Most of us have had to deal with strained finances at one point or another. It’s stressful, and if you have a family, it can be even harder on you. When your resources are thin, you’re struggling just to get by, and there aren’t any straightforward options in sight, it’s easy for your faith to be shaken.
However, with the right mindset and a commitment to your faith, you can pull yourself out of any financial slump.
God doesn’t care about how much money you make. Remember that wealth is not an indication of God’s favor, nor is poverty a punishment for your sins. Instead, your tough financial times may only be a trial, and a temporary one at that.
Here’s what you can do in the meantime:
Recognize the good things in your life. First, though it may prove difficult, try to forget about your financial woes for a moment and think about all the good things in your life. Do you still have your health? Do you have a close circle of friends and family members, whom you enjoy? Are you still able to read your favorite books at the library and wander around your local parks? You are alive and breathing, and have countless blessings to enjoy—even if you’re going through a financial struggle. Taking the time to recognize those blessings will immediately relieve your stress and remind you that there are more important things in life than money.
Refinance. Next, if you’re struggling with things like credit cards, mortgages, or auto loan payments, consider refinancing. It’s a simple step that can help you out of a temporary bind, or reduce the amount of interest you pay. Some credit card companies, for example, may give you a lower rate just because you asked for it. This is also a good time to evaluate your spending habits and see what you really need in life.
Minimize. Minimalist lifestyles lend themselves to the Christian faith; with fewer material possessions, you’ll be less materialistic, less distracted, and you’ll have more time and space in your life to focus on what’s truly important. Sort through your possessions and start selling anything you don’t truly need; you can use the money in the short-term, and in the long-term, you can strive to maintain a leaner way of living.
Rely on your community. The Christian community exists, at least in part, to help alleviate poverty and support others. If you’re truly in need of assistance, you can turn to your local church and community members for support. They may be able to help connect you to different resources, including sources of food or job opportunities, and even if they can’t, they can at least be there for you as your friends and neighbors.
Take what you need. If you’re accepting help, in the form of donations, food contributions, or any other means of support, don’t take advantage of the system. Don’t feel guilty about relying on others—that’s what they’re there for—but don’t take any more than what you need. There are still people out there less fortunate than you, and they need access to these resources as well.
Improve yourself. If you’re out of work or if you’ve hit an unfortunate low point in your life, this is an opportune moment to improve yourself. How did you get here? What decisions did you make that led you down this path? What do you wish you had that you don’t currently have—skills, knowledge, or connections? Talk to those around you and study yourself. Take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, and consider what you could to do to be a better person, inside and out.
Give back to those who helped you. Eventually, you’ll achieve a better financial situation. It may not come quickly or in the way you expect, but if you keep your faith and continue working hard, eventually, your financial straits will disappear. When they do, it’s your responsibility to remember the people and organizations who helped you out of those tough financial times, and repay them any way that you can. That might mean making a donation from your newfound wealth, or just contributing your time to help others who reach a position like yours.
You might be financially burdened for most of your life, or you may encounter a windfall of extreme wealth. To a Christian, it shouldn’t matter. It’s true you can do more good things with more money, but more money often comes with more temptations, and more problems. If you have enough food to eat and a safe place to sleep, count yourself lucky, and remember that God doesn’t reward His people with material wealth.