I thought about not writing this post today, lest you see how selfish I can be in my little heart sometimes. But I have to do it, because God is nudging me to!
See, whenever discussing financial stress, I feel badly, as I very well probably should! The reason for this is that I realize, that the kind of “money issues” that my family and I experience, would be akin to a lifestyle of royalty for a lot of other people in our world!
But, matters of the heart are what they are and sin likes to creep in there, doesn’t it?
You know how when we were young kids, if we wasted food, our moms would say “there are starving children in this world, so be grateful for your food and stop wasting?” Yes. there are. And yes, we knew that after being reminded of it for the 1000th time. But we still just wanted what we wanted.
Well, the same thing can happen to our hearts as adults. And it happened to me today.
Today, I went to do our taxes.
It’s going to be okay.
No, seriously though. I am just still a little shocked right now, but I know God’s got this.
I am actually laughing now. Hee Hee.
But I was crying earlier.
See, until about a month ago, when we decided for me to quit my very well-paying, very financially lucrative, night job that I had been doing for about ten years, we were sitting very pretty financially. After seeking after God’s will for our lives, and praying a lot, we were able to finally make that decision to give up that job with clarity – and we knew it meant less money, honey!
We weren’t financially “rich” by the standards of this spoiled nation when I worked that job, but we also didn’t want for much of anything. We always had enough to cover the bills, plenty to give where we felt led to give, enough for the extras the kids needed for school and activities, and even could go out to eat from time to time.
This was actually a nice feeling since we had struggled for about the first 15 years of our marriage, living paycheck to paycheck. We appreciated even having a paycheck at all, and still do. But I must admit, these last five years have been nice.
Since leaving that good job behind, WONDERFUL things that attest to the Lord’s provision, grace, and greatness have since happened. That is another blog post that I plan to write fairly soon.
And the money part? We haven’t really been stressing about that either, because we still had some savings (an absolute luxury, I know!), my husband still has his good job, and I do have a little bit of income coming in from my small, part time job to help a bit.
But we knew we were getting close to that time in which things were going to get pretty crunched soon. And we weren’t worried about it. Like I said, God has helped us to line some things up job-wise for me, that will begin to help pretty soon. We figured if needed, we can use that savings money to get us by if necessary until my new income kicks in to help us out.
Then this happened……The tax visit.
Crunch time has arrived!
Yes, today we were thrown a curve ball at the tax office and that had me shaking in my boots for a few minutes. Because, just like that, the little emergency fund we had is going to be depleted.
I knew what I should be thinking and feeling: “Oh, thank you Jesus for providing us with the funds needed to take care of this totally unexpected situation!”
Instead, I found myself thinking this: “But God! I thought you had it all worked out to where we could use that money, if needed, to get by until my other part time job started in a couple of weeks?”
What a little booger I am!
No, we weren’t expecting this, and didn’t realize it was going to work out this way this tax season. In fact, it had something to do with the fact that my daughter turning 17 caused us to not get some type of credit that we usually always got, which ended up making us owe more money! For some reason, we had no idea this was coming up this year. (Probably my dumb old brain fog)
For just a fleeting moment, I reverted back to being the old Annie. The anxiety-ridden, shaking-inside, Annie. The selfish, concerned with herself, person who knows there are starving people in our world, but is still worried about her little financial setback, Annie.
Yeh. That one.
Remnants of her are still there, you know. She is still very alive, in fact. Yes, she still haunts us on planet earth, friends – in the flesh. But because of Jesus, her heart has changed. And she knows she is to trust Him with everything she is and with all that she has yet to become. She knows she is to think of others, count her blessings, and keep looking up, so as to have HIS perspective on life. But those little remnants, started shaking things up a bit today.
And momentarily? Inside? Well, it got a bit dark and ugly.
So, Annie got all shook up for a brief moment, and then said a big prayer asking the Lord to remind her that she and her family stand upon the strongest foundation that there is and asking for Him to change the focus from money and false senses of security and selfishness to one that is fixed upon HIM!
But in that brief tremor-like moment, right before the prayer, THIS is what I think I must have looked like to the poor lady who had to deliver the news to me today.
But see that wonderful word from the Lord right next to that cute little guy’s face? That is the truth, friends.
And when I got home, to deliver the bad news to my husband, all I could say was what had been ringing through my heart and head over and over again since I said the prayer:
“Well, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is, honey.”
Yep. It is.
Sure, we gave up the big paycheck. Yes, we gave up the great insurance benefits when we decided I would quit that other job. And we even had prepared our hearts to deplete the savings, which we know we are blessed to even have, and which we know belong to Him anyway! (Annie just didn’t think it was going to happen so fast.)
So I guess I wasn’t really fully prepared for that, now was I? I guess Annie really hadn’t fully surrendered that money to the Lord, now had she? Aha!
Isn’t it funny how when we ask the Lord to search every crevice of our hearts, usually there is not a lack of darkness to be found that He can then draw out for us? Aren’t you glad He is so faithful?
And my family and I – we have so much more now. We just don’t have the money that we thought we had. And we still live better than what – 98% of the world? Getting to enjoy the blessings of following after the Lord and yielding to His will is far more valuable than that “financial security” could ever be.
Not having a nest egg forces us to fly – and that is pretty cool if you ask me.
It makes me ill to think about how very spoiled rotten I was in that moment of stress earlier today. Absolutely ill!
Know something that’s even a harder truth to face than that?
It’s this: That I know, I will continue to battle with this – I will continue to feel uncomfortable for a while because I have been so very spoiled. I will continue to slip into the selfish thought process about money from time to time. But I also have no question at all that we will become all the stronger in the Lord, even through these small battles of the flesh.
We’ve had this discussion, you know – my husband and I with the Lord…..more than once. We have considered the fact that we may not get to keep a lot of “things” now that we are making these life changes to follow more fervently after the Lord and His will in our lives. He may let us keep our house, or we may have to change that down the road. We may be able to pay for college, or maybe not. The money for our kids to go on their mission trip with the church may be able to be raised, or maybe it won’t.
We just don’t know yet. But we know He is going to get us through it all and take us where He wants to take us. That we do know.
When we temporarily shake inside out of fear, or some other kind of fleshly sin or thing of self, we can turn back to Him – look up again – gain His perspective, and realize that He has our backs, He understands us, and only He can give us peace.
Yes, God shakes things up too, and has the right to do so in any way that He pleases. But in the Almighty’s case, He knows exactly what He’s doing.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.” Matthew 6:25-34