Not surprisingly, a growing number of people are feeling some economic anxiety. According to Yakelovich, a market research firm, the percentage of Americans feeling high or severe financial anxiety has jumped from 33 percent in January of this year to 61 percent in June. Of course, that 61 percent figure was tallied well before the most recent stomach-churning news from Wall Street.
At times like this it’s especially important to keep in mind the distinction between what we can control and what we cannot control. We can’t control what’s happening in the financial markets. However, through the use of a budget, we can control what’s happening in our household, such as how much we’re giving, saving, and spending. Some of the advice being bandied about right now includes, “Cut expenses!” and even, “Stop spending” (as if that’s possible). I say learn to spend more effectively. It’s the difference between fear-based frugality and smart money management. A budget is the tool you need to spend with wisdom and peace of mind.
This is also an especially important time to know and fully trust in the promises of Scripture. The Bible tells us to turn to God in our worries; and it assures us that God knows our needs and promises to provide for us. If you find yourself checking the business headlines or your investment holdings with great regularity, check in with God’s Word just as regularly. In our small group we just started to study the book of Proverbs. We read the other night that we are to seek God’s wisdom with vigor – to “look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.” In doing so, it says, we will “find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:4-5). Now more than ever we need the comfort and guidance of God’s timeless Truths.