Join Carrie in a solo episode as she speaks about anxiety and shame around money and how to cope with it.
- Common financial traps
- Evaluating your finances and making good financial decisions
- Thought processes and limiting beliefs about money and how to reframe them.
- Honoring God with your finances
- More helpful tips and advice on dealing with financial anxiety.
Hope for anxiety and OCD episode 61. On today’s episode. I am choosing to fly solo to speak with you about anxiety regarding finances and overcoming that as well as shame. That people carry around related to their finances. One thing I want to say in regards to this episode is that I am not a financial planner or advisor by any means.
So take that into consideration as you listen to this episode and make decisions about whether you want to follow any of this advice or not. I had a guest that I interviewed that I was going to air. Um, to talk about this issue and it just, I didn’t really feel like it jived with our audience or was going to be relatable to all of you, especially since we have a worldwide audience.
And I felt that that position was a little bit more Americanized. I also want to point out though that it doesn’t really matter how much money you have. You still may have anxiety about your financial situation. There are people with a lot of money in the bank, maybe who have obsessions about having a certain amount in their savings because they’re afraid of something catastrophic happening to them. Maybe they’re afraid of losing their house or losing their job. Maybe not having family members that they can fall back on to help them. So understand that it’s not just people who. Are struggling financially or who are dealing with poverty that have anxiety about finances.
But I really do believe that it affects people across the demographic range, whether you’re in poverty in the middle class, or whether you’re even rich, you can get anxious about your finances. This topic is really relevant for everyone. I wanted to talk about shame in this episode as well. People who are very well-meaning are trying to help others with their finances, even within the church context, unfortunately, can at times perpetuate shame.
It’s a little bit like people who are trying to lose weight and someone comes to them and says, well, it’s easy. I mean, all you have to do is eat less and exercise and that’s really, and that position may really be minimizing the struggles that that person is having emotionally. Maybe they’re dealing with emotional eating, or have some type of eating disorder.
They may be obsessing over eating or not eating certain things. There may have been some traumatic experiences in their life contributing to their weight gain. So it’s not as easy as, okay. Here. Let me give you the two to three-step process and it’s gonna change your life and you just have to implement it.
Anytime we approach someone with that type of quick fix scenario, or someone comes at you with that, I think you have to be very careful because typically our problems are not that simple. Many of our financial decisions unfortunately are made emotionally or impulsively. If we don’t take this time to really stop and think about what is it that we want for our family’s future, then we can just kind of get blown in the wind in bad financial decisions. And unfortunately, the thing about finances that I’ve realized is that it’s very easy to get in a difficult spot financially, but it’s a lot harder to get out once you’ve kind of fallen in that financial.
And there are so many different things that people face that can get them in a difficult spot. Financially. One is the reality that the rent mortgages, the cost of living increases overall has gone up drastically. I think about the first apartment that my first husband and I rented was probably, maybe $600 a month, maybe a little bit more than that. And in the process, we were looking at staying there for another year and our rent was going to go up a whole hundred dollars a month. And at that point in time, that was like, whoa, like, I don’t think we can do another a hundred dollars a month and ended up looking elsewhere for a place, cuz we weren’t super happy there.
But I promise you that if you go to rent, that is probably same apartment right now. And this is granted, we’re probably 15 years down the road, but the price has probably doubled. It probably would cost you about 1200 and it was a one-bedroom apartment with a loft. It wasn’t anything huge or special. If you are in a place where your rent or just cost of living has gone up drastically.
And oftentimes our salaries don’t follow that. You may really have to take a hard evaluative look at what do I need to do in order to save money. Do I need to move farther out? But then with that consideration, you have to consider gas expenses and. Do I need to look for potential opportunities to work from home where maybe I can live a little bit farther out from the city easier.
I think since COVID, a lot more people have those opportunities and have been able to live in an area, maybe that’s a little bit more rural or more outside of town where they’re not having to be so close to a city center, having to drive into work every day. And that may not be a possibility for you.
That’s not a possibility with everyone’s career. Some people have to go into work in order to do their job. I had to take a hard evaluation when I went through my divorce, looking at my mortgage, do I sell my house and go rent somewhere? That would’ve possibly been maybe the easiest case scenario. When I started looking at how much rent was at the time, it made more sense for me to keep paying my mortgage.
And even though I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pay my mortgage on my salary alone, I knew that I could get a roommate. Was it the most ideal situation or my favorite thing ever to have roommates? Not necessarily. There were bumps and challenges in the road at different points as happens whenever you live with people.
If you’re in a position right now where you have to live with family because that’s what you can afford and maybe it’s not the greatest, but you know that that’s the best financial decision for you. Sometimes we have to buckle down and do what we have to do, and it’s not easy. Another way sometimes that people can get into a difficult spot financially is they may have made a poor investment.
They may have whether that was in a house or a car, and now you’re upside down. You owe more than what it’s actually worth. You’re stuck with this extra debt, whatever the situation. The biggest thing I would say from the emotional side of things is to not beat yourself up, if that’s you, because I think it would be so easy to go back and live in that guilt shame of saying, “Oh gosh, I wish I had never bought this car or I shouldn’t have made this investment over here. I should have gotten a house in a different neighborhood.”
Whatever the situation is, you can’t go back and change. Beating yourself up is not going to help. The problem is really just adding insult to injury. It may be a situation where you get some good financial help, coaching, talk to a financial planner, get some advice on what’s my best step oving forward here. Maybe you’ve had a situation where you’ve had a lot of medical bills, maybe you’ve been sick and had to miss some work. This is something that Steve and I definitely can relate to right now because we have a lot of medical bills coming in for what was happening with his eye issues.
And now pregnancy issues. There’s always some kind of medical bill coming into our house at any given time. Those are things that you can’t fully plan for. You can plan to have savings, but oftentimes that can get quickly depleted if you have a high deductible plan, which a lot of people in and speaking from an American context, lot of people have a high deductible plan now that maybe several thousand dollars.
And it might be hard for you to save up that money or to have that in the bank ready and available at any time. I know for me, it’s a situation where I’ve had definite thoughts recently about, whether are we going to be able to take a vacation next year. Like what’s going to happen. But, you know, you just have to take those things one step at a time. I’ve found in the process that some places are more willing to work with you than others. That’s just a situation that you’re in. So if you can talk with someone from the billing office about what the expectations are, having them let you know ahead of time, you know, is my amount that’s going towards my deductible.
Do I have to pay that? When I come in. Is that something you’re going to bill me for later? Can I set up a payment plan? Unfortunately, what I’ve seen with a lot of people who maybe have big bills or have medical bills coming in is that overwhelm can lead to an eventual shutdown. For example, I’m overwhelmed about this medical bill.
It’s large. It’s more than I can pay. So then I just shut down, avoid it. I put it in the back of the drawer and I don’t pay anything. That’s definitely not what you want to do. You want to take a moment, breathe, evaluate, say, what can I afford to pay on this medical bill right now? One thing that’s helpful with medical bills is that typically you can’t be sent to collections.
And look this up on your own, because I did a little bit of research a while ago. As long as you are paying on that bill and making a good faithful effort to pay on it regularly, you’re not going to be sent to collections. Some of that may vary by company to company because some companies will send you to collections after say 90 days. So make sure that you’re aware. And if you have to call and talk with somebody, it’s better to do that than to avoid the situation entirely, because what happens when we avoid things entirely, they tend to get worse and you don’t want this situation to get worse for you. It’s already difficult enough that you’re having to deal with it.
You may be in a difficult financial situation because you’ve lost a job or had to make a sudden move. You’ve had a sudden life change. That’s happened to you, whatever the situation is if you would say, okay, I’m in a financial hole right now. And it’s absolutely stressing me out because I don’t know how to get out of it.
We always talk about hope on a show. And I think that’s so important that we talk about how. There is hope for your financial situation. You may have to make some difficult changes or hard choices, but you can get to a point where you get out of that hole and get to a different place. You may need some professional financial help for someone to look at all the numbers for you and map that way out for you.
I’d like to talk about two common, but completely different themes that we hear in regards to teaching in the church surrounding finances. And one, I talked about a little bit earlier, which is that it’s just easy. You should be able to do it, create a budget, spend less than you bring in, et cetera. And that creates shame, obviously, because we have all kinds of things that get wrapped up in terms of spending.
You know, some of us grew up in a family where finances were never talked about. Some people grew up in a family where every time their parents got money, they just blew it. So they never learned how to have restraint, self-control, how to budget, how to manage money. And obviously that puts you at a disadvantage when you’re trying to learn how to manage it on your.
Some people grew up in families where love was bought. So gifts were a big thing or a lot of money was spent giving to people. And maybe you wanted to continue that, but haven’t been able to, because of your financial situation. So you spend above your means to provide gifts and what you believe is love to other people in the family.
There are so many different thought processes that people can have surrounding money. And oftentimes these thought processes go back to childhood. For example, you may have a belief about yourself that I am no good with money. Now, if you tell yourself that you’re going to live by that principle. And so it may be better for you to say to yourself, I’m learning how to manage my money.
I’m growing in new financial knowledge. I’m talking to others who know more than me to try to learn about this issue. I’m reading books. If you are doing those things and you’re really seeking out the help that you need, I promise you will not continue to be bad with money anymore. Another belief that people may carry is that they never have enough money.
And this goes back to maybe growing up in a little bit more of an impoverished environment. Maybe now they’re doing okay though. Maybe now they’re in the middle or middle to upper class, and they’re still holding on to this belief of I’m never going to have enough. This can drive people to be anxious, workaholics, working multiple jobs, believing they have to have a certain number in the bank account or certain amount of income that can really create a lot of stress.
If you’re holding onto that financial belief, you may need to look at reframing that to, I am content with everything that I have everything that I need getting into a space of gratitude will really help you get out of a scarcity mindset. One thing we have to remember is that when we are in that fight-flight or freeze response, and we’re trying to make a financial decision, it’s not going to go well for.
The reason is when you’re in that panicked fight fight free state, your higher levels of thinking are turned off at that point because you’re in survival mode, short-term, thinking, what do I need to do just to get through this? versus a more balanced, long-term mindset. If you have ever bought a car, you know how this goes and how people really try to play on this, like car sales are very good.
They know exactly what they’re doing. They will convince you that you have to make that decision right now about whether or not you’re going to buy that. Because it is going to disappear into thin air and the $500 off they promised you is going away right now. And they tried to get you really into this state of worked up of making this decision.
And next thing you know, they’re showing you stuff that’s out of your price range. This happens. Anytime you go to buy something that you will tell someone, this is my price range, and they will show you something completely outside of it, case in point, Steve and I bought a mattress recently and I was choking with people about it later because I said, you know, she gave us several different mattresses to lay on after we told her our price range and the last mattress That we laid on was $2,000. I did not come in there with any intentions of spending $2000 on a mattress. It was a very nice mattress granted, but it was almost just comical to me that she felt the need to have us lay on that one, you know, see how wonderful it is, isn’t that great. And, you know, we have these financing offers and so forth and so on.
You have to be very careful and understand the psychology behind sales scarcity time limitations really educate yourself on some of those things before you go shopping, make sure you’re in as calm a state as possible when you’re making especially large financial decisions such as on a car house, furniture. Those things are gonna be more money for you. Another message that you may have heard in the church is similar to kind of a, you know, name it and claim it type of thing. God wants to bless you financially. He owns the cattle on a thousand Hills. He wants to open up the windows of heaven for you.
So this seed and give to our ministry and God will multiply it. Whatever the message is, that’s out there. I’m sure that you have heard some version of each of those. Here’s the reality based on going back to scripture, Philippians four 19, and my God will meet all your needs. According to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Interestingly enough, this verse is found in a passage on contentment. It says, God will meet all of our needs according to his riches. It doesn’t say that we’re going to have everything that we. It doesn’t say, if you accept Christ, you’re going to be a millionaire. Steve will tell you that some of the most blessed people that he’s met were not blessed financially, but they were blessed spiritually.
They were blessed relationally. They were blessed in many other ways. God does want to bless us, but it’s, doesn’t always come in the financial realm. We have to understand that there are many different ways that God can and does bless us. I do believe that there’s also the parable of the talents, that if we are responsible with what God gives us, we will naturally be entrusted with more to take care of.
The opposite is also true. If we don’t take care of what God gives us. We may not have it anymore. We are not always ready to receive what God has for us. I’m not just speaking financially. Although I do believe it applies financially, but sometimes we aren’t ready to receive a different job opportunity.
We may not be ready to receive a relationship. God may be working in our lives to prepare us for that next thing. But our character may not be where it needs to be in order to receive that. I want to say something here about giving. Oftentimes we hear about tithing and giving in the church. These are certainly biblical concepts and there’s plenty of scriptures to back tithing giving to the local church, as well as even above that giving to other organizations that are helping other people or other Christian causes. Why does God ask us to give certainly he can do anything and doesn’t rely on us to give money to the church or to give to other organizartion. He can meet needs in any way that he desires.
I believe that God asks us to give because it keeps us out of a space of greed. If we put God first in our finances and say, okay, I’m gonna dedicate this first 10% over to you. And I’m going to give how you’ve led me to, to other cause. That keeps us from making money a God. And a lot of times, if we’re obsessing, ruminating have a lot of anxiety about finances, you know, we have to be careful because maybe we’re making that an idol in our life.
That’s something maybe that you might need to just genuinely self-evaluate for yourself, have I put this money and this effort in paying my bills and getting certain things or accomplishing certain things in life above God, when we give it puts us in a state of gratefulness for all that we do have, and all that God has provided for us.
It’s really amazing sometimes when you stop and you go back and look at difficult, maybe financial situations that you’ve gone through, I was on someone else’s podcast and it was, it was kind of comical because I was trying to make this analogy right about coming to counseling and how. You know, if you’re having a problem with your car, you know, you don’t just lay hands on it, you take it to the mechanic.
And I was kind of saying, if you have these emotional problems, praying is good, but you don’t just do that. And you go to somebody that can help you with those emotional problems. So as I’m making this analogy, I say, no, no, wait, there was this time where I could not afford to get my car fixed. I had to get an emissions test that was coming up.
I knew there wasn’t anything majorly wrong with the car, but I was gonna fail because my check engine light was on. And sometimes those things can be temperamental. If you know anything about cars, sometimes the systems. Just kind of go a little wonky and one thing is off and your check engine light’s on and it’s not really anything to do functionally with the car.
So I said, “no.” I remember I prayed for my check engine light to go off and it did. It didn’t go off right away when I prayed about it, but it did go off several days later. And I really believe that God heard that prayer and came through for me so that I didn’t have to take my car in anywhere. And I certainly wasn’t in a space to get a different car at that point.
I say all that to say, you never quite know. Like how God is going to come through for you and never underestimate the power of prayer and the power of knowing that if you are a child of God, that he loves you very much, and he wants to make sure that you are taken care of that includes financially in terms of being able to make sure that your bills are met and taken care of what I would encourage you to do.
If you are anxious about your finances today, take a moment and stop, look around, start to become really, really thankful for all the things that you do have, whether it’s running water, electricity, a yard, a car, whatever it is that you can be thankful for today. One of the things that changed my life when I was going through my divorce was I read this verse in James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” What I realized when I read that verse was going through a difficult season financially, as well as emotionally was to say, okay, if there’s something good in me regardless of what it is, whether it’s tangible or intangible. That means that God put that good thing. There it’s a gift from him. It’s something that I can be thankful for. Gratitude helps us with so many areas of our life, but specifically when we’re talking about financially, It helps us get to a place of contentment where we can step back and say, you know what?
I don’t really have a need of anything. Maybe you’re in a space where you’re anxious about finances because you genuinely cannot pay your bills or you genuinely do not have enough food. And what I would say to you is that it’s okay to get help. There’s no shame in that. If you go through a season. Where you have to go to the food pantry because you lost your job.
Don’t feel bad about that. If you are a single mom with no child support and your husband has left you and things are really rough for you and someone’s offering to help you don’t turn that help away. It’s okay. To receive that you need that in this point in your life, you may not always need it. And you know what, you’ll probably one day be able to give back to somebody else, even if it’s just a listening ear or to be able to say, yeah, I’ve been there.
I know how hard that is. If you’re consistently unable to make your bills, you may need to look at a major life change in circumstances, whether that’s moving, sharing space with somebody, getting a different job that pays you more money. These are all big changes. Sometimes that have to happen as hard as they are to do and to implement.
We touched on this earlier. But my other advice, if you’re feeling stressed financially is to really look at some of your beliefs surrounding yourself and your relationship with money. Are you the type of person that always has to have new things? Are you trying to keep up with some type of status? Do you believe that you’re just always going to be broke?
Do you believe you have to have a certain amount of savings and if it drops below that point, then you just panic. Do you think it’s bad to have money? If you do, you will not hold onto it. You’ll seek to get rid of it. Just so some people believe that Christians should be wealthy. Some people believe that Christian should live in poverty.
And somehow that gets you closer to God. Neither of that beliefs are accurate. You can have a lot of money and honor God with that money. You can have a little bit of money and honor God with that money that you have. Third thing I would say, if you are anxious about money is to pray and really seek God as a provider of all your.
The scriptures tell us that God knows our needs before we ask, but obviously, he wants us to have a relationship with him. He wants us to depend on him. He wants us to ask for those things that we need, start to keep track. Of those answered prayers of those ways that God comes through in the difficult times financially, you will be able to go back and look at those and see how God has worked in your life.
The fourth thing that we’ve already touched on is get help if you need it whether that’s reading a book about finances, going to a class, talking to a financial advisor, getting some type of financial or debt counseling. Allowing others to help you when needed, if you are dealing with financial shame because of maybe negative choices that you’ve made in the past or negative beliefs that you have about yourself related to money, know that God is gracious.
And loves you, wants you to learn from this experience that you’ve had so that you don’t make the same decisions in the future. Sit with the guilt, ask for forgiveness, and then move forward into new behaviors and actions. Don’t keep beating yourself up over and over again for the same. Recognize shameful messages that may be coming from the church or other well, meaning people and choose not to receive those for yourself.
There are many stories of hope that I could give you about finances. And I already talked about one a little bit earlier in the show. This story of hope is actually about giving and financial surrender around the end of the year in 2019. I talked with Steve about our church’s end-of-the-year offering.
That goes towards local and global missions. I had thought that it was going to be easy to give money to this end-of-the-year offering. Unfortunately, what happened was that there were several catastrophes that occurred right around that time period. I can’t remember exactly, but we may have had a home repair car repair and unexpected medical.
Come up. It was several things at one time that had depleted the money that I was planning on giving. I had a specific fund within my business account that I had set aside for a specific purpose. I felt like God was showing me that I needed to give that money to the end-of-the-year offer. I cried so much during this process because I knew that God wanted me to give this money, but I had no idea how that money was going to be replaced.
I was anticipating at some point in 2020, needing those funds for different things. Of course, at this time we had no way of knowing the pandemic was going to happen. That stimulus funds were going to be going. That money ended up getting replaced relatively quickly. My business was pretty busy in the beginning of 2020 because everyone was at home and ready to go to counseling.
So something that I was worried about and didn’t know how God was going to provide for. God already knew and saw into the future. That wouldn’t really be an issue for me. My business was going to be fine, to be honest with you, I can look back and say, I don’t miss that money that I gave to the church.
And honestly, I don’t miss any money that I’ve ever given for the Lord. And for things that I believe he’s called me to give to you, I believe at this point in my. It was about surrendering and trusting God with everything that I had and not holding anything back from him, really trusting that he was gonna be able to meet and provide all the needs for my business.
And for me personally, I hope that this episode has been an encouragement to you or provided some helpful guidance or tips. If you’re dealing with anxiety about finances, I know that it’s a real deal. I’ve experienced it personally in my own life at various points. And I am here to tell you that God is good and he is a great provider.
So last time we talked about making fitness changes. This time we talked about financial changes. What other changes are you seeking to make in this year? Let us know anytime @hopeforanxietyandocd.com. Thank you so much for listening.
Hope for anxiety and OCD is a production of By The Well Counseling in Smyrna, Tennessee
Opinions given by our guests are their own and not necessarily a reflection of the views of By the Well Counseling. Our show is hosted by me, Carrie Bock, a licensed professional counselor in Tennessee. Our original music is by Brandon Maingrum.
Until next time may you be comforted by God’s great love for you.