July 30, 2014

Financial Anxiety

Financial Stress and anxiety and fearFinancial Anxiety

When you think of money or finances, is your stomach in knots? Does tax season stress you out? Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are you constantly fretting layoffs or “restructuring”?

Finances can be a very anxious experience for many, even those who are well off. Managing money can be very stressful. Married couples often cite finances as the leading cause of conflict in marriage. It’s an incredibly serious issue in people’s lives.

Can you find peace in stressful financial situations? Can finances really become a place of peace and rest, or must they always be feared and anxiety-provoking?

When it comes to our financial economy, I’m terribly concerned for our country. Consumer debt is at an all time high. Credit companies have made it so easy to “buy now and pay later”. For one small monthly fee, you can have whatever you want. How many of those “small monthly fees” do you have?

This credit-driven lifestyle has made it too easy to spend more than we make. I recently read a statistic on consumer spending in America. Through most of the 1900′s, people spent on average about 30% less than what they made. That means people were saving money. Today, the average American spends more than they earn. That means nothing is being saved. Nothing is put away for unforeseen circumstances.

I can see why financial anxiety is rampant these days. The loss of a job, an emergency house repair, the car breaks down, again–all can be terribly stressful when it comes finances.

So, is there hope? Can you be free from financial anxiety? I shout a hearty YES. You can be free. But, it may take time and serious discipline. It probably took you years to get where you are now. For many, it’ll take years to dig yourself out of the financial pit. But, here’s the beautiful thing–God is faithful and he cares for you, even your finances.

Today, my wife and I live in financial freedom. And it’s not because we have lots of money. In fact, I’m a freelancer and so our finances ebb and flow depending on projects. Our financial freedom is a result of clear, money management skills and the discipline to live by those skills.

We live on a budget. We no longer use credit cards. We only buy used cars, and at the end of each month, we have money left over. Amazingly, we don’t feel at all constricted by this lifestyle. On the contrary, this lifestyle has given us incredible freedom.

“But you don’t know where we are. We’ve maxed out our credit cards? My husband lost his job. These medical bills keep getting higher and higher. We can barely get by.”

Here’s the most important message I learned about finances: it’s not a matter of how much or how little you make; it’s a matter of your heart. Financial freedom starts in your heart. Listen to what Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be” (Matthew 6:21).

Where is your treasure? A new car, a big house, a pair of jeans? Or, is your treasure in your family, your peace, or God? You see, where you put your money is where your heart is. Your money always follows your heart. So, make sure your heart is right when it comes to finances.

When my wife and I first got married, we were in debt. I was into new cars, new stereo equipment, new things. So when I prayed for financial freedom, I expected God to deposit a big sum of money into my account. What he did, though, was deposit wisdom into my heart. True financial freedom starts in your heart.

If you’re struggling with finances, I want to encourage you that you can be free from financial anxiety. God desires to help you, first with your heart and then with your finances. I have seen God move in amazing ways when it comes to finances, both in my life and in the lives of those we have counseled. There are great resources to help you in this journey towards financial freedom like Dave Ramsey or Crown Financial.

Prayer: Father, I need your help with finances. Financial anxiety is consuming me. I’ve made some bad money decisions in the past, and the financial consequences are overwhelming. First, change my heart. Then, give me a strategy to get my finances under control. Help me start down the road to financial freedom.

About Russ Pond

For most of my life, I battled crippling anxiety and panic attacks. For the longest time, I had no hope. My world was closing in all around me. Today, I am free and living a life full of peace and abundance. Freedom is real. You can be totally set free for the bondage of fear.