What Color Is Your Financial Underbelly? Red, Black or Yellow?
It's already week 10 in our 13 weeks series of financial recovery. This week revealed a side of me that I would prefer to keep covered -- my financial underbelly. I got a good look and it's not pretty. It is solid yellow.
I've never really thought of myself as a coward until now. In my first installment, "5 Rules for Lifting Your Family Out of Economic Hardship," I explained that several years ago, we experienced our first real financial setback. A pulmonary embolism ended my husband's career in law enforcement. Apparently those two years without income left some emotional scars that went deeper than I realized.
Last week I wrote "Financial Miracles or Happenstance? You Decide," about the unseen hand that has held us in a firm grip of grace and provision. It's good to remember the miracles in our lives, an exercise I try to do daily. It reminds me that our Heavenly Father really does care for our needs. However, I'm old enough to know, He cares more about my character and the state of my spiritual health than my bank account.
He also tends to reveal the parts of us that need transformation, as He did this week.
Instead of facing truth head on and setting up my budget before the first dime was spent, as I know to do -- instead I hid behind an illusion of a "big pot" of money.
Let me explain.
When you first get paid, or your bank account shows a comfortable sum, it "feels" good. Like a big pot of chicken soup, it gives you a warm feeling and a false sense of security. Only by pouring that money out, into all the outstretched hands with empty bowls, can you honestly gauge if there's enough in the pot to go around.
If it sits undivided, the temptation is to dip into the seemingly full pot, taking a little here and a little there... for things you've been hungry. The problem is, you are in danger of blindly robbing from someone else's bowl.
Out of fear there wouldn't be enough to go around, I wouldn't even look at the numbers until forced. That's when I discovered my true colors.
I've never looked good in yellow. So here is my prayer for this week found in Proverbs 30:8-9 NIV :
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
In an earnest attempt to restore a healthy color to my financial underbelly and my bank account, this coming week there will be a few changes.
In order to mark off on my Seinfeld calendar these steps must be completed daily:
1) Pull up the bank statement and look at the bottom line. Because willful ignorance is not bliss-- it's cowardice.
2) Review the budget.
3) Pray the above prayer and thank the Lord for all we have.
Dave Ramsey once said, that money is both emotional and spiritual. He's right. If we aren't careful, financial stress can get twisted up in our emotions. This week I've learned it takes a conscious decision for me to not to allow my emotions, such as fear, to creep in.
Emotions can affect, even warp, your spirit when allowed to rule.
How do you separate your emotions from your finances? Does it come natural? Or is it a spiritual discipline?