Friday, May 14, 2010

I love you, I hate you

I have a love-hate relationship with money. Maybe you can identify? It is the perfect "worry trap". You need it to live. Most everything in this world costs something. Not much is free anymore. You can't live without it.

I know it's a heavy subject because God even writes about it in His word.
"The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." 1 TIMOTHY 6:10
At first you might think this is kind of an extreme statement. The "root of all kinds of evil"? Seriously? Think about it this way...God is good and money easily distracts us from Him. If we're depending on money and NOT HIM that's a sin. Do you have more then you need? Are you a good steward of not only the money you have, but the things that you have? Are you generous and willing to share? Consider the place you put money in your life.

There is an area for me that God has been convicting me on lately and that's DEPENDENCE ON HIM. I may think I'm depending on him, but any time I worry or try to control something I'm not. Dependence comes from not only knowing that you can't make it through this life without Him, but actually surrendering those things that keep you from dependence on Him.

I don't know if I would consider myself a big worrier. But there are certainly areas that are the chink in my armor. Money is one of them. I could make excuses and justify myself and maybe you would agree they sound legitimate. I have children. They have to eat. We have bills to pay. We need a house. We need clothes and shoes. There's a field trip at school to pay for and soccer registration. It piles on and if we aren't careful it can bury us alive.

The past few weeks are a great example. When one thing happens after another the worry builds. Our oil burner died this week. I mean died, red tagged, disarmed, DIED. If you have ever had to replace your heater you know that it's no small financial task. Adam's truck needed new brakes. Our van needs an inspection in June and the muffler needs to be fixed. (I sound like Mario Andretti driving my son to school each day.) We just got Adam a "for work" phone in January and the other day he fell backwards at work, landed on his phone, and cracked the screen (thankfully he can still use it, for now). Let's not forget the stress of Ellie's tonsil surgery (which was thankfully covered by insurance). This is the perfect "money worry" storm.

The sad fact is, big or small, expected or unexpected, my money worry meter is usually always running near the red. Maybe it plays into my control issues because most of the time it's out of my hands. The only thing I can control is how we spend our money, but even then it gets tricky. How do you decide what you need vs. what you want? The more you think about it the more the lines start to blur. If you over-analyze it, you start to worry. When you start to feel helpless about your situation, you start to worry. It can paralyze you. It can distract you from the truth.
"Put your hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment...Be generous and willing to share." 1 TIMOTHY 6:17-18
There comes a point when I either turn to Him or try to do it on my own. I don't want my life to be all about the next paycheck. I don't want my money, or lack there of, to be a test of God's provision for me...a sign of how much He cares for my family. I want to know in my heart that He will provide, that He will make a way for all our needs to be satisfied. He already!

My other antidote for worrying about ANYTHING is thankfulness. I cannot let myself get overwhelmed at all the things I need and don't have. I MUST remember that what I have is MORE than enough. When my heater breaks and I don't have hot water I realize that it is a luxury not everyone has. There are people in this world who don't have ANY WATER. We are so used to having it all that our wants get clouded into our needs and we can pretty much convince ourselves that we NEED everything.

With God at the center, surrendering and trusting that He knows what we need and has promised to "provide us with everything", how can we justify worrying about ANYTHING, let alone money?

Please, Lord, help me to be satisfied with what I have. Help me to be wise about what I need and what I want. Help me look to You, depend on You, for everything I need. Help me to trust that you will provide it when I need it the most, in Your perfect time. And please give us the wisdom to make good choices with our money without letting ourselves fall into the sin of worry over it.

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