by Jenny Smith
I woke up thinking about bills and immediately started running through a gamut of emotions – from fear to thankfulness. And all these feelings hit me before my hands had even reached for the first cup of coffee. As I stood waiting on my coffee to brew, I thought of a verse that had stuck in my mind since I knew I would be confronting my pile of bills today: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” Psalm 37:25 (NIV).
I find so much comfort in that verse knowing that God will never forsake us and that he has promised to feed us. When I look at my stack of bills to be paid, the worry isn’t about my family starving. But the fact that we’re not going hungry isn’t going to help me pay those bills.
There are real people in very desperate situations for whom this verse would be their hearts’ cry. But for many of us, food isn’t the problem. The problem is all the stuff we now consider essential to living. Think about what many of us consider “essential”:
• Cell phones
• Cable TV (with DVR)
• Cabinets stocked full of food
Financial troubles are a very real struggle. I talked with a friend this week whose electricity was on the verge of getting cut off and another friend who is losing her home. Some of us are paying the bills but having to say “no” to our kids for the first time ever. What do we do when we find ourselves in these kinds of situations?
When I see verses like the one above, my heart knows that isn’t my situation. So if I try to pray it, my heart says, “Seriously?” More than likely, since you are reading this on a computer, it isn’t your situation either.
So what should a middle-class woman who has food, clothes and shelter do?
The first thing is to be thankful. What are you thankful for right now? Most of us are adjusting to tighter budgets, but we are not in truly desperate situations. Find time to focus on what is going well in your life and tell God you are thankful for it.
Secondly, expect God to do something. It is in his nature to respond to our cries for help, whether the mess is our own making or completely out of our hands. Personally, it seems I spend a huge amount of time thinking about my troubles – but am I praying about them? Be deliberate in deciding to pray about your troubles.
Thirdly, when he opens a door for us to change, be willing to walk through the door, knowing God is working in your life. This last year I had the opportunity to write about bathrooms for extra money. When they first asked me about doing it, I thought, “No way. I can’t.” Well guess what? With God’s help, I wrote more about bathrooms than I would have ever dreamed. Look for ways the talents God has given you might help you make some extra money.
Most importantly though, we should embrace frugal living. And not in a begrudging way but by doing so with a joyful spirit. People will be drawn to a woman of God who can be joyful even when she is serving rice and beans … again!
We can handle these changes with grace and thanksgiving, and God will give us the ability to do so when we shift our focus from our momentary troubles to who He is. How we handle our situations will direct the response of our entire household. We can either respond by sinking into feelings of defeat and despair – or we can respond by becoming a testimony of God’s provision.