Money, it’s become the focus of our attention more than ever before; perhaps because the poor economy has effected all of us in some way. Losses in the stock market, and retirement accounts; losses of jobs and personal property; foreclosures and bankruptcies are all causing us to think more and more about money, and the problems the lack of it causes.
Where do we find the answers we need to deal with such difficult financial issues? Numbers of intelligent people and world renowned economists have offered a variety of solutions that may eventually prove effective; however, they may not be timely, helpful or applicable to each individual’s situation.
The truth is that there are no simple or easy answers anyone can offer to cover every situation. I do believe, however, that men and women of faith have an advantage when facing such serious issues, because they have the ability to turn to God for His comfort and guidance.
In my first novel, Planted by the Rivers of Water, Rachel Todd, my protagonist, is confronted with her husband’s adultery, and his desire for a divorce. After almost thirty years of marriage, she is faced with starting her life over. Her success in doing so stems in part from her faith in God, and in part from her attitude toward life and suffering.
Rachel is a woman of independent means, and therefore, has a better chance at a new beginning than most. The truth is, however, that she experiences pain and sorrow just like everyone else. Having lost her parents and only brother in a tragic accident when only ten, Rachel has learned through experience that life isn’t always fair. All people struggle, the rich and the poor, men and women, young and old. Rachel has learned to accept the challenges that life brings, and trusts that God can bring something good out of a bad situation.
In attempting to rebuild her own life, Rachel reaches out to other hurting souls, and assists them as they endeavor to rebuild theirs as well. Her suffering softens, rather than hardens, and she becomes a conduit of God’s love; in serving others she finds redemption for herself.
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. KJV
Starting over isn’t easy; the fear of change often paralyzes many who would rather remain in a bad situation than face the unknown. Rachel, however, forced by her husband’s abandonment, seeks God’s plan for her new life. Beginning with prayer, she finds herself inspired by a vision of what could be, and then uses innovation and creativity to bring it to pass. Her ancestral home and its properties, in disrepair from disuse, are renovated and repurposed; an old stable is converted into a cozy tea cottage, a Victorian home into a bed and breakfast, and her new life emerges in an old setting given a new purpose. And even though she loses the “happily ever after” ending she always dreamed of when she married, she finds her new life, though different, is fruitful and rewarding.
Change can be extremely difficult for some people; the thought of leaving behind the things they are accustomed to, the things they are comfortable with, and sometimes the things they love, and adapting to something new and unknown can be scary, but it can also be exciting, and even liberating.
Like Rachel, many people today are facing new situations brought on by circumstances beyond their control. Losing a job, a home, and having less capital to spend will affect them in a variety of ways. It might help to remember, however, that having less money or possessions doesn’t necessarily mean one must live a more impoverished life. Richness in life doesn’t depend on material wealth, but rather the state of mind we maintain about what is truly important: People are; material possessions are not. Of course material possessions do make life easier and more pleasant, but they can also control and dictate the course of action we will follow to obtain and maintain them.
Rachel Todd is a wealthy woman, but she knows how to control her assets and not be controlled by them. And in starting over, she decides to make her new life one that will bless others, not just herself, knowing that to whom much is given, much will be required.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. KJV
The Bible says that the love of money, not money itself, is the root of all evil. And we all need some of it to survive. But how much is enough?
1 Timothy 6:10
10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. KJV
If you are struggling with money issues, getting back to basics may be a good place to begin. If you are in a place where change has become a necessity rather than a choice, why not consider simplifying your life?
In following Rachel’s example, begin with a prayer for God’s guidance and direction. Starting over may be life changing, but it may prove to be a blessing instead of a curse, especially if it enables you to find peace and contentment.
If you’re faced with starting over, or just want to distress and simplify your life, consider how you might:
Declutter your living space;
Repurpose your property, or possessions;
Exchange things you don’t need for things you do;
Eliminate unnecessary expenditures or activities.
This article is not meant to trivialize the economic difficulties many are now facing; it is meant to encourage, edify and perhaps enlighten those readers who are currently facing difficult financial circumstances.
For suggestions on how to cut stress and simplify your life, you might want to peruse one of these articles for suggestions.