Money Mumbles: The Reality of Financial Fear

money finances

When Hubs and I came back from our honeymoon, we dove head-first into the struggles of married life. He had to get up to be at his job by 6:00 am, and I was just starting a job as a part-time teller at a bank, to supplement my part-time waitressing job.

When I got the mail that first day in our new normal life, the first piece I opened was a collections notice. Hubs had, at one point, become a member of a CD-of-the-month club, had missed a payment or two, and here I was, his brand new wife, staring at a piece of paper that threatened to ruin our lives. (They use such frightening language in those letters, don’t they?)

I was a gal who paid cash for everything, and only purchased items if I absolutely had to. I only had a checking account so I could pay rent. One of Hubs’ first order of business as my beloved betrothed was to get me a debit card, and I was terrified of that little plastic rectangle.

You can probably imagine, then, the painful pit in my stomach when I, as a bride for all of 72 hours, opened a letter from a collections agency.

Oh the fight that ensued… I don’t remember the words we exchanged, but I remember wondering if I had made a terrible mistake. All because of a piece of paper. My security and sense of worth was under intense scrutiny in that moment. Money meant security. Collections letter meant chaotic instability. My world was rattled.

We got it paid in short order but our financial woes weren’t over.

Hubs had a good job, driving a lengthy route for FedEx Ground, and I was working two jobs, yet somehow we weren’t gaining ground financially. I remember several occasions sitting down to balance our checkbook and shedding tear after tear for all the minus signs in front of the numbers. More than once, we were too broke to buy even a loaf of bread. God provided for us in really creative ways during that time, but the strain on our marriage was serious.

I was constantly putting pressure on my husband to make me feel more secure (make and manage more money). He was constantly being made to feel like a failure. I was constantly crying into the checkbook register. And the fights… mercy, the fights…

Things didn’t change for us financially until we moved away and really changed our views and our handling of money. I don’t remember the last time Hubs and I have had a fight about money. We simply don’t worry about it anymore. We’re responsible with what and how we spend, and we treat money as a resource rather than a saving grace. More than that, though, we have faith God will always provide for our needs. He has never not provided for us.

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on those early days and how miserable I was. I was completely driven by fear with regard to finances. Fear prevented me from having a debit card until I was married. Fear prevented me from seeing how to best manage and grow our resources, and kept me only experiencing the security of what I knew. Fear made me miserable on a daily basis. Fear strained our marriage.

Fear kept us broke.

It was only a couple of days ago I apologized to my husband for all those years I was miserable about money. Spoiler alert: he readily forgave me.

You see, my misery didn’t make us any wealthier. My misery didn’t make us any more responsible. My misery only questioned the promise of God providing for us, and made us miserable.

We have a choice. We can function in fear, or in faith. We can be miserable, or multiplied. Today, I choose faith.

We still have opportunities for growth, but I’m so beyond thankful we’re not constantly spinning our wheels fighting over finances.

If you’re in an emotional tailspin as a result of financial fear, here’s what we started doing differently to really propel us:

  1. Tithing/giving regularly. It really is better to give than receive. By the measure you give, it will be measured to you. You never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of sacrifice.
  2. Investing in ourselves. Just one example: Were it not for me going to a painting party 2 1/2 years ago, I wouldn’t have the entrepreneurial opportunities I have today. That painting ticket cost me $26 dollars, but earned me a lifetime of purpose.
  3. Prioritizing paying off debt. There is no freer feeling than not having debt. If you need a proven framework, check out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Applying what you learn will change your life – and your family tree, as Dave puts it.

If I can, allow me to stress once more: choose faith over fear every time. You won’t be sorry.