Having just finished Christmas celebrations, I began to think about the bills rolling in. The best of intentions led me into stores to shop for just the right gifts, but it was so easy to spend more than we had. Stress about debt is a tough way to begin the New Year.
That's the way I felt for many years, until God challenged me to be at peace. I have invited Him into our financial planning.
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Scripture says you cannot love both God and money.
So I figured you must have to keep them in two separate parts of your heart. Either God gets the attention or money does. Obviously I believed it was more important to think about God. So it seemed right to give the money little or no attention. Planning for financial decisions was an area of my life without God.
But that's the crazy thing about this God who comes to be one with us....one with us in everything. There's no area of our lives that He doesn't want to touch. And we can miss out on His blessing and help in being good stewards of the material things in our life.
It begins with a conversation, maybe something like this: "Lord, you have given us all that we have. We do the work, but you gave us the body, mind, heart, soul and intellect to do it. You gave us instruction and education, and now the ways to receive benefits. We can not only survive, but enjoy, and even more, give to others who have less. You are the Lord of our Finances! Come and show us how to receive them, use them wisely, and offer them back to you in the form of generosity and love to others. Help us make good decisions as we give attention to and plan for our financial futures- futures that keep us in an ever closer walk with you."
Money comes from God's loving Hand, and ultimately can be offered back to Him.
I began to realize that not only should I not keep God and money separate, but I should see how it all comes from His loving Hand. Ultimately through me, it goes back to Him. I began to see that I could talk to Him often about money. I let Him lead me in even the smallest decisions. Before I get the cart and enter into the store I say, "Lord may I be a good steward of the money you have given me. May You be present with me as I make decisions on what to buy."
Watching our spending has been a way of uniting me with my husband. Prayer to God first sets a tone of calm and of trust as we offer the time and the decisions to Him. We are having more regular and frequent conversations about where we are, and how we want to proceed in the future. These "meetings" are more frequent and often get us to talk about our fears, our hopes and our dreams. Being in touch with God and with each other builds strength in us.
Prayer to God about money has become another beautiful aspect of my spiritual life.
If I'm afraid of how we are going to make the ends meet, He sends me a glorious message about helping me with the graces I need to grow in the virtue of temperance or of trust that He will always provide. When I recognize how He has provided at just the right time, I remember to thank Him for all that He has given us. And when we give to others who have less than we do, I remember I am giving back to Him.
We have just celebrated the glorious feast of Christmas. We have spent time praying with the Holy Family in the poor stable of Bethlehem. Here the Christ Child was covered in rags, and chose to condescend to be God housed in a musty stable. The impoverished shepherds and the three wealthy Kings both meet there. God received their worship and their prayers all the same.
God, teach me to pray each time I must think about or plan for my financial future. Help me to see how you want to be involved every step of the way. Let it be a new way for me to find peace with You.
Author's Note: A course I took with my husband called Financial Peace University, (Dave Ramsey) was extremely helpful and getting us on the path to uniting prayer and financial planning.
Copyright 2017 Cindy Costello
About the Author
Cindy Costello is a praying wife and mom who is settling into her empty nest. More than fall trees and caramel lattes, she loves a pen hitting paper to create something unique and beautiful for God. Cindy is challenging herself intellectually and getting ready for Career #2 by pursuing a MA in Theology. And on the side she gives parish talks and retreats , specializing in Theology of the Body and all things Catholic! Visit her website at CindyACostello.com.