Someone once said that you can see what’s in a person’s heart by the way they handle their finances. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve got to admit it’s probably very true. You see, every day millions of people around the world invest a few dollars in lottery tickets trying to strike it rich overnight. Many actually do win. But there are hundreds of stories out there about people who won and became instant millionaires and then lost it all a few years, maybe months later. Many of us hear these stories and shake our heads in amazement, declaring that that would never happen to us. But who’s to say it wouldn’t? The old saying “you can take a man out of the forest but you can’t take the forest out of the man” rings true most of the time. The problem hardly ever lies in a lack of resources, the problem is usually found in inadequate thought patterns. I love makeover shows. I enjoy watching and comparing the before and after pictures. But I’ve often wondered what happens a few weeks later. Is the individual able to keep up the new and improved version? Apparently I’m not the only one wondering because recently a number of people who had had a makeover were tracked down after five years. It was amazing to see how every single one had reverted to the “before” version of themselves. Why? You may ask. The answer is simple: unless the thought patterns change, people will always regress to what’s familiar because it’s comfortable, regardless of how destructive it might be. So what does this have to do with money? Every single one of us has thoughts about money. Some might call these thoughts your relationship with money. This relationship is what determines whether you have enough to meet your needs or not. Now I know some of you must be disagreeing with me right about now. In fact, one or two must have already removed me from their screen, but let me explain. If there’s one bible verse that has been misused when it comes to finances it’s I Timothy 6:2.
The verse actually says “for the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. Many have translated this to mean that having money is bad. That’s not what it is saying. It is saying that loving money to the point that you covet it is damaging. To covet means to yearn for or to crave something. Frankly, most broke people I know desire money to the point that they would do pretty much anything to get some. That attitude is the one the verse warns about; the attitude that makes you overlook your beliefs and values, the attitude that devastates and destroys individuals, families, and communities. A few verses prior to that famous one, the writer encourages the readers to be content with food and clothes. This is no way means lack of ambition. It means that you need to be able to make peace with what you’ve got. Gratitude is a door-opener. Most broke people I know spend half the day complaining about what they don’t have and cursing what they do have. Another bible verse that’s usually taken out of context is found in Acts 20:35 “…it is more blessed to give than to receive”. This verse is used to justify lack and insufficiency. But common sense dictates that if you don’t have anything, you can’t give anything. Therefore we can say that it is more blessed to be able to give than to be in a position of receiving because if you’re broke, you have nothing to give; you’re a mere “receiver” waiting for a handout. I could go on and on pointing out flaws in most people’s thought patterns, but I think I’ll land here. My point is this: being broke has little to do with the government, the weather, your skin color, or your size. It has everything to do with how you see money and your relationship with it. Money is a useful tool; It gets the bills paid, it gets you fed and clothed, it buys you stuff. Money can never take the place of people and it can never become your god. If you find yourself daydreaming about money, or cursing your life because you don’t have enough money, or you find your relationships suffering due to your lack or excess of money it’s time to make big changes. Your mind needs to be renewed. How do you go about doing that? I’m glad you asked.
- First you need to be honest with yourself and determine what money means to you. In order to do this, make a list of the first ten ideas that come to mind when you think about money.
- Now study your list carefully and identify which of those ideas that you wrote down are negative. Are they true?
- Determine where the negative ideas are coming from. Where did you hear them first? Who said that to you?
According to scientists, most of the thoughts that go through our heads on a daily basis are negative and redundant. More than likely, if you’re experiencing low funds, you probably have a number of repetitive negative thoughts about money. These usually show up when you’re grocery shopping or paying bills. When you are able to control and eliminate the negative thoughts by replacing them with the truth you will notice changes in your finances.
By Dinorah Blackman
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