Tag Archives: provision

Mental Health Series Pt. V: Finance.

(Note: I want to begin with a disclaimer that I am very much still figuring things out in this area. However, I’ll leave you with words from the Bible and some thoughts and ideas I’ve gleaned through sermons, readings, conversations…Please feel free to add your thoughts and what you’ve learned in the comments as well!)

Finances are a tremendous source of stress for people all over the world. In fact, I’m sure that if you were to survey people about their biggest sources of stress, finance would be in the top 3 for the majority of people. Finance equates in a big way with our ability to survive and achieve a certain quality of life. It even affects our relationships; one cause of marital discord and divorce is disagreement over finances. As with all aspects of our lives, the lenses with which we view finance is influenced by our faith.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So 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. ” Matthew 6:25-33

Jesus tells us clearly that our Heavenly Father is looking out for us. He will provide for us, and we are valuable to Him! We are to place our priorities on the Kingdom of God first. He also warns us that worrying is not productive. Worrying doesn’t take away our troubles or find a solution. Instead of worrying about your situation, pray for solutions!

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

Did you know that Jesus was not talking about an actual sewing needle? He was talking about a narrow gate into Jerusalem, which was named “Eye of the Needle.” In order to get through this gate, all of the possessions that a camel was carrying needed to be unloaded. The camel could then get through, but would also need to hunch down and go through very carefully in order to fit. It seems then, that we must rid ourselves of attachment to material possessions. Wealth does not disqualify one from the Kingdom of God. It is what one does with the wealth that makes a difference. I believe that peace will come to our minds and hearts when we stop trying to keep up with others, and we realize that our greatest treasures are not to be found materially. When we learn to find joy in our relationships with God and other people, and find the beauty that surrounds us in our lives, we will be free from much stress.

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“Eye of the Needle Gate, Jerusalem”–Photo from Biblepicturegallery.com

However, we know that we cannot survive without food, shelter, and the other necessities of life. God provides, as we read in the passage from Matthew. Though God provides for us, we cannot simply sit idle and wait. We need to do our part. He has given us many gifts and talents to be used. In certain economies, jobs may not be available in the area you studied or have experience. Learning a new skill and finding a creative way to apply it can be a great way to increase your income. It can also be a good way to lessen your stress level and learn not to rely on one employer. (And sometimes, despite our efforts, God does provide in amazing ways without our expecting it!)

Many times, one’s workplace, boss, or coworkers can negatively affect their mental health. Finding a new job isn’t always feasible. In these cases, a counselor can be helpful in dealing with stress and areas of concern. Finding healthy ways to cope for as long as you are in that environment will be of benefit to you.

One last point: get rid of debt, and stay out. Debt can cause great stress. Depending on one’s level of debt, it can also take much money away from the other needs of life and cause you to be overworked. Dave Ramsey‘s books can be a good place to start in learning more about living debt-free and how to go about the process. Additionally, some loans will also allow you to pay based on income; look into this if you need to.

Takeaway points:

  • Pray for and actively work toward financial solutions. There are many aspects to this. Perhaps you could start with very small investments when you have a little extra money. You could also start carrying a business card and be prepared when networking connections come along. Learning new skills that can lead to more income is another aspect.
  • Curb worrying and turn to prayer instead. Train yourself to turn your worries to prayer.
  • Find healthy ways to deal with workplace stress. A counselor could help you with this. These articles also have some good ideas. Sometimes an environment is toxic, and you will need to find a healthier workplace situation for your mental health.
  • Free yourself from debt, and don’t let yourself get into debt again. When you think about it, debt is actually a form of slavery! Too many people are in debt beyond their means, causing great distress.
  • Learn to find your greatest treasure in God, relationships, and the simple beauties of life.
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Photo by Peter Lloyd on Unsplash

Next up: food and mental health! (It will be the last post in the series!)

Past posts from the series:

Mental Health Series Pt. 1: Relationships

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling

Mental Health Series Pt. III: Faith

Mental Health Series Pt. IV: Higher Education

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Blessing is Beyond Fear

I have written before about open doors and my dream come true. Finally, the dream was almost here!

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The week of my trip had arrived! However, I wasn’t feeling the jubilation that I had anticipated. In fact, I was feeling completely stressed out and weary. I didn’t realize how much my stressful job had taken a toll on me, especially nearly a year of work with barely any time off. I got sick days before leaving. Two days before my flight there was a big work event for my program, which didn’t help my stress or my health. Time was short and I felt like more and more was being added to my list to do before leaving. I felt overwhelmed.

I called a friend for support. It was the night before my flight and I was so worn out. My friend was firm with me and very honestly told me that he thought I was afraid & that my sickness was caused by apprehension. He told me to stop worrying so much about the packing and other details and to get ready for a great trip. I pondered his words. Even though I had dreamed for years and years of Africa, perhaps deep down I was a little afraid. I’m accustomed to my predictable daily life. So much was unknown about this trip. I was definitely going to be thrown out of my comfort zone. I was afraid of the unknowns and what could go wrong instead of being joyful about my dream finally coming true. 

I finally got packed and stopped worrying about what I could be forgetting. I still had a minor cold on the plane ride, but my stress melted away as the plane traveled closer to the place I had loved and dreamed of visiting for so long. I let go of all my worries from home and prayed and journaled on the flight. From beginning to end, the trip was a blessing. Why had I been so apprehensive? It was for nothing! The trip was one of the biggest blessings of my life. The way the Lord provided for this trip was a miracle, and so was all the ways that He provided and worked while we were there. I have been to Africa. It was the first time, but I know…It is only the beginning.forblog.jpg

When we are afraid, there are blessings beyond the fear. Let go of the fear you tightly grip onto, and let God! You never know what the blessings are that lay beyond your fears.

On Faith, Finances, and Being Rich.

Lately I’ve been talking to my roommate about the issue of finances. When we have an opportunity to save in one area, it seems that unexpected expenses arise in another area (or areas). In times when we believe that we’re (finally) going to start growing our bank accounts, it just doesn’t happen.

But you know what? Jehovah-Jireh always provides. It might not be through a steadily growing bank account, but we always have what we need, and more.

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How does He provide? Through a loving friend cooking a meal or paying for your groceries. Sometimes, it’s unexpected money that shows up, like a long-awaited refund, or a side job that you didn’t expect. Or a friend giving you an item of clothing they no longer need, and it just happens to fit.

Financially, I think he wants us to trust and rely on Him continually, rather than storing up treasure. Remember Matthew 6:19-21?

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Obviously, we are called to be stewards of what we do have and not to mismanage our finances. But I think the Lord likes to test our faith in this area. When we trust in the area of provision, it shows that we realize the Lord’s goodness and reliance as Father and Provider. And when we keep our heart set on God, we are seeking the real treasure.

I can’t say that I’m on my foreseeable way to becoming a millionaire, or even

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much closer to not living paycheck to paycheck. But I can say that I’m rich in the ways that do matter–a supportive family, an inspiring roommate (and a place that costs less than half as much as I used to pay in rent!), and a meaningful job that does manage to pay the bills and allow me to serve others. Most of all, I have Jesus, and He promises an eternal life. 

If I have Jesus? I am absolutely rich.

With Jesus, we have everything.