Calling Out Fear
Hypothetically speaking, let’s put our Hope Through Hard Times’ community together in a room. I’m going to ask you to raise your hand if you have a fear of finances.
How many do you think would do it? A few? Half of the room? The entire room?
I’d be pretty confident in saying that I think only a few brave people might do it. But in reality, almost the entire room fears it. So why wouldn’t they raise their hands? Because they fear being known as having a fear of finances.
- Fear of not being in control.
- Fear of being seen as having too much or too little.
- For being measured by the dollar not him/her as a person
- For being seen as a hypocrite, looking like they have an abundance, yet scraping by to make payments on everything.
- They don’t want to be seen as prideful or shameful depending on where they’re at in the wealthy or broke spectrum.
Finances is one of the most hushed things to talk about. But why?
That’s how fear works. It wants you to fear being seen by others as having fear. You don’t want to come across as weak or ignorant about something. So, fear keeps you trapped in a perpetual cycle, never searching for the right answers that’ll bring you the help you need.
I get it. I’ve been there. My dad and stepmom bought us a book on how to manage our money in a practical and God honouring way when my husband, Michael, and I got married. And it sat on our bookshelf for three years. I wasn’t interested because I felt overwhelmed every time I looked at it. I wasn’t great at math growing up. How could I get ahead if I didn’t have enough to begin with? I could fill a bucket with excuses why I didn’t want to learn about finances.
Fear keeps you trapped from gaining freedom. In finances, this means:
- Freedom from being ignorant to how much money you actually have (not what your credit card or loan amounts provide).
- Fear keeps you from saving and giving like you want to. You know both of these things are good to do, but you fear doing it because you don’t think you’ll have enough for your own needs, should an unexpected expense arise.
- Fear keeps you from having fun, because even if you spend a little money on an activity, you feel guilty afterwards, thinking or knowing you couldn’t really afford it.
- Fear keeps you from educating yourself on finances because then it won’t have any power over you
- Fear keeps you undisciplined, because it knows as soon as you start seeing the effects of educating yourself, saving, giving, budgeting, and knowing where your money is going, the less it will have opportunity to keep you broke.
You have to realize this is beyond a physical/monetary problem. Fear isn’t just a feeling you have inside you. No, this is also spiritual. Fear is from the enemy. It is not from God.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (bold added)
What has God given you? By His Spirit, He has equipped you with, “power, and love, and self-control.” These are the opposite of fear.
God’s power overcomes fear. God’s grace, strength, wisdom, and understanding bring you power. His word is full of counsel on how you should be faithful managing His money. By seeking His wisdom, He’ll give you understanding to know what to do. Then He’ll give you the grace and strength to do it, and will bless you in your obedience of doing it with Him, rather than on your own.
God’s love will help you know where to apply the money. How much does He want you to give to Him and to others. There are always countless needs in the world to help with. You won’t be able to do them all. So, you need to spend time in prayer, asking God who He wants you to help. He’ll bring a name/organization to mind. This might be on an on-going basis or a one-time contribution. Ask the Lord and trust He’ll give you the answer to whom to give it, how much, and for how long.
The Lord will also give you self-control, which is very important with finances. You shouldn’t buy something just because it’ll make you happy for the moment. Think about what you’re spending your money on. Fulfill your needs first; know what these are. Not the things you’ve wanted and talked yourself into believing they’re needs. I’m talking actual needs – shelter, utilities, food, clothing, and transportation. Make good and affordable choices with these.
The more you seek the Lord’s help with your finances, and good, trustworthy counsel, the less fear will have power over you. Knowledge might be power, but God’s wisdom is transformational. Don’t fear, fear. Trust the Lord, be disciplined, and do what’s necessary to get your finances in a healthy place.
I can say all of this from experience, because the Lord convicted my heart about it. I finally read that book on my shelf. Then purchased another one. And another. I’ve continued to search the Bible and learn more about finances because the more I learn and trust the Lord with this, the less fear has a hold on me. And the more I see God do incredible things with His money.
I’d love to come into a room one day and ask a show of hands of who has fear over finances. Then see no one raise their hand. Then I’d ask the next question, who is faithfully managing God’s money? And see everyone raise their hands.
The thing is, if we as Christians all did this, (living within our means, being faithful stewards, seeking God’s counsel, and giving generously), the widows and orphans would no longer be in need. The poor would be fed. Needs would be met and the gospel spread around the world. We’d still have spiritual warfare to contend with until Jesus returns, but the commands God calls us to would be fulfilled. It’s a humbling and powerful thought.