-kindness, small everyday joys and gifts you’ve received. It can change your worry for wonder just as it did for Carol when the bottom dropped out. Her world was shaken when her husband’s partnership dissolved and his health deteriorated, causing income to plummet. Any sense of security she had suddenly vaporized. She was frightened by the financial situation, worried about her husband, afraid their house would have to be sold. For a while she just survived day to day in a fog. But when she started reviewing what she’d learned about God’s nature so far and read them aloud, she discovered three truths to cling to that turned her panic to peace: God is faithful; God is good; God loves me.
Carol also began keeping a “Glory Journal.” Looking for the good things that happened each day, no matter what difficulties she faced, she listed them in a notebook: the gorgeous colors of fall leaves, progress her son made in math class, the loving care of a friend who brought her family a dinner. The Glory Journal kept her focus on the positive and helped her avoid sliding into an abyss of negativity, discouragement, and fear.
Don’t put things off. Procrastination causes more anxiety. If debts pile up because income is low, don’t run from creditors (which will only make the situation worse and escalate your fears). Run toward them, but get help! Worry can cause you to delay paying bills because there may not be enough in the bank to cover them. Seek financial counseling from a reliable accountant or with a reputable credit counseling service.
Go about the business God has given you to do; for most of us, that’s a full plate of responsibilities. Do the next thing. When you focus on the tasks at hand and do them, you don’t have as much time to worry about what’s going to happen. If you’re not sure what to do, ask God, “What’s my part? What am I supposed to do?”
Even if things get tough, if you follow God’s principles of handling money, you can experience peace and provision. When my friend Cynthia’s husband Dave lost his job, they purposed to keep following biblical principles of money management they’d learned from Larry Burkett’s ministry, including a commitment to not incur any more debt—even to replace their old car or put their children through college. For her, the “fight of faith” was to keep believing and follow what God said they were to do with their money (giving, avoiding borrowing, for example) instead of jumping ship and doing things their way.
What helped Cynthia the most when she began to worry about how they would pay the bills during those lean times was to run the worst scenario and think through “What is the worst that can happen?” Then she asked herself, “Is God able?”
She decided that even if they lose their house and eat bread and water for a while, the peace God gives when they believe His promises and manage money His way is worth more than things, than a big car or vacation. That peace comes not by having everything they want, but by living simply and following biblical principles of finance. She realized and believed that while we can never command God to do what we want, if we’re managing money His way, then when crisis comes, we have a strong foundation, and things don’t get chaotic.
In facing her fears this way, she finds herself energized to wait on God, to do her part, and to see how He guides. And you know what? Their family of six never missed any meals—she’s the best cook I know! They not only had enough to feed their own children, but to offer hospitality and warm meals to countless people over the years they’ve invited into their home.
Personalize the promises of scripture and fear will flee. When you’re tempted to speak anxiously about your financial situation, exchange your thoughts for the truth. For example, instead of saying, “We’ll never have enough; things are just getting worse,” affirm: “We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power when we learned that He had invited us to share in His wonderful goodness!” (see 2 Peter 1:3). Adding verses like these to your Peace Packet that specifically apply to money matters and God’s provision can help you face challenging financial times:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow.” (Matthew 6:31–34 NIV)
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (Psalm 37:25 NIV)
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. (Psalm 34:10 NASB)
As you meditate on God’s promises daily, say the verse in your own words, telling God you are depending on Him. Then continue to add promises from your own Bible reading that build your confidence in God and His ability to provide.
Share the burdens. Even the wealthy aren’t always exempt from financial worries. I heard a financial consultant once say that prosperity leads to fear of loss, and fear of loss leads to loss of faith. Whatever your anxieties or concerns are about finances, give them to God one by one and be specific about your needs. Talk and pray about these heavy burdens with a friend. If worried thoughts about your financial situation resurface, which they often do, give them back to God right then. Release them as many times as necessary until your mind is free from fretting about them.
Let me encourage you to avoid being like the little boy who took his broken bicycle to the repair shop to be fixed. The repairman assured him it would be as good as new, and told him to leave his bike in the repair room. He promised to call when he was finished fixing it. But after being home for a day or two, the boy began to worry about his bike: Can the repairman really fix the problem? Is he going to call me or lose my bike? Why isn’t it ready yet? Before he knew it, the little boy raced down to the shop and reclaimed his bicycle—still broken.
You and I are much like that boy. We may give our financial problem to God, but moments or hours later, we take it back and start handling it ourselves. If you find you’ve reclaimed your “broken bike,” or broken money matters, give them back to God. . .and leave them there!
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (Psalm 23:1 niv)
God, you are my Shepherd. You give me everything I need so I won’t be in want.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6–8 NIV)
Lord, You are able to make all grace abound to me, so that in all things at all times, having all that I need, I will abound in every good work. Help me to be a cheerful giver and follow Your ways of handling whatever money or resources are entrusted to me. Empower me to sow generously and reap generously and to always give You the praise from a thankful heart for all You have provided and blessed me with.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV)
Father, help me remember that You are able to do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine, according to Your mighty power at work within me. To You be glory forever and ever!
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”