As I write this I’m recovering from what I would call a situation of ‘failed faith’. But, my ‘battle’ didn’t last that long and I’m sharing hit now so you might be encouraged and strengthened in your own situation.
We aren’t actually in a battle, though. Jesus defeated the devil and gave us who believe the Power through the Holy Spirit to enforce the decree that has been written by the Courts of Heaven.
I’m able to write this because today I know something I didn’t know when I started my career writing and teaching. I remember too well, spiralling into an abyss of despair that lasted weeks on end from similar situations as I did today. The enemy knows our weaknesses and will use every opportunity he can to remind us of them.
If you look at the financial facts, you are too easily swayed to make decisions from the stronghold of financial thinking that has been shaped by the culmination of the learning and experiences you’ve had to date. Some of this will be cultural, some will be by watching and listening to people around us, some will be formal learning, some from professional advice and some from the experiences we’ve had in the past.
We inadvertently build strongholds around our finances that are controlled by the enemy. This means our dreams, effectiveness for the Kingdom, and even our destinies because are contaminated by fear because we look at the financial facts and set up methods for dealing with those facts, instead of holding fast to God’s truth and the purposes (mission) He has set out for each of us as His children.
There is nothing earth-shattering about how learning is shaped, until you start to consider possibilities beyond your current reality – especially when those considerations include a heart for something better in order to be more effective in sharing the Gospel with others.
Let me briefly share how my life has been impacted in this way so you might identify similar kind of ‘weird’ things that influence your financial decision-making.
Think for example, about something small, like how you decide which items to buy at the grocery store, and how you decide to pay for your groceries. Do you buy something because it looks good, because it’s a staple and you need it, or do you look for the bare minimum and cheapest price to ‘stretch your dollar’? I would never advocate careless or reckless spending, but remember the concept of ‘how you do anything is how you do everything’?
Now think about a bigger financial decision like buying a car, a house, going on a vacation, applying for a job, or leaving your job or career, sending your kids to school, what kind of insurance you’re going to buy (or not), what kind of investments and how much money you’re going to invest (or not), …
Are your decisions primarily made based on what you can see or not see in the financial details?
Or are your decisions based on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding you in the direction you should go
Truth isn’t the same as facts. Facts are obviously important, but truth (God’s truth) is not always apparent in the facts. More on this in the weeks and months ahead, for the time being let that sink in and here’s my ‘mission and method’ story:
In 1999, I sold a successful investment practice to teach and write about what I determined was a missing link between financial education and everyday financial decisions. That same year our daughter was visited by an angel and my husband, Joe and I bolted back into church after years of nothing spiritual in our lives.
In 2001, we both invited Jesus into our hearts and within a few months our comfortable, high income, worldly lifestyle experienced loss after loss including a bankruptcy that everyone we worked with had the same resounding message, ‘Oh… this should be straight forward, I don’t know why this is happening… Oh, I’ve never seen this happen before…’
The lessons I learned and street-smart strategies (methods) I discovered during this time became the beginning of the foundation for the 12 step-system that my corporate business, MoneyMinding was built from. That business initially did very well, until the demons I held onto from past struggles lead me to take on my first partner despite niggling doubts in my spirit.
That ‘trusting in people’ spirit lead to a close call with business failure. I maxed out a credit card to make payroll, but a group of supporters gathered around to put in place an immediate action plan to produce quick results. That method provided the necessary finances to carry on! It might not seem like much to some people, but it was just what was necessary at the time: over $10,000 in 10 days!
You’ll hear more about this soon also, as the process we followed then will be available for you to implement yourself. And, remember ‘how you do anything is how you do everything’ so this ‘method’ will work for $100, $100,000 or likely $100 million, but i haven’t done that yet :).
I have used the method many times though for different amounts in different circumstances, and am excited to share it for you to be able to realize short term, quick financial fixes as necessary in accordance with God’s plans and purposes (your mission) for your life.
As you can read in my testimony in the Proverbs 1022 Prayer Strategy for Financial Increase, getting back on track after that first situation wasn’t the end of the story. I still had a mission to deliver the empowering financial education for everyday life and i had methods that worked great until I ended up contracting with someone intending to use me and my business to commit an illegal financial transaction.
This story is a whole book in itself, because it gave me the unique opportunity to be inside a fraud. It also lead to the place where my mission changed; God came into my / our life in a Powerful personal way. Instead of hovering around in ‘biblical principles’ and ‘warm fuzzies during worship on Sunday mornings’ He came with gentle whispers and strong assurances of His goodness.
Over the years, I have had plenty of opportunity to refine methods for business and financial success.
And the enemy knows that too. He will continue to remind us of past failures, weaknesses, and anything else that will cause fear and doubt to influence our thinking.
As soon as you start to make financial decisions from fear, it’s not the Holy Spirit leading the way. This is true whether you’re deciding what type of apples to buy at the grocery store, or what term of mortgage, type of investment or insurance, or other bigger financial decisions.
Having been through a bankruptcy and other financial challenges, I know the importance of your credit rating – not just for loans, but for work and even for volunteer positions. I know it’s a fact of life in our society. I don’t like it, but it’s one of those things we need to understand and treat respectfully. Your credit rating isn’t just about using credit anymore!
Back to today’s story: For about a week my husband has been receiving a phone call from a collection firm. We know all the bills are paid, so were waiting for them to leave a voice message to hear what they had to say. Yesterday he got a collection notice to ‘the estate of…’ We laughed because my husband is obviously very much alive and well.
Today, I had the pleasure of calling the collection company to inform them they had the wrong guy. Except, after being tossed around to a few different people, I learned that yes, there is a mix-up, but no it’s not going to go away that easily. The account in question was opened at an address that indeed we did live in, in the early 1990’s!! The amount owing is only $195, but the company has reported the ‘bad debt’ to the credit bureau so even if we paid the bill and wrote it off as annoyance the situation doesn’t go away that quickly.
Clearly this is an unusual circumstance. The account was opened 5 years after we had moved out of that apartment and was closed only 8 months ago, and we had nothing to do with it during the 20 or so years is was apparently open and being paid. The company who initiated the collection says the only way to deal with it now is by making a police report… sigh… an inconvenience for sure.
My ‘faith failure’, however, came because I let the demons from the past weird circumstances influence my thinking. Fear of loss, failure, struggle, etc. dominated my thoughts for about an hour or so and the memories of despair surfaced.
The truth, however, is that Jesus teaches to fear God, not man or anything to do with money:
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:4-7).
What are the ‘demons from your past’ that throw you into fear, doubt, and financial uncertainty? They don’t have to be from big situations to have a big influence on your thinking! In my case, it was $195, with no extra zeros!
The key to fulfilling this mission is strengthening relationships with Jesus in order to break strongholds of thinking to enable new knowledge to be gained and wisdom to be applied to realize financial increase!!!
So…while facts and methods are important – the mission is accomplished with the basics: The Word of God and prayer!