I don’t have any idea why I never shared this.
It’s seriously one of the biggest anxieties I’ve ever had.
This anxiety has manifested itself in productivity. Which is probably why I have held on to it and paraded it like a badge of honor. It gives me a sense of control now. It’s also playing a part in my desire to date, my self-esteem, the way I parent, and how I navigate life.
My heart is beating even faster right now just the idea of surrendering this to God. (But YOU KNOW I’m gonna do it!)
What had its roots in my desire to be a better financial steward has quickly morphed into a source of control for me. (And we alllllllll know, dear reader, what happens when “I” get in control…it IS going to go south faster than you can say #DebtFreeCommunity!)
Years ago, I was in a relationship where not only did I not “have to be concerned” with finances, I actively participated in running into poor financial situations AND ignored my God-given gifts/talents to steward finances in a godly way.
I was a “kept woman”, and I knew better. I would feel The Holy Spirit nudging me. I was told I didn’t HAVE to work…This, my friends, is some people’s DREAM. So I went from 3 jobs to 1…filling much of my time volunteering with my sorority (YESSS DST!!!), Junior League, and the American Cancer Society. I didn’t chase money, I worked at a company where I was passionate about the vision and purpose but was paid poorly. I fully embraced the opportunity to “sit back, relax,” and be taken care of.
I have hated credit cards for the better part of 20 years. (I got into a sticky situation with Discover card in college…I know…I know…a story for another day.) Yet, I sat silently as my spouse made poorer and poorer financial decisions for us. Well, let’s not call it “silently”…because I certainly “benefitted” from those poor decisions in the form of gaining material things. We had credit cards (well HE had credit cards in HIS name that I actively charged on…) for purchases like groceries, target runs, gas, and gym memberships. No, I wasn’t going on wild shopping sprees at the mall but, I WAS NOT being a godly partner and INSISTING on knowing the financial particulars, nor was I comfortable doing so…I had tried that…and it always turned into arguments about trust (which was rooted in FACTS).
You can’t be “hiding” things that you never allow your spouse to address, right?
So while “I” was credit card “free” during those years, “I” was NOT…because “I” was a “We”. (ya dig?)
…I promise this is going somewhere
So let’s fast forward to 2014, I’m pregnant. The marriage is unraveling, and so are OUR finances–
Sidenote: you see how quickly it turned into a group effort when the finances needed to be addressed and fixed…IMMEDIATELY…why did it have to get to that point? Because I believe, God had to allow me to get REALLLLY uncomfortable with the mess.
The one item that was SOLELY in “my” name (but “he” was paying the bill because “I” couldn’t afford it on my teacher salary) was my BMW X5…now mind you, this was the second one and AFTER the Mercedes C-300. I’m only sharing this as an example of HOW QUICKLY “worldly treasures” can dull your GOD GIVEN SENSE if you let them! And I got a few calls from BMW Financial (I just told him that he needed to call them back because they were calling…)
Since it was HIS bill in MY name…I know…I know…SO SELFISH, RECKLESS He told me not to worry about it…Even though I KNEW THERE WAS FINANCIAL RUIN AHEAD…I just kept on… in 2014, I wasn’t spending anymore, I was working everything extra that I could at the school because I KNEW we were going to need it. (AND BOY DID WE!)
One day I waddled out to where my car was parked outside the school and…it was GONE…
You guessed it…
I was MAD…I think this was the point that I said TO HECK with all the walking “blind”… Sitting in silence while this relationship and our finances take a nose dive…I don’t need stuff…I needed US to be financially secure and NOT homeless.
(ESPECIALLY with a baby on the way…and that vehicle WAS JUST the TIP of the ICEBERG of the financial mess! I still don’t know ALL of the details and the divorce has been final for more than a year!)
Talk about ANXIOUSNESS!!! So of course, after I was asked for a divorce…(yeah, not sure I told y’all that part or not…the divorce wasn’t my idea…BUT GOD!) at the end of 2014, I went cuckoo with control of finances. I found a better job to increase “MY” income (because NOW, he didn’t want to be with me…so I’m dippin’ bruh) I went into survival mode. Because I couldn’t afford to live in the house (that was in HIS name) and he didn’t have a job, I was able to move with our daughter to my sister-friends house to finish out the school year and figure out next steps to save money and NEVER be in the position that I (WE) were in again.
Admittedly, I was an emotional wreck…I was mad. I was hurting. I was mourning (sometimes I still do.) But the ability to work 3 jobs while being a first-time mom, paying for an amazing attorney (but WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY!!!), and cleaning up the financial mess…GOD BLESSES ME at EVERY SINGLE TURN!!!
Turns out that God continues to make provision…(DUH!)
Fast forward again…2018
I’ve been working, saving, budgeting, CONTROLLING finances to the point where I allow it to make me anxious…
EVERYTHING makes me think about “can I afford x?”, “I need to make sure there’s enough for y!”, “I need an emergency fund for my emergency fund!” “I don’t want to be a poor example of a financial steward.” Save, save, save, only use cash, SELL ALL THE THINGS!!
In SPITE of my ANXIETY, God has provided. The attorney was paid in FULL (2 years of work, countless motions, discovery, depositions, hearings, and an ALMOST trial, BUT GOD!). 20K in my student loans has been paid off (there’s more but God is working that out too), NO consumer debt, AND…A FULL-TUITION SCHOLARSHIP TO LAW SCHOOL!!!! (I’ve got a WHOLE NEW POST ABOUT THIS, once I finish crying and praise dancing!)
And yet, HERE I AM…worrying about finances again…I’m anxious about dating. Partly, because I don’t want anyone’s financial mess (and to deal with someone who isn’t willing to be a partner in cleaning up the mess) partly, for other reasons!
I beat myself up when I don’t pay extra on my student loans, I spend HOURS just scrolling on Instagram, double tapping, as if it’s going to give me the motivation to do anything outside of feed this financial anxiety. I’m not saying social media is bad…or that the scrolling is causing me anxiety. BUT WHAT I AM SAYING IS it can be! (insert “the Amanda Seales shrug”)
I’m sharing this because I KNOW there’s someone who needs to release their anxiety, trust God to do what He says he’ll do, take your hands out the pot, do the work, but not let the work (or hustle, checks, whatever) take control. I know that I needed it but maybe you do too.
Is there a situation that God has delivered you from that you have now grabbed the reigns and taken control of? Is this a godly type of control (like the fruit of the spirit in Galatians) or a source of anxiety that is NOT godly?
Lord, I thank you for your love and provision. I thank you for providing the jobs, the hustle and grind, the dreams and hopes both spoken and unspoken. I pray now that the hustle, grind, dreams, work, and hopes help to keep my focus on YOU, My provider and not on the method or mode of your provision! Thank you for the wisdom to budget, the strength to execute on your gentle nudgings and the sense to recognize and give you glory, honor, and praise! Please forgive me for taking on more than I should. Checking my #DebtFreeCommunity Instagram before I open my Bible, working towards “independence”, and using social media as a source of inspiration more than I should. Forgive me for making #GirlBoss goals instead of #GODISBOSS goals. Help me Lord, and whoever is reading this, to channel the gifts you give us to build your kingdom, to do your will, and to TRUST you above any and everything else. Help the reader who is silent about the financial despair. Break the stronghold of pride, Father. Father, use the shame and stigma from both the haves and the have-nots. Help, us to talk openly about finances, about stewarding this life you’ve given. Lord, I release my anxiety about finances to you right now! I know that you will provide. You continue to provide. I will continue to follow YOUR promptings. Glory to YOU and YOU ALONE Father, for NOTHING is impossible with you. Your word tells us to CAST our cares upon you. I’m casting this particular care that I didn’t even realize was becoming an idol in my life! You care for us! ALL of us. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord right now for providing rest even in the most anxious of situations! In Jesus’ name, Amen.