By Ryan Mack, Crosswalk.com
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” – Exodus 4:10-12
Just like Moses was worried about his speech, many might think we have reason to be worried about money in the hard economic challenges of a pandemic depression.
Many have lost loved ones…I personally have lost seven close friends due to the coronavirus and had many more friends and family who fell severely ill.
Millions who are out of work and looking for employment all over the world. Millions are suffering from isolation, not being able to see their mothers, fathers, and grandparents out of concern for spreading the illness.
In the US, the GDP plunged 9.5% from April to June, which is the fastest the quarterly rate has fallen in modern record keeping.
The question is, “Should we be anxious about money during these times?”
Look at how God responded to Moses...lovingly reminding him who was in control. Then He said, “Now go.” Moses was complaining about what he didn’t have, but God sent him on his mission, essentially telling Moses that he was equipped with all he needed to complete his mission.
What God did for Moses, He will also do for you. You are also uniquely designed to fulfill God’s purpose for you and are also assigned to complete an enormous task. God will show you the path to follow, put people in your path to help, tell you what to say, and help you speak.
Before you were formed in the womb, God knew you (Jeremiah 1:5), and God also knew of the time you would be born into. Do you really believe that God who knows everything (1 John 3:20), has understanding beyond measure (Psalm 147:5), and can tell you about things before they happen (Isaiah 42:9) would be caught off guard by a virus? Of course not!
Satan wants you to focus on what you lack. God wants you to focus on His promise.
So no, you don’t need to be anxious about money. As long as you know that our God is still on the throne—you should focus on Him and not your self-perceived lack.
Here are five tips that can help you through these times and help you manage your anxiety.
1. Keep Your Focus on God
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
Whatever you lack...whatever you need...tell it to the Lord. When you talk to God, give thanks to Him knowing He will provide. We all go through times of darkness filled with doubt and many times our faith will be challenged.
It’s easy to praise God during the good times, but we must be able to praise Him in the dark times knowing He will bring us through the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). In your darkest hours, remember all the times in your life you have made it through times of uncertainty and economic stress. God didn’t leave you then and He won’t leave you now.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/DMEPhotography
2. Give Your Budget a Makeover
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28 (ESV)
Now is the time that budgeting is essential. For many, budgeting might not be a habit, and anytime you form a new habit it can feel daunting. Just like riding a bike, once you create the habit of budgeting it will become second nature. Here are tips to cut expenses from your budget:
Take a list to the grocery store and plan your meals in advance.
Find free activities like exercise that can save you money and keep you healthy.
Cut subscriptions you aren’t using and call those providers to inquire about any deals you are eligible for (cell, cable, etc.)
Drink water from a filter at home.
Make your own coffee at home.
Buy generic brands.
Call your credit card providers and ask for a reduction in the interest rate. If you ever feel you will be late on a debt payment, call in advance to work out a payment plan. Ask them to not report it to your creditors.
There are many different sites that can assist you with your budget. Check out MySavingsJar.org, mint.com, or budgetpulse.com. These are a few of many sites that offer free support for your budget.
3. Look Into Available Resources
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, – Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)
Read carefully, it says, “has blessed us.” This is past tense. It also says, “every spiritual blessing.” This means that we have all we need from God to make it through difficult times. We just have to take these spiritual blessings and work to manifest them into physical blessings.
Seeking support from resources we are blessed with to help us through these challenging times is a critical component of easing your financial anxieties. You are not by yourself! Here are some links to resources you may be eligible for during these times.
This is just a brief list. There are many more resources that are helping people. Research online to locate the blessings of God through the work of others.
4. Build/Maintain Your Credit
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8 (ESV)
There has been a national/global response by banks, credit unions, and the government in the response to COVID-19. However, we must do our part to maintain a good credit score. Here is how they calculate your credit score:
- Record of paying bills on time: 35%
- Total balance on your credit cards and other loans compared to your total credit limit: 30%
- Length of credit history: 15%
- New accounts and recent loan applications: 10%
- Mix of credit cards and loans: 10%
Here are some tips for talking with creditors:
- Ask about “hardship” programs
- Document the conversation by getting the full name and agent number of the person you called. Note the time of day, and take notes of what was discussed. You want to be sure you have as much information as possible in case you want to challenge a debt or fight a debt in court.
- Request any debt settlement agreements to be in writing so you can add it to your records.
- Stay calm
- Be honest with yourself and your creditor
- Do not accept any deal you cannot fulfill
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Biserka Stojanovic
5. Help Others
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ – Deuteronomy 15:11 (ESV)
This is a command to help those who are needy...even in the midst of a pandemic depression. There are many ways to help and still be sensitive to the times and your own limitations.
- Put a mask on and go to the local food bank to help pass out food.
- Consider virtual tutoring. There are many children in your community who are learning from home that could use a free virtual tutor. Have your church organize a volunteer virtual tutoring service.
- Buy gift certificates to local restaurants with outdoor seating, to support a family and a small business at the same time.
- Continue to tithe to your church.
- Lift up those in need in prayer. In these days of anxiety, we need to have the collective body of Christ praying for peace, joy, hope, and faith for all.
You May Be Temporarily "Broke" but You Are Not "Broken"
Many may feel as if they are not only broke, but also broken during times of COVID-19. Feelings of being broken are not limited to financial setbacks.
Illness, job loss, foreclosure, and a death of a loved one…these are just a few of the many obstacles of life that could cause us to feel broken. Feeling broken is more of a mental state whereas being broke is more a financial state.
So while you may feel like you are broke, please don’t feel broken. You are still growing, you are still reading this, you are still in a position to receive and fulfill your purpose.
Moses might have felt as if he was broke, but he allowed God to lead him and his people to glory. God will do the same for you! A broken bone can mend.
God still has a purpose for you…God still has many blessings He wants to give through you…God still wants to do for you what he did for Moses.
Only you can accomplish the task God has assigned for you, so the world needs you. Receive Him today and get to work!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Ryan Mack, aka the “Financial Evangelist,” is the author of Provisions for Abundance: A Christian's Guide to Money Management, Gratitude, and Giving Back. He has a life mission to build and develop a durable financial empire geared towards educating his community and beyond. As a renowned public speaker, he has provided keynote presentations to organizations across the country, including Harvard University, Columbia University, NAACP, NASA, and the NBA. He can be regularly viewed on GMTV, CNBC, CNN, Thomson Reuters, and BET, and contributes regularly to HuffingtonPost.com, Fortune, Ebony and Essence.