Budgeting: A paradox from a Christian perspective

I have the privilege of putting my daughter in bed each evening. We read a bible story together, have a little conversation about the day and then pray together before bedtime hugs and kisses. The Bible that we read from is a fairly simple children’s Bible, covers the basics from Creation to Revelation. It takes us about 2 months to make it through all the stories. Since I began reading  this one to her about 3 years ago, we have read each story enough times that she can often tell me what happens before I read it. I say all that to tell you that, basically, the stories should be digestible for kids and irrelevant to adults. Of course each story is pertinent to our faith in Christ, but I never expect a lesson for myself to come from our reading together. That was until the other night.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to learning new things and trying to control each aspect of my life. I like that control. That is where some of the blessing comes when we budget. I love having control of where our money is going. It gives me a sense of power. That same power can be debilitating. When I feel that control, I can forget that the Lord is truly in control. I get tunnel vision. I know what the numbers are and how each month should go financially. The same power that gives me control over my spending also can make me think that I am in control.

Nothing makes me question myself or my ability to control my budget quite like change does. Over the last 2 weeks, I have felt that change. I transferred positions at work. I sacrificed a supervisor title, more pay and a job that I knew, for a new position in a department I know nothing about, with no title and a smaller paycheck. WHAT AM I DOING? That question settled in on me a few days ago. I was in the midst of training for the new position and feeling vulnerable. I knew nothing. I was defeated. The enemy saw an easy mark. I started telling myself I had made a terrible decision, what did I do to my family? Why did I sacrifice their well being? I am going backwards in the organization. This created a panic in me. I was snowballing in negativity. Everything I could think bad about myself I was thinking. We were never going to get out of debt. I was never going to learn this new position. Tasha had secret resentment out for me. All of this was made up and irrational, but I was living in it and couldn’t see the forest through the trees. I was miserable, and miserable to be around.

It was a normal night, Karrington was hiding in her bed. She loves to play hide and go seek when she knows I am coming in to tuck her into bed. She pulls the covers over her head and I pretend to not know where she is. I ‘found’ her and grabbed her Bible. I opened it up to the story for the night and began reading. “Jesus Teaches on a Mountain” Matthew 5: 1-12, 6:25-34. ” Look at the birds,” said Jesus. “Do they store up food in a barn? No. God feeds them. Look at the flowers, they don’t work or make clothes. God dresses them in lush leaves and pretty pedals.” Then Jesus said “You are much more important than birds. You are much more important than flowers. So do not worry. If God takes care of them, He will take care of you.” BAM! Like I got smacked in the face, my eyes got all misty. (Doesn’t take much, I am a crier) Right there, kneeling on the side of the bed, I had the realization that my Heavenly Father loves me and wants the very best for me. Just like I feel toward Karrington, He feels towards me. Amazing. How have I missed this before? It is a truth I could have told anyone at anytime, but convincing myself was another story. God loves me. He wants what is best for me and will provide all the way along. Man, that is a relief. No, I am not going to quit working and rely on the Lord to send manna from Heaven to feed me and my family, but I am going to quit trying to make things work the way I think they need to. I am going to stick to budgeting and being responsible with His money, but I am not going to worry about how long it will take to get to our goals. He knows the desires of our hearts and will help us toward our goals. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. A few student loans doesn’t scare Him. I will rely on Him.

I am finding immense freedom in knowing that my budget is a tool to get to our goals. It is a tool that takes my responsibility and ‘know how’ to manage. It does not, however, confine me or the Lord. Blessings will come, so will hardship. When I understand that He is in control and He wants what is best for me, then all else will fall as it should. I will enjoy the ride and appreciate the process on the way. What a freeing experience that will be, and one that I need to keep my sanity! Praise the Lord.


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