Three facts you need to know if you're anxious about money
It’s the end of the month, the bills are still coming in but payday is still a week away. The fridge is bare, and you’re running low on toilet paper.
What happens now, God? Do I buy groceries and eat the fee for being late on the electricity bill? How will I make it to the first of the month?
I don't see how this is going to work. One cost will come up, and then something else. I can't even think of all the little expenses, let alone the big picture of a budget!
Money is one of the most commonly reported causes of stress and anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. Even when we’re taking steps to get our finances in order, breaking the broke cycle takes time. So how do we choose to react when there are more bills than money and more needs than resources?
I’d love to say that my first reaction is, “It might be tight, but God will get us through!" But more often, I’m overcome with worry, nervousness, or unease.
Anxiety always predicts the worst. Faith assumes the best. When our minds are focused on the imminent fallout, we can miss the work God wants to do in the here and now.
Facts to Remember When Financial Anxiety Strikes
1. Anxiety may contain elements of truth.
Anxiety is a lie that anticipates the worst, so you may feel that you will never have enough money or will never get out of debt. The best lies contain a grain of truth in order to be convincing (Matthew 4:1-7).
Maybe you do need to make changes in handling your finances, but don’t confuse anxiety with God’s conviction. Conviction leads to action; anxiety leads to despair. God wants His children to be filled with joy and peace (Romans 15:13). Ask God what is actually true about your financial anxiety. Take any necessary actions and ask Him to help you let go of the stress.
2. Anxiety shrinks when brought to light.
When dealing with anxiety, health professionals recommend writing down triggers for anxious feelings, along with resulting thoughts. Once on paper, cross out the lies and write in truth. This is effective because seeing your thoughts written down makes it easier to attack the lies, instead of allowing stress and confusion to grow. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Bringing to light the lies that cause anxiety is a step toward defeating them.
When anxiety predicts the worst, Christ provides His best.
3. Anxiety can be overcome.
God is a good God who wants good things for His children. God doesn’t just recommend, but commands us not to worry (Philippians 4:6, Matthew 6:25-34, and 1 Peter 5:7). Maybe you’re struggling with anxiety about money right now that is beginning to feel out of control. Don't be afraid to ask for help; counselors call depression and anxiety the "common colds" of what they see, so you are definitely not alone. Even though it is painful, there is hope, and remember that God wants to use even the most painful aspects of our lives for good (Romans 8:28).
When anxiety predicts the worst, Christ provides His best. Jesus clearly promises this in Matthew 6:31-34:
“...do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We may need to make financial changes and reach out for help, but God will be there for every step. He is just that great of a God.