I’ve heard a lot of really tough stories lately about people who have really had a hard time with their finances. They’ve each been hit with an extraordinary burden to bear and it clearly is taking its toll on their well-being. Unfortunately, I know this happens to thousands of people every day. Sometimes it’s the calls from bill collectors. Sometimes it’s the scary letters. Sometimes it’s the arguments with your spouse. Whatever causes it, financial burnout is a real and serious possibility when you’re under ANY financial stress.
Consider this: you were working at a great company that paid excellent wages and offered full benefits. The horizon looked great for you so you were spending lots of money building the lifestyle expected of someone with your earnings. Then, six months ago you were laid off from that job. You spent a month reeling emotionally, another three months finding a new job and so now four months after it all happened you’re back at it. You work hard at this new job and make a reasonable wage, but it isn’t as much as you were used to. Plus, since you didn’t have any savings, you are now 3-4 months behind on all your bills and collectors are constantly calling. Thankfully, you’ve built some discipline into your life by developing a workable budget, living on less than you make and been sacrificial by selling your car to buy something cheaper. You’ve done all the right things but life is hard. Now what?
Keep going! There are two outcomes of those who go through a period of deep financial challenges: 1) they buckle down, pull through and have a great story to share with the world of how they overcame huge obstacles or 2) they give up, file bankruptcy (when you’re not really bankrupt) and build the mentality of “I can’t believe all this happened to me.” My encouragement (and my chiding) is this – things will happen to you, but it is up to you to deal with them in the right way. Although I know it sounds judgmental, there are way too many people out there today who believe life is out of their control. They believe things happen to them and all they can do is react to those things. Those are the people who expect magical things to happen to their finances even when the math doesn’t work or expect you and me (the taxpayers) to bail them out of a mess they should have never gotten into.
I want to challenge you with this thought: instead of allowing things to happen to you, why don’t you MAKE THINGS HAPPEN FOR YOU? Of course you’ll have to react to certain things in life, but so much in life can be solved if you’ll take responsibility for a situation, develop a plan to succeed and then execute on that plan! I know things may be tough for you and it is hard to persevere. I also know that if you don’t persevere now, it will just get easier and easier to give up on things until one day, you wake up and truly believe there is nothing in life you are capable of doing. In your finances, in your marriage, in your relationships with your kids, in your walk with Christ: don’t sit back and wait for something to happen – make it happen. As Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV) No matter how hard you think it is, you CAN do it!