Never in my lifetime has there been so much universal fear surrounding the economy. My heart breaks for every single person out there who has lost a job (including my husband) and possibly a home due to the economic upheaval around us. The uneasiness we all feel and the questions we have about the future are very real.
That said, I have found it very interesting to watch different kinds of personalities in various financial circumstances react to the volatile market. I have one friend whose countenance from day to day is almost entirely reflective of what the stock market happens to be doing at that time… when it’s down, he is irritable, cantankerous and gloomy, and when it’s up, he’s downright giddy. This young professional has been a good steward of his resources. He isn’t going to go hungry anytime soon. Yet he is consumed with fear.
I’ve got another friend who stayed loyal to his company after not being paid for months only to learn that his company is dissolving and he is left without severance, without a job, and with hardly any savings left after using it up during the months he wasn’t paid. He is the single parent of three kids and has a lot of reasons to be stressed. Yet he speaks with more hope than the guy whose emotional roller coaster is determined by whether he is “rich” or “richer.”
One friend of mine is the owner of a business that was destroyed by a natural disaster last year. The company lost an inordinate amount of money, not to mention future revenue, because there was no flood insurance. Yet his main concern was for all the good people who had served his company. He was very quiet about how he took care of those people, but I happen to know that he is even more loved and respected today than he was before that flood.
I’ve read dozens of statistics about money being the number one subject couples fight about. It breaks my heart to think that money would actually be the proverbial “straw the broke the camel’s back” in countless failed marriages, but the statistics support that very possibility.
Regardless of where you find yourself today financially, remember this: it’s only money! It’s paper. It doesn’t give you value. It doesn’t make you matter more. It definitely does not earn you the kind of friends you want and need. It doesn’t fill any spiritual or emotional void. It doesn’t make you a better parent or spouse. It doesn’t buy contentment. In fact, it constantly creates battles with contentment.
Story after story, my own included, reveals that money (or the lack thereof) does not determine who we are. It does not make us better or worse than anyone else. Money does not have the power to decide whether we are kind and fair, it doesn’t guarantee us happiness or peace, and it simply cannot be trusted to offer us true security. Lack of it certainly can create stress, but so can the abundance of it.
Trust me, I am dedicated to the principles of wise money management, debt freedom and conservation. I’m just saying, maybe it is time to reassess just how insignificant dollars are when weighed against truly eternal things.
I just thought this might be a good time to remind you that human life is worth more than a gazillion dollars. You are a brilliant, beautiful work of creation. And money… well… it’s only money.