As the season of Lent continues so too does our journey towards healing and wholeness in Christ. Recognizing that wellness is multi-dimensional, we have been exploring the various areas of well-being. During the first week we took a closer look at vocational wellness with the help of Sparky and last week Amanda guided us through an exploration of emotional well-being.
This week we continue our series by taking a closer look at financial wellness. Money is often a topic that people feel guarded about or uncomfortable discussing. Yet, if we avoid learning, examining, and growing in this important area of our life, other areas of our well-being will be affect. According to the America Psycological Association, “Concerns about money, work and the economy top the list of most frequently cited sources of stress.” This stress is bound to impact our health, relationships, and/or emotional well-being. Luckily, we do not need to stay in that place. With God’s help, we can pursue wellness in all areas of our life, even our finances. Let’s journey together.
According the designers of the Wholeness Wheel, a learning and discernment tool that illustrates multi-dimensional health, “being financially well involves making decisions based on our values, as reflected in the way we save, spend, and share. Tending to one’s financial well-being in this way requires us to be resilient, generous, and focused on sustainability.” Financial health is a marathon, not a sprint.
Identify Your Values & Priorities"
You’ve may have heard the verse in the Bible that says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Or perhaps you have heard other quotes related to the connection between our money and our values or priorities. It seems these areas can be closely connected. Identifying what you value can guide your financial journey.
Free Yourself to be Generous
When we choose to organize our financial lives to focus on resilience, we are financially well. We cannot control the vagaries of the economy, the viability of our congregations, or the health of those we love, including ourselves. Things happen. Our most deeply held assumptions and plans can be disrupted in a moment. That’s why positioning ourselves to be resilient is so powerful for our well-being. Because if we trust that we can recover from anything that comes our way, if our objective is not a bank account total, then we are freed to be generous with the world around us. If we can trust that “God will provide” because we know our financial house is in order and our basic needs can be met, then we can set about to be agents of God’s provision for others whose basic needs may not be met, whether our currency is time, talent, or treasure.
Many of us have not been taught the basics of personal finance. As stewards, perhaps we are called to enter into that world far enough to free ourselves for generosity. Sometimes, being faithful is about doing the math. Perhaps a step towards health includes reaching out to a trusted friend or even a financial advisor.
Take Time of Reflect on Your Finances
It is easy to earn and spend money without much thought. It is often such a normal part of life that it can become automatic. However, pausing to think and pray about your financial situation can help you take a step in the right direction towards financial well-being.
Some questions to consider:
How does the way I live my financial life reflect my own deepest values? In what areas is my financial life not well aligned with my values?
“Financial health is not about being rich. It’s about being resilient.” How is this true in my life? What have I done to improve my financial resilience?
What kind of a financial example am I? What kind of financial legacy do I want to leave (think in terms of financial behaviors rather than dollar amounts)?
How does caring for your financial well-being affect other areas of your life?
Great Provider, we praise you for all that you have given us, recognizing that every good gift comes from You. Teach us to manage our blessings with wisdom, resilience, and generosity. Use us as a conduit to share your love with the world around us. Amen.
Special thanks to Portico, a ministry of the ELCA for many of these great insights and tools to help us lead healthier lives for the sake of the world.