We all hate to talk about it. Its a touchy subject. And I bet some of you are going to click off this page because you don’t want to talk about it.
We all have it. Its necessary for us to live. Managing it responsibly is biblical. And it can bless many in different ways. And yet we hate to talk about it.
I heard someone say the other day on Twitter ::
Money may not buy happiness but having enough money to live lowers stress tremendously.
I agree wholeheartedly. But when Christians get to talking about money, everyone gets awkward. When churches talk about money, all of the sudden they are “all about money and not Jesus.” And when someone is wealthy, unless they are super over-the-top generous, somehow they are greedy. Do you know what I’m talking about? Sometimes talking about money makes us feel judged. Instead of thinking about money in a healthy way, its almost like we’ve swung the pendulum all the way to the extreme. Does it make you feel awkward if I say that my husband and I could use a little more money? Does it make you feel weird if I tell you that I have some overdue hospital bills from having Elijah that I have been having trouble paying? Does it make you feel uncomfortable if I said that I pray that God would bless us financially?
Because it shouldn’t. Honestly! It shouldn’t! It shouldn’t be any more awkward for me to talk about praying for and managing money than for me to talk about praying for God to give me strength and patience to survive each day. Right? Don’t we have to have money to live? So asking for Him to provide in ways we cannot for ourselves…is this wrong? I don’t think so!
But before you go thinking that I just pray every day for loads of cash and spend what I have willy-nilly…let me explain ;) I believe that God desires for us to be intentional with our finances. To do our part, so to speak. To manage well what He has given us while also having faith that He will provide for our needs. We’ve had long seasons of our lives where our budget on paper did not make sense. The numbers were red, and it was scary. But by no doing of our own – except to pray like mad – we somehow had enough. And some of you may know this as well as I do – it can be pretty uncomfortable.
Recently, I read a post by someone I truly adore on the topic of tithing. Lore [pronounced like Lori], stopped tithing because she felt that tithing had become routine. You should read the post…its a really good one. :) I feel this way a LOT. I write my tithe check along with my bills when my husband gets paid. It has become emotionless and routine. The Bible talks about being a cheerful giver — I was not that. Sometimes I gave begrudgingly because it was just what I was supposed to do. Her post convicted and challenged me. Intention…echoed in my brain. Was I being intentional with my tithe?
So, what does all this mean? What can you take away from this? Well, I believe that being intentional with your life means not just the relational stuff but also the technical stuff. For us to be intentional with our finances, taking care of our belongings, managing our health well, etc. How do I do it? [Or try to do it?]
Every two weeks when my husband gets paid, I sit down and pay bills. I set aside extra money for larger bills that are coming that I will pay with the next check. When we have a bigger pay month, I sit and write out a schedule/checklist of what I am going to pay and when.
Then my husband and I sit down and talk about what we’re going to do with the extra money. We know it would be so much more fun to play with that extra money, but we plan to pay things off, set money aside for Christmas, or work towards our emergency fund. We use an electronic checkbook [because my math was getting rusty and I would mess up the numbers too much in my paper check register], we set a grocery budget, keep ourselves realistic about our spending…we just try and be more intentional about what we do with our money. I pray before I go grocery shopping that my dollar would be stretched and that God would allow me to practice restraint as well as find good deals.
And believe me when I say that sometimes it is still tight. No matter how much planning we’ve done. Whether its me not having as much design work or having unexpected expenses, sometimes the money is tight. And that’s when we go to God and ask Him for help. Ask for His blessing financially. But in all this, we are trying to be intentional. Trying to work on an aspect of our lives that is painful but necessary.
So tell me, does the topic of money make you uncomfortable? Do you have tight months? What is that like for you?