Money. What a loaded topic. Sometimes it just feels like a necessary evil that invades every area of our lives. Our society is so obsessed with it, that our value and worth get tied up with our financial status, how much money we make and our “stuff”. If somehow validates us; it defines who we are.
I understand all too well. I’ve have been unemployed for 3 or 4 years now, and it can be really easy to feel badly about myself because I haven’t contributed financially in a long time. As if my ability to bring in a paycheck determines my worth as a person. I'm having to learn - and it's not easy - that I am valuable whether or not I earn a paycheck.
So many of us think money is the key to happiness. We work for a bigger house or a nicer car. When we buy that next cool gadget, we think we’ll be happy. Or when we retire and no longer have to worry about money, all will be well. But it’s never enough. Never.
You’d think we’d learn lessons from all the celebrities in rehab. They have more money than you can throw a stick at; they have success and everything a person could dream of. And still, it’s not enough. They have to drink or do drugs or get married 4 or 5 times. And still, they’re not happy. It doesn’t make things all better.
So why do we place such a high value on money then? I think when it comes down to it, it’s because we place our trust in money. For our security. For our happiness. We trust in money, not in God. So we’re always insecure because it’s not ever going to satisfy us. No matter how much we hoard, no matter how much we spend, it’s not the answer to our problems.
I also think it’s one more way we think we can earn love and acceptance. It’s a nice little way to quantify it. We just can’t grasp the concept that we are loved period. Period. No strings attached. Just because we are. Just because God is love. We somehow are always trying to earn love, to earn our worth as a person.
So what’s the proper attitude toward money? Well, it’s a tool. Like many other things, it can be used for good. Or it can be misused. As long as we keep it in perspective, we can have a healthy attitude toward it. We need to learn to manage our money instead of letting it manage us. We need to stop trusting in it above all else. Only God is worthy of that. Of course, that’s scary. Trusting God with our future. Especially for those of us who like to be in control. Ultimately, I think that’s what it’s about anyway. Control. Trust. And what is trust? Largely, letting go of control. Hmmm…