No one needs stress in their life. But money is often the number one stressor that leads to depression and anxiety. In my 15 years as a financial advisor, it never ceases to amaze me how my daily conversations with clients can be so emotional because money is the primary tool that allows us to function in life. Virtually no life decision can be made without giving at least some thought to financial ability. The most painful moments of life, like losing a loved one, a job, or even simply swallowing our pride, will often force us to evaluate our finances. For this reason, I wanted to share a personal experience that just might help you overcome your anxiety and live a life free from the burden of finances.
Money is always on my mind. My entire life I’ve focused on what it can buy me and how it limits me. Early in my career, I began a journey centered around money that has taught me many lessons. For instance, seven years ago with the birth of my first child, I finally grasped the concept that if I were to make one more penny, it wouldn’t make me any happier. Children have a funny way of making you rethink everything you once thought was important. But the most meaningful lesson I ever learned about money was discovered just last year.
When sitting in church one Sunday, I was moved by a verse in Proverbs where a man who sought wisdom made a simple request to God. He prayed, “Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.” When I stopped to ponder the significance of these words, it hit me that this man’s prayer about money summarized my own true desires. I obviously wouldn’t want to starve because my nature as a human being would cause me to covet what someone else had or even possibly do something dishonest out of desperation to feed and protect my family. But I also know myself well enough to realize that having a ridiculous amount of wealth would cause me to become arrogant and puff up with pride over my riches. “Look at me,” I could see myself saying under this scenario, “I’ve done so well for myself.” I would be tempted to completely lose sight of how I achieved this great status, forgetting that it was God, not me, who truly made it possible.
So after reading these words, I asked myself a simple question, what is it that I truly want in my financial life? The answer was much simpler than perhaps it would have been a decade ago. I want to live in a comfortable home, enjoy good restaurants, travel with my family, and have a modestly landscaped backyard that gives me a place to go daily to meditate and relax. I don’t need lavish vacations. But I do want to see the world and experience other cultures and study history, not just for the experiences of doing so, but for the knowledge that comes with it. Yes, these things require income and good management of that income, but they don’t require riches.
What I did next helped to monumentally change my daily attitude about money. I decided to post this verse on my bathroom mirror. Even a year later, I recite the words of this verse daily when I’m putting on my makeup as a humble request to the Lord and to remind me that He will bless me financially according to His own will, not mine.
I hope you, too, will consider posting this verse on your bathroom mirror and making a habit of repeating these words daily. I think you’ll find as I have that, with time, your attitude about money will change because it is only God who can give you the desires of your heart and He will only do so if it’s for your own good.
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