Easy Money…?

I have been thinking a lot about money lately. Cash money. Bills, Benjamins, moolah…

Mostly, I think it is because following the ridiculous expense of Christmas (which I am neither condoning nor renouncing) and entering the new year, ripe with possibilities, my mind comes to thoughts of money–how much I have, or don’t have. How much I want or think I need.

I have an unhealthy relationship with money, though. I think of that expression, “easy money.”  Even though that refers to making money, the issue of money has not always been “easy” for me. Money has never been my friend. We have shared a few good times, sure. Inevitably, though, I always talk bad about money behind its back and say things like…

Ugh. I hate money. I wish we didn’t need money. Let’s just move to an international barter system.”

“Where is all my money? It’s like it just runs away from me…”

“I resent you money! You make me feel burdened and tense, but I think I need more of you.”

Growing up, we didn’t have much. My single mom worked three jobs to put clothes on my scrawny back and food on our kitchen table.

I always sensed that we didn’t have money, even though it was never discussed. I knew there were clothes other kids had that I would never see hanging in my closet. I knew we would never take a lavish vacation, or throw caution to the wind and dine at some local gourmet restaurant.

I’m not throwing a pity party, though. I was painfully aware of these things and yet I never (beyond 8th grade peer pressure to own Vans and MC Hammer pants) felt that I was missing out. I was loved, cared for, encouraged. Cliche? Yes. True? Definitely. Even now, I am grateful for my upbringing. It has given me a desire to give more and take less. It has helped grow my heart in gratefulness.

What I didn’t know, however, was that my money memories as a child (or the lack thereof) would permeate my current view of money.

Because I didn’t have much money growing up, I find myself today–as an adult, wife, mom–irresponsible with it and begrudging of it. Yet, I simultaneously secretly desire more of it for security, but also to experience the things I didn’t as a kid. I feel like some kind of financial schizophrenic.

I’d hate to imagine how I would handle my money if I wasn’t a Christian. Thankfully, I have it pretty much settled in my mind, that all material possessions are the Lord’s, not mine. That doesn’t mean, though, that if He asked me to sell my few, precious Anthropologie pieces and move to Africa to live in a hut that I wouldn’t cry. I would. I’d ball.

What I need to do is settle in my heart that all things I have in the material sense really are the Lord’s. It all comes down to trust. Do I genuinely believe that God has got my back and has good plans for me, even financially? That doesn’t meant I’m expecting or asking to be rich. I just want to experience freedom in regards to money.

I do not want to feel weighed down by it, or my perceived need for it. I don’t want to feel guilty for having it or sad for losing it.

I don’t want to feel like that little 6 year-old kid with no concept of money, and yet all too aware of it’s control over our lives. I never want to feel like I’m missing out because in God’s economy, I won’t. In His economy, I’m rich…filthy, stinkin’ rich.

How do you view money? Do you have a healthy or unhealthy view of money? How do deal with pressure to make money or have things?

12 thoughts on “Easy Money…?”

  1. Oh girl, I get this! My parents taught me nothing about money- nothing at all- and as an adult I’ve had to learn really hard lessons because of it. Something changed in my when I got married- the Lord worked in my heart and I felt so much responsibility to….well not be irresponsible anymore. But I guess it also has something to do with the fact that now my husband handles the money, and pays the bills- I don’t have to stress and he tells me how much I can spend on what, and I’m so thankful for him!

    I think that we all have programs, and belief systems around money- and most of them are unhealthy. It’s rare to find someone that doesn’t.

    I am trying to grow in teaching myself to live with less, have less, simplify etc…and while I am teaching myself this, I am trying to teach my kids this as well.

    1. It’s nice when you have a husband that can help relieve your stress. Jon does that for me too.

      Living simply is something to aspire to…I love that idea. It’s probably post worthy on its own.

  2. As ‘normal’ as it seems to be considering money again this January, it is certainly different at least for me. My husband and I have been talking about being better with our money and I think a big part is trusting God even more than I do right now. We have 2 incomes, no kids and we’re not in a bad financial state, but that doesn’t mean I should be frivolous.

    I’m actually looking forward to challenging myself more with each decision this year. I think it will be interesting to see how God uses that and how he teaches me throughout the process.

    Great post!

    1. I think challenging yourself with your finances, even though you are in a good spot is so wise.

      God has always provided the hubster and I with a more than comfortable income. It’s weird though, the more money my husband makes, the more my insecurity rises. I’m inspired by your challenging yourself.

      I want to do the same this year! Thanks Heather!

  3. Your view on money sounds a lot like my wife’s. She gets a lot of security from having money. We’re not in the best of spots at the moment financially but we’re getting there. We’re currently living in my parents basement and I just recently got a job that’ll make us enough money so we can start getting back to our own lives.

    We did make a change though. We started going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and it has made things SO AWESOME! The whole idea is to live debt free paying for everything w/ the money that you have and not borrowing someone else’s.

    We just graduated from the class last month and it has been great for my wife and I. We communicate so much more about our money and neither of us worry about it because we know we have everything covered. She is able to relax now and doesn’t have to be so afraid of money and where it may or may not be going. It’s a wonderful feeling and we’re glad we did it.

    1. Kelly,
      Unfortuantely, women do gain security from having money in savings. I think this is true for most women, especially moms.

      I did Financial Peace in college and when I was first married with my husband. It does ROCK huh? I love it. It is practical and easy to implement into your life.

      I’m so glad to know it has helped your communication with your wife.That alone is worth the class.

      May the new year bring further financial freedom and growth to you and your marriage as well.

  4. This is an awesome book that details Gods biblical plans about our wealth here on Earth. It is a must read to get rid of those bad Christian money thoughts we have. My wife wrote a review that explains to very well http://t.co/OYlFJx9. You can also get there via my url.

  5. I would definitely say I had an unhealthy relationship with money before becoming a Christian. Irresponsible, careless and greedy are words that come to mind!

    What I’ve learned is that it’s not money that’s bad, but it’s the love of money that destroys us. We can’t worship two masters.

    God provides so much more good than money could ever buy us. We could feel tempted to find a false sense of security in money, but we just have to remember where our real security is, right? And the rest falls in place in all the right ways :)

    Thanks for your post Nicole.

    1. Jennifer,
      Great points. We know that scripture calls the “love of money” the root of all evil, not money itself. Jesus warned about money more that hell though. He knows how easily we are tempted by it. I think you are right though, that much of that temptation comes from falsely finding our security in it.

      Thanks for the great comment.

  6. Money and I are not friends. Money scares me. As a (relatively) new single mom of 4 children with virtually no skills and very little education, I can easily see myself being the mom that works 3 jobs to put Goodwill clothes on her kids back. (you should call your mom and tell her what a great job she did, Nicole. All single moms that I know are horrendously afraid we are failing our children and scarring them permanently).
    The thing is, I’m good with money. I am currently living off of little more than $1000 a month, for 5 people. I love to find cheap/free things to do with my kids, and I love to find ways to save money. But I’m terrified that one day, we won’t have any. Because, I’ve been there. I am horribly ashamed to say that, this isn’t my first trip down single mamahood lane, and the last attempt was even worse than this one. I was left homeless, shattered self esteem, tossed out into the night with a threat and my children and our clothes in a laundry basket and $8.43 to my name. I’ll never ever forget that amount. So I hoard money like some people hoard animals or clothes. I could be on one of those tlc shows just for the money I have hidden and tucked and stuck places. It didn’t help matters that my estranged husband spent money on all KINDS of junk we never needed — $100 jackets, $50 hats, ect ect blah blah — and that just made me even more scared and I hid even more money.
    I don’t like money.

    1. Ade, you’re amazing! I cannot imagine being a single mom and facing all of the daily challenges.

      I will be praying that this current difficult situation of needing to budget and be wise will help you grow more to appreciate and have a healthy view of money.

      It’s all His money anyway and He does care about how we view it and feel about it.

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