How to Find Peace When Worried About Finances

By Jolene Engle, Contributing Writer

I think most people at one point in their lives have worried about their finances.  We’ve attended what I like to call, The School of Financial Suffering.  Of course some have been attending this school longer than others.   Certainly the one person that holds a Doctorate in this school is Job himself.  Goodness, I think he could be the Valedictorian as well as the President of this university!

How to Find Peace When Worried about Finances

I identify with Job in more ways than one.

We have lived through an IRS audit, were dragged through a lawsuit, had our home foreclosed upon, couldn’t afford to pay rent for the rental home we were living in, and then we had to live with friends.   So, yes, I do know what it feels like to attend the School of Financial Suffering which, of course, led my flesh to feel overwhelmed with worry.

My Journey

The worries came when…

  • We only had a few bucks in our pockets and there was no work on the horizon.
  • We didn’t know where we were going to live.
  • We didn’t know where we’d get the money for our medications.
  • Our electricity was turned off because we couldn’t pay the bill.  It was a cold, dark night!
  • We didn’t have much food in our pantry and we didn’t know when we could buy more.  I was hoping this problem would cause me to lose some weight!  It didn’t…but I didn’t have to cook as much since the cupboards were slightly bare! :)
  • We didn’t have health insurance and a my Beloved was in need of medical attention.  A trip to the ER can really set a wife over the emotional edge and cause a great amount of anxiety!
  • Parts were stolen off of my car which left it inoperable until we could come up with the several thousands of dollars to fix it.  Oh, that Enemy is a thief alright and I’d like to kill him…but I’ll let Jesus take care of that snake!
  • The transmission went out on my husband’s truck which put him in a bind of driving it home backwards for several miles.  I was so glad I was not in the vehicle when that happened!
  • I lost my mind when I didn’t know where my home was.  I’m so not kidding on this one!  We moved so many times in such a short time period that I actually drove to the wrong house!  I was mentally spent to say the least!
  • My mind was consumed with fear and desperation as I thought, Is God’s grace really enough, like the song says, when in reality my boy needs shoes because he’s got holes in the bottom of his soles and it’s raining outside.
  • I know what it’s like to feel uncertainty, fear, exhaustion, anger, despair, apathy, and frustration.  I also know what it’s like to feel forgotten and forsaken by God Himself.  I was well acquainted with all those words and emotions for years on end.  And yes, I did wonder where God was in all of this as we purposefully and intentionally lived a righteous way of life only to have more heartache and pain from one financial problem after another.

And then I look at Job….He was righteous too, yet God allowed him to go through one trial after another.  I take heart in Job’s story and his faithfulness to proclaim the name of the Lord in spite of all that he endured.  He’s a faithful man of God that I deeply admire.

I, too, want God’s name lifted high even when my bank account is low and my health is failing.

So here’s what God has taught me while I’ve attended the School of Financial Suffering.

Lessons Learned

Most Believers know the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) Now it’s probably hard to think that we love money when we’re just trying to pay the mortgage/rent and put food on the table, right?  Come on now, it’s not like we’re asking the Lord to give us a boatload of money so we can buy a new car or go on some extravagant vacation!  Yet, looking back over the last 5 years of our financial storms, the Lord revealed to me a few things  about how I view money.

I basically put more trust in my husband’s business, our savings account, wise spending and budgeting, etc, that I felt more secure in that system, rather than finding my security in the Lord.  In essence, I was trusting in our riches, savings, frugality, etc. rather than in God.  And I was loving and trusting in what money was capable of doing for our lives rather than what God wanted to do in our lives.

So my Father prodded me with following questions:

  • Daughter, do you love and trust money so much that you distrust Me?
  • Daughter, do you love and trust money so much that you deem it okay to take out your fears and frustrations on your husband and children or those around you?
  • Daughter, do you realize that your love and trust in money is causing you to lessen your respect for your husband?  This isn’t biblical, by the way.  So, is this the type of wife that you want to be?  Or do you want to be a faith-filled wife?
  • Daughter, do you realize that your love and trust in money is a threat to your marital oneness?  If you keep holding on to your fears and live in a state of worry then this problem will come between you and your Beloved.
  • Daughter, do you realize that your love and trust in money can turn you into a snappy, contentious and controlling woman because you lack faith that I will provide for you?

Yes, I was totally convicted by my Lord’s words!

 

So why did I feel this way?  Because I’m selfish.
Why did I distrust that God would provide?  Because I lack faith and I was fearful of our future.
Why did I lash out or take out my frustrations on my husband or children?  Because I lack control over my situation.

So my Father taught me why I struggled with all of this…

The 3 Root Causes that Feed Our Financial Concerns

1.  We Become Fearful

It’s scary to lose what you’re used to.  You’re not sure of what’s going to happen to you.  Where are you going to live? Where’s the money going to come from?  What do you do when medical attention is needed?  What are you going to eat and will you have clothes to wear?  Honestly, I really think we need to look at birds more often like the Scriptures say.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:26

Peaceful thought:  According to God, we are more valuable than birds!

2.  We Become Controlling

You know, we sure do think highly of ourselves, don’t we?  We think we’ve got life all under control when in reality, that is the furthest thing from the truth. God is the one who’s got things under control!  Yet, we have a tendency to think if we’ve got money tucked away in our savings or 401k we’ll be okay.  Well, I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank….it’s a false sense of security because you never know what the Lord is going to take you through. If you don’t believe me, then let me remind you of Job.

So what does God’s children start to do when the finances are becoming less and less?  We turn to the Lord in prayer, right?  No, not usually.  First we freak out and then we try to control our situation.  Then, if we’re really controlling, we’ll turn to our spouses and start to control them!  This right here is key to many marital problems when the financial trials start to rain in your marriage.

3.  We Become Selfish

Not only do I want a beautiful roof over my head, a soft bed to sleep in, blankets and covers to keep me warm, but I want a nice fluffy pillow for my head too.  Yet, when I reflect on the verse below, I can’t help but think I’m pretty darn selfish!  And why do I say this?  Because the Lord has provided all of these things for me, however, I’m still not satisfied.  I want more and I want things my way!  Take a look at how our Savior lived so you can have a better understanding of this viewpoint.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  Luke 9:58

 

Yes, the reality is, when we love and trust in money more than God, this causes us to do some strange things!  When our finances are low (or non-existent) we become more fearful, controlling and selfish.  Turning our eyes to Jesus is what we need to do in order to overcome these issues….and this is where you’ll experience the peace of God!

How about you, friend?  Have you battled with worry in your finances?  What have you done to experience God’s peace during this season of your life? 

Photo credit: Megyarsh / Foter.com / CC BY

Comments

  1. I really, really needed to read this today. I KNOW that I shouldn’t worry, I KNOW that when I’m thankful for what I have I trust God more and experience peace. But, and I’m sure you know this, Jolene, it’s really hard, when the bank account is low or nonexistent, to say “I’m not afraid for the future, because even though I don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay the next bill/buy groceries/whatever, God knows what we need and will provide for us.” It’s hard to say that. And even when I DO say it, I still have a hard time relinquishing that control. I have a hard time not being in control. I know it’s wrong… but I feel like, when we’re in a rough financial situation, that somehow it’s my fault so if I control our spending more, if I save more money, or if I try to control how my husband spends, then we won’t be in such a tough situation.

    But what you said about that really hit me– having money give us a FALSE sense of security. TRUE security comes not from trusting that we’ll earn enough money, not from putting my faith entirely on my husband’s ability to provide for me, but in putting everything in the hands of God (where it belongs anyway)– myself, my life, my finances.

    Thank you so much for this reminder and encouragement.

  2. Ouch! This one really hit home. Some things for me to be thinking about.
    Thanks for this post. :)

  3. anonymousMe says:

    Finances are, I think, the biggest issue in my marriage. My wife continues to tell me she wants to be “taken care of”, but she puts that entire burden on me, instead of trusting God. I understand I have to be financially responsible, but ultimately everything comes from the Lord. This article was really helpful, and I think Ill print it out and keep it around for my kids to read when they get closer to marrying age. Thanks a bunch!

  4. stephanie sikes says:

    I needed this. My husband and I are 31 and 35 years old and in 10 years of marriage, we have lost a business, filed bankruptcy, went through a 9 month separation ultimately caused by the stress of money, and our home is currently in foreclosure. We are living in a home owned by my aunt, rent-free, right now. My husband and I got back together less than 2 months ago and I am currently the only one with a steady income. ALL I DO IS WORRY ABOUT FINANCES. It consumes me and makes me a miserable person. One would think I’d learn to look back and see how God carried us through all of these trials and just rest in the fact that He always brings us through them. Your article just slapped me in the face and screamed, “You don’t trust God!” I say I do but I really don’t because I let worry and fear consume me. I needed this conviction. Thanks for sharing your story and insight.

  5. stephanie sikes says:

    My feelings exactly! I do the same things, yet nothing I do ever really makes things better. That alone should make me realize, what I can do in my own power will NEVER be enough. I have GOT to let it go and totally trust God.

  6. I was just working on a post very, VERY similar to this!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and struggle with the world. Your words are so encouraging to read!! What a blessing this was to me today!!!

    Blessings,
    Annette

  7. I totally understand what you are saying, Jaimie. It is not an easy lifestyle at all. Exercising faith takes great strength in the Lord as well as self-control! I’ve walked the path of micro-managing every ounce of food in my pantry, thinking by doing so I’ll save us from the unexpected. But I have learned that when I’m trying to control my situation instead of just doing my part and resting in the Lord for Him to provide for our needs…I end up turning to my flesh. I want to be known as a woman who turns to her God! And when I do turn to Him…I get the beauty of seeing Him do one miracle after another. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything because it’s within those experiences that my faith in my Lord grows deeper. That is priceless, my friend! Let go of your control and you’ll enjoy your life much more!

  8. Thanks Lyndsay!

  9. Hi AnonymousMe,
    Sorry to hear that you feel such a heavy burden from your wife. Women desire financial security A LOT! I think women have more of that need than men, especially if she is a stay at home wife/mom. When a wife is fulfilling her biblical role by staying at home and having her husband provide, the only thing we can really do is be frugal or maybe build a cottage business to bring in extra income. It’s very easy for a wife to feel fearful, become controlling, or even discontent. As a wife, one of the best things I have learned in my situation is that Jesus is my Provider, not my husband. Yes, my man has a biblical responsibility to provide for our family and he does the best he can in this endeavor but that doesn’t mean all of our wants will be taken care of. As a wife, I need to learn to be content. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Tim. 6:6

  10. Stephanie I feel your pain. I understand your tears and fears! But…our God! Just those two words should give you great comfort! Our God is with you. Our God will never forsake you. Our God is using your story for a purpose much greater than you can see. Just like He did with mine. I’m so blessed to hear that you and your man are back together! Let the Lord reign over your finances (or the lack thereof!) Give Him your worship and praise as well as your fears. Let Him do a mighty work in your marriage. Keep the faith and try not to grow weary. Whenever I was having a hard time I would remind myself that I had my salvation, my husband and my two children. I was a redeemed and blessed woman. If I lived in a 3rd world country, I would have been considered rich since I had hot, running water and 3 meals a day. Find the good in your life and build on it.

  11. I’m so glad my story blessed you, Annette. To God be the glory!

  12. This post is totally what I needed to read. I let money control my attitude far to often in life & cause a lot of stress in our marriage. We to have gone through bankruptcy & lost our home 5 years ago. We moved out of state & my husband’s new job required that he be away & travel for a couple weeks at a time. I hated it, and instead of blooming where I was planted became lonely and depressed. We ended up moving back, & actually were able to get our home back (with added fees of course). Now I struggle feeling resentful & angry when my husband makes any sort of large purchase that we don’t have cash for. We are trying to remodel our house so we can sell it, and it all cost money. I want to know the money is there, and not take any chances. I have caused a lot of friction in our home by trying to control every dollar that comes in, even though I am not the one working. I struggle to be willing to stay home with the kids when it seems like it would solve problems sometimes to just go back to work. I don’t like feeling reliant on another person for my needs. Ultimately, I want to be able to control things. Life has shown I can’t do that. (I actually was working when we lost our house) I need to trust God for our bills, gas, groceries, & support my husband 100% no matter what. I do know this already, and do try, but it is definitely an area with which I struggle. Thank you for your ministry and pouring your heart out so women like me can get our heads screwed on straight! Have a blessed day.

  13. Jolene, our paths through the financial and spiritual quagmire are so similar though not identical. How difficult it was to admit that the “problem” was really me and not our bank account or lack there of. Fortunately that was six years ago, God’s grace and time has healed my heart and wounds I inflicted on my husband. Our bank account does not look overly “bright” but I no longer fret about it or what will happen to us. John 8:32

  14. What a blessing to hear that this ministered to you, Jasmine!

  15. I’m so happy to hear that you’re resting in Christ and the plans He has for your life, JD! It’s not the easiest path to take, but it is the best one!

  16. This post hit home for me. I’ve struggled with trusting God with our finances and not spending exorbitant amounts when we do have money. I’ve learned that accumulating things doesn’t make me happy, and doesn’t count for God’s eternal kingdom. My husband and I’ve been going through a Bible study called 40 Days to a More Generous Life and it’s been incredibly eye-opening to us. I can’t believe how much I’ve missed God’s generosity because I’ve been holding on tightly to “my” finances when they weren’t mine to begin with. God has truly blessed us, and I’m so much more aware of that now that I’ve allowed Him to open up my eyes and heart to His wealth of blessings (spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally). Praise God for the wealth of His grace, glory, and generosity!

  17. What a blessing to hear that your eyes have been opened to God’s wealth of blessings that don’t come in the form of things, Hannah. He is all-sufficient and no amount of possessions can fill our hearts like Jesus can!

  18. I am in this place right now. Thank you for sharing your point of view. It gets lonely and sad. I can’t help but be terrified when I look into my daughter’s eyes and I don’t have all the answers.

    God provides. Maybe not in the way you think he should. But he does. I took a part time job to fill in during this season. Is my homeschool going to crash? Am I not being a proper wife? No. I am learning to trust God that his plan is perfect.

    My hubby lost a job. It was terrible and stressful for him at the job. So it really is a blessing in disguise. I was losing my Hubby to the bitterness and anger from the job. Now he can rest and really think about what he wants to do. I got a nice job that will help ease the burden of the loss of money. It is seasonal. It came days after my Hubby lost his job.

    I know that I need to be happy and content with what I have. I know that I need to take one day at a time.

    Have a blessed Easter.

  19. Thanks for linking up at A Mama’s Story. Your post is among the top 3 most visited, so will be listed with the featured posts tomorrow. Be on the lookout as I’ll share it on FB, Twitter, and add it to my Pinterest Featured board. Thanks again for sharing encouragement and inspiration for other women.

  20. I’m humbled and honored. All glory to God!

  21. Amy, we worship a God who sees. He knows exactly what you and your husband need. He’s always with us even when we feel like He’s not! Keep holding on the Him.

  22. Anna Ramos says:

    Wow, I just came upon this post and it is so timely to read. I have just been asking God or maybe complaining to him, about my family’s current situation. Shortly after we lost the house we were renting and working on purchasing, and move into my mother in law’s home, my husband lost his job and has been out of work for 8 months. Due to lack of funds at the time we lost most of our earthly possessions which we had put in storage. But God has provided tremendously, yet I still ask him why can’t I have those things that I expected my life to bring me. Nothing fancy, I would just like a home of my own, enough money to buy food and clothes that aren’t falling apart. Reading this post and the comments are so encouraging to me, a needed shot in the arm of thanksgiving and joy and encouragement that God does not abandon his children even in the tough times. That I didn’t miss out on God’s plan, but have joined the ranks of those privileged to be tested by God, to be purified through fire and suffering. I can embrace my trial as the crushing that releases the fragrance of His glory. Thank you so much. Don’t stop writing!

  23. Thank you for this!! We’ve walked through some pretty hefty financial trials as well, although not as many as some (because we never had the means to buy a house, etc). My husband and I are celebrating our 7 year anniversary today (we are 25 and 27), and God called me to be a homemaker from the very beginning. We had our first child a year and two Weeks after we were married, then got pregnant again and miscarried, then got pregnant again and had our second child. A week after our second was born, we had to be out of our apartment because we were moving an hour and a half away from everything we knew so my husband could take a job that could better support us (he maxed out at $9.50/hour at the job he was at…. He wasn’t working many hours, and we live where cost of living is fairly high…. he made $800/month, and our rent at the low-income complex we lived at was $650….. that didn’t leave much for bills, gas, and groceries!), but we didn’t get the keys to our new apartment until later in the month, so he slept in his car for a while and I stayed at a friend’s in our hometown with the babies. When we finally got up here, we slowly dug our way out of debt (we owed my parents a lot of money for the times they helped us pay bills, and when our car broke down twice, and when our tires were bald), and then when we moved out of our dinky apartment into something that could actually house us and was more affordable, we got hit with a $900 move out bill. Now, my husband’s new job wasn’t THAT great, he was only making $11/hour at this point, cost of living is higher in the big city where we moved to….. so we still didn’t have any extra and I had a stash of old cloth diapers I had gotten for free from Craigslist so thankfully the fact that we couldn’t yet afford diapers was not an issue! But this $900 move-out bill almost broke us. So my husband got a second job at Chuck E Cheese to try to pay the move out bill…. and one day on his way home he got rear-ended. Hit and run. We are, and always have been, a one-car family, and it jacked up our only car. We knew it was a blessing that he ran though, because we didn’t have car insurance! We were almost able to afford it, but not yet. In the midst of all this, God was challenging us to leave our family size up to Him. HA! God is funny sometimes. After some fighting it, we yielded. God has provided in miraculous ways since day 1, and He has been faithful to keep doing that. Now we bought a house (another messy endeavor, landing us in our friend’s camp trailer for a few months), our car with half a bumper missing is still going strong with 270k miles on it, and we are pregnant with our fourth, and God keeps providing in amazing ways. We are climbing out of the financial pit (though we are not well off by any means…. the house we bought? Our first choice would have been a house in a neighborhood where we could leave a window open at night. ;), trusting God every step of the way. Our van seats 6, and we will be maxing it out in January…. trusting God to provide a bigger vehicle when the time comes. He has done well so far, despite the junk, we’ve never starved and we’ve always had a roof over our heads!
    My favorite thing to remember is when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God provided them with just enough manna for one day. Not for a week or a month, but for a day. I always remembered that when the electricity bill was due in a week and we weren’t sure where the money would come from…. I had enough for TODAY, and that mattered! Now I look back sometimes and am amazed. Like I said, we’re still not well off, but if I need to buy diapers, it won’t break us anymore. Yesterday I bought a $17 box fan, and I’ll still be able to pay the bills this month. I think God allowed those hard times so we could see Him move. Because He certainly has, and reflecting back on how far we’ve come and what God has brought us through, and the ways God has provided….. just amazing.

    Sorry for being so wordy….. and that’s the shortened, condensed version of our story! ;) I so appreciate your post, because I still worry about finances. Not as much, because our bills are paid now, but when it comes to things like house repairs (new roof, new plumbing, and new windows are in our near future and I’m not sure how that will happen), or needing another vehicle since we will likely outgrow ours in a couple years (and the one we have is so old and run down already), I do worry. But God provides, and I try to trust that HE sees things that I don’t, that HE has a plan, and that HE will provide for those things when the time comes!

  24. Thanks for your great (and convicting) post! Your honesty and transparency really helps people relate to and apply your message. I went and read all the comments and it is amazing how many people can blessed with a message about money, it is such an important topic and as Christians we have to learn to see money the way God sees money, we must learn how to fully trust Him when it comes to our finances. For me, the most impacting part of your post was:
    “I basically put more trust in my husband’s business, our savings account, wise spending and budgeting, etc, that I felt more secure in that system, rather than finding my security in the Lord. In essence, I was trusting in our riches, savings, frugality, etc. rather than in God.”
    -It’s such an easy and deceiving trick to fall into. We think we are trusting God, but when we get down to the core, our faith may be in how much money we have in our accounts.
    I’ve learned to test myself, if I truly trust God, my emotions won’t be affected when I look at the amount in our bank account. Because HE is my source and supplier, not my job, paycheck or savings…Of course Philippians 4:19 has always been as strong scripture for me to stand on. Thanks again for the great post!

  25. Ms. Jolene,

    If I could crawl through my computer screen to give you a hug, I would. We are so broke. My husband has a million excuses why he can’t work while I work to make a living and keep a roof over our heads. My daughter calls my husband a “lukewarm Christian”. I can’t change him or who he is. I pray for God to help me be better able to deal with him and everything else in my life.

    After reading your blogs, I don’t feel so bad. Sort of. I’m worried to death about where the money is going to come from to pay our bills every month. I have changed my prayers from “I hope You will provide” to “I KNOW You will provide”. It hasn’t changed my anxiety any, but it helps knowing that you have gone through so much yet kept your faith through it all.

    I just finished reading Job and working on a sermon series with my pastor for it. Boy did I learn a lot from Job. Even though he lost everything and he some times questioned God’s authority, he never once cursed God or blamed him. It was Job’s wife who told him he should just curse God and be done with it all. Not real sound advice, but I can understand why she’d feel that way.

    Sometimes, we don’t know why we go through what we go through. However, it may not be God’s hand in it. Instead there may be other things going on that we don’t know about. Unfortunately, our human emotions can take over and cloud our judgement.

    I am a worrier. It’s just part of who I am. And as women, we crave security and control over our situations. We want to know that we’re going to have a place to live, food to eat and clothes to wear. In today’s society especially, it is impressed upon us that having the newest, latest and greatest is key to our happiness and fulfillment of our lives. I’ll admit that the constant struggle is tiring. Anxiety leaves me so tired at night, but my brain will still race with thoughts of what’s going on and how to fix it.

    I guess there’s really no true “point” to my post, just that it’s humbling and ever so comforting to know that others have been where I am. I need to hang tough and hold on to the Lord’s promises to us that He has plans for us to prosper and not fail. I know there’s a lesson in all this somewhere.

    God Bless.

  26. I love your sweet spirit, Jolene! I see your candor and wit and humor and LOVE in all your writings. Please continue to inspire. To God be the Glory! :)

    I want to give you a hug!

    Love,

    Nikka

  27. Jolene, thank you so much for posting this. This is exactly what we are going through. Add to that, my son has moved in with us for the time being because of a rift between he and his fiancee. And I still have my 18 yr old daughter at home. To say my life has become stressful is an understatement. Now we need a new starter for the car, which is $125 just for the part, which we don’t have. We can’t afford the rent here and there’s no where cheaper to move to. My husband has a temp job, but it will probably only last until the end of Sept or so. I have no medical insurance and have to pay out of pocket for everything. I have a chronic disease which has flared up but I can’t afford to go to the doctor to get the medications I need.

    It just seems like one thing after another after another. My husband and I have been fighting a lot recently. We’re both stressed out. I work 36 hrs/wk and only get paid every 2 weeks, so my measly salary has to last for 2 weeks. I recently did a bible study on the book of Job, and boy do I feel like him at this moment. My mother could be one of Job’s friends. She says that God is angry with me and He’s not listening. My boss says I need to hold on to my money, not spend any more than necessary and not to let ANYONE have my debit card (meaning my husband). I am tired all the time. All I want to do is sleep and forget about my problems. Sometimes you just want the struggle to end. It feels like it never will. You get one problem taken care of when another, more costly one, comes up.

    I know I have to hang in there. You always seem to post stuff at the right time that coincides with what I am going through. To know you have been through it and survived really helps. If I can remember I think I will print this out tomorrow when I am at work.

    Thank you Jolene. God bless.

  28. Oh my goodness, this article has been a true word from God for me today. We lost our home to foreclosure, we have two old vehicles and mine is about to die, our landlord is selling so we have to move, we have no savings, and we’re still trying to come up with a deposit for a new rental. This really gave me peace, and for that, I am so truly thankful. God bless you.

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  1. […] I’m sharing my story as well as ways to find peace during difficult financial times over at A Biblical Marriage today.  Won’t you join me over […]

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