If you’ve ever played poker (just for fun I hope), then you know there are times you can’t buy a break. The cards just aren’t falling in your favor. Financial pressure can make you feel the same way. No matter how hard you try or what strategy you use, you feel as though you can’t win.
Life and poker have something in common – you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt. Yes, in poker you can fold, but in life and in finances, quitting cannot be an option.
“If God is for us, who can be against us.” – Romans 8:31
With God on your side, you can’t lose. Before allowing circumstances to get the best of you, consider these…
1. Read, Read, Read!
You don’t have to figure everything out on your own. Hundreds and thousands of books, magazines, newspaper articles, Personal Finance blogs, etc. have been written by those who have experienced first-hand the financial difficulties you’re facing today (or might face in the future). Read how others have turned things around in their lives and model after them as God leads.
2. Set goals.
Writing down goals is very important, and you should do it for both short-term and long-term financial goals and develop a plan to reach them. The first step is to have a written spending plan by which you determine how your money will be spent before you actually receive it. With a spending plan in place, you’ll have a tool by which realistic goals can be set.
3. Celebrate small successes.
Many times, financial breakthrough comes a little at a time. The “big check” may not come in the mail, but you can celebrate even small successes. If you are drowning in a sea of debt, celebrate when you pay off a small debt. When your savings account goes from $0.00 to $100.00 celebrate; you’ve made progress. Maybe you aren’t where you want to be, but you are closer - and that counts for something. Allow small victories to motivate you to greater successes.
4. Minimize setbacks
When you’re struggling financially it’s easy for your mind to run off into “what if” land. What if they take my house? What if I don’t have money for gas or food? However, don’t let the bad things that haven’t actually happened dominate your thinking. This is right where the devil wants you – a place where you’re incapable of thinking clearly, paralyzed with fear. Mentally minimize the setbacks, no matter how big they appear to be. To paraphrase Proverbs 23:7, what you think becomes reality. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If you think there is no hope, you’re probably right. But, as Christians we walk by faith and not by our circumstances. When things don’t work out like you had hoped, you can get down and discouraged about it, or you can
choose to remain positive. You may be thinking, “Faith and positive thinking will not pay the bills.” Maybe not, but there is still a choice to be made – Stand in faith, or stand in fear. Faith will get you further every time.
5. Seek advice.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
Find other Christians who are successful and ask them how they did it. If you’re trying to start a business, talk to a successful business owner. If you’re deep in debt and discouraged, talk to someone who has been there and came out of it. You’ll be surprised just how willing people are to offer advice and help. Usually, all you have to do is ask. Also, seek the advice of your Pastor – someone who loves you, will tell you the truth, and has the ability to view your situation objectively. There will likely be a common theme in the advice you receive – hard work, sacrifice, and most importantly, overcoming the fear of failure are all necessary in order to accomplish your goals. Our natural tendency is to look for the easy way, but we need someone in our corner to keep us on the right path and remind us that the easy solution is rarely the best (or lasting) one.
6. Obey God.
As mentioned earlier, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” It also works in reverse – If God is not for us, then who can help us? Bring the first 10% of your income to your local church as a tithe. (Malachi 3:10) The primary motive for tithing is not so we can receive more money, but God does promise blessings to those who obey Him in this area.
Don’t allow quitting to be an option. Take initiative! Employ some strategies to improve your situation, and God will certainly do His part.