For many, dealing with money is a lifetime struggle. There are many reasons why this is so. First, money is a highly emotional topic. There is not an emotion we experience that is not tied to money in some way. Second, we spend 12 years in school, and maybe another four years in college, and learn nothing about money. It’s one of the most complex issues we deal with in life, and we get no formal education on how to deal with it.
Finally, there is the spiritual triangle between man, money, and God. Who is going to be the real God in one’s life? Will the real God be money or God? I have always found it ironic that In God We Trust is on the back of the dollar bill rather than the front.
So, is it any surprise that we struggle with money? How do we reverse that struggle and create real freedom in our lives?
The answer lies in understanding what places us on that road of struggle, and what keeps us there.
First, it is essential to recognize the process that goes on behind the scenes. Most people have no idea where they are spending money. It is critical to track your spending. If you have read my writings over the years, I am not a fan of budgeting. I follow a process I created called boundary planning, which I explain in detail in my book Deceptive Money LINK. Also, watch this video on why I don’t believe in budgeting. The key component to boundary planning is tracking your spending.
So why does the majority of America not practice any tracking or planning? Simply put, what you don’t know won’t hurt you or challenge you.
I believe that people don’t track their money because they don’t want to face reality. If they faced reality, then they might have to change. If they change, they might have to go through the painful process of giving up a habit that brings them short-term pleasure. If they give up their short-term pleasure, they must face what is interpreted as unhappiness or pain. Could it be the pain of change that most avoid is the by-product of the wrong focus?
So, most hope that things work out financially for them. Unfortunately, hope is not a great formula for long-term financial success. So, if this puts most on the road of economic struggle, what keeps one on that road? We make money our God. Now don’t get me wrong. Most people don’t declare that they are making money a god. It is mostly done on an unconscious, subtle level.
The key to financial and overall happiness can be found in Matthew 6:24, where Christ says explicitly that we can only have one God in our lives, and it will be the choice of money or the real thing. This is pretty straight forward. Yet, it is easy for all of the reasons mentioned above, to continue to look towards money as the God in our lives.
Understanding and living a Matthew 6:24 life is about understanding the difference between the God of money and God. The God of money creates the illusions of happiness, confidence, success, security, etc. These are illusions that don’t last a lifetime. God gives us the real thing.
The only way we get off of the road of financial struggle, and on the road of Prudent Stewardship, is by daily commitment to stewardship principles, and surrender to a Matthew 6:24 life.
Bob Brooks is the daily host of the Prudent Money Radio Show. He writes about stewardship and financial topics Monday through Thursday each week. For questions or advice, feel free to contact Bob at 972-386-0384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.