Friday, October 14, 2011

Finance Friday

a banner from NLI EuroSummit Conference last week
 Starting the Finance Friday themed blog has been the most therapeutic thing for me. I've learned a very important, yet personal lesson in this process. Had I kept quiet, shame and embarrassment may have eaten me alive from the inside out. I think it's quite possible to lock a secret inside so far that it begins to alter your belief system and damage (possibly irreparably) any shred of self confidence you have. Secrets when held inside have nothing to do but float around your brain. And an untamed thought can wreak havoc. Holding in things creates a one sided conversation. You think about what you know and you imagine what others would say if they knew what you held inside. We imagine and pretend how others would perceive us and almost all the time we imagine people being harsher with us than they really would be. So we begin to believe that othes will shame and reject us. These thoughts swim around in our mind constantly. And we begin to believe what we think people would think about us, rather than give them a chance. You might find if given a chance, people, especially those who love you, will rise to the occasion, love you for who you are, not what you've done or how much money you don't make.
If you keep your secret you'll drown in your forecasts of rejection.
But if you have a friend for which you can unburden yourself, you'll be swallowed up in love and acceptance.
I think that's a chance worth taking.

Finance Fridays was a big risk for me.
But the payoff was huge.
Suddenly I'm not embarrassed.
Not ashamed.
I was mortified to be so forthcoming about our current financial situation but I've received nothing but love because of it.
And that's huge.
It means a lot!

Today, though, it was hard for me to come up with a Finance Friday blog. I've had a wicked combination of jet leg and re-entry shock the last few days since returning from a missions trip abroad. Then the week before that I wasn't writing two weeks ahead of time.

But as I was out walking the dog this morning I was thinking and pondering my life & a Finance Friday entry. And at 6 in the morning, in the complete stillness of the neighborhood, I examined my heart and felt




and dare I say .... well-off?

Has our finances changed?
Nah! In fact, my job search continues to fall flat.
Did I receive and inheritance?
Of course not.
Our finances are still where they were when Finance Friday blog started. Nothing has broke through for us. Our numbers still land on the bottom of every chart and income graph.

But because I didn't let my shame consume my inner being, because you showed me love in the times when I was down and because I hold onto the belief a person's worth is not equivalent to their bank account I feel very rich today.

I think the bible is full of life enhancing guidelines for how I should live my life. And when I think in terms of rich and poor I remembered something Jesus said in the book of Matthew chapter 6. He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit"
and while I'm certainly not sure exactly what that means I'm pretty certain it's important. Notice he didn't say poor in finances or poor in livestock, he said poor in spirit.

And then I got to wondering, if you can be poor in spirit, couldn't you be rich in spirit?
And what does that mean?
To be rich in spirit?
Does it mean rich in money?
I don't think so.
Does it mean rich in stocks & bonds?
Probably not.
Is a man who has many friends rich in spirit?
A man who is loved?
Who has favor at his job with his boss?
Who's best friends stick closer than a brother?
Who's spouse loves them well and is committed to them?
Who's children are thriving and bring him great pleasure?
Who's pantry doesn't empty out?
and has his health?
A man who sleeps well at night
and who's heart is content with life?
A man who has received great generosity
and witnesses the faithfulness of supporters?

my kids collected money to give to Haiti
Is this person rich in spirit?
And could that be more valuable than being rich in money?

Having tasted the sour sting of poverty
I speak from my heart when I say
poor is hard.
But I am not poor.
What I am is rich in many, many ways.
Ways that count.
Ways that are eternal.
Ways that make my heart smile when the times are tough.

So you dear friend, as you find yourself today may you discover you too are rich. Rich with relationships and friendships. Rich with health and happiness. And if you are not, may you have the strength of heart to go out and claim that unique wealth that makes your life rich.

1 Timothy 6:18 " good and be rich in good works, be ready to give and willing to share..."  (paraphrased)

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