Tackling the greatest budget buster – Emotions!

The biggest budget busters might be eating out and entertainment, but it’s really our emotions that cause us to overspend. You’re over-stressed, tired, or bored.

Did you bark at the bad driver while commuting to and from work today? Did you find a mess at work to deal with?  Did something make you so mad that you wanted to pop.  It’s not Monday noon yet, and anxiety is rising in your chest, like bile from your stomach you can almost taste it. You can’t wait until the day is over, the dishes are put away, the kids are in bed, and you are chilling on the sofa medicating yourself with  some nonsensical TV program or book snacking. On the way home, it would be easy to stop and medicate life with a shopping trip, or an oasis at the restaurant. Maybe a glass of wine in the evening; “Well that was nice, maybe another, or…?

Truth is you are out of control a times, admit it. If you allow your emotions to control you, you are doing life on your own, and it’s not supposed to work that way. It doesn’t work that way. For this post, I’m assuming you have a budget that you follow each month, and track spending. However, if you are like me, life just gets busy and stressful at times. When you are stressed you tend to be more anxious. The more anxious you are, the more you spend on budget-busters.

What are you anxious about? You think it’s life, external things that make you feel this way, but you are wrong if you think like this. Anxiety is an internally derived emotion, and like many of our emotions, it’s our natural response to errors in our thinking or reacting to the world around us. Busy people face this and so do lazy folks who need something just to do.

Anxiety is caused by the sense of separation from God, and our lack of focusing on him throughout our day. It is when you are carrying your loads not only for today but for tomorrow too, and all on your own shoulders without help. Why are you separated from God? It’s probably because the busier you are, the less time you have for him in your life! If your day is full of activities, commuting, working, and trying to keep your home sane, you push God to the margins. With more extra activities we put on top of normal things like doing laundry, preparing meals, running errands and relaxing during down times, we have less time for God.

Life is so busy, the average church goer only attends worship services about once a month, fewer read and pray regularly. I think this is because we associate spiritual activities with work, which we try to offset by things for one’s self like exercise, fun and relaxation. Who has time for devotions, small group, and worship services every day, or every week? There just isn’t enough time for work and for one’s self, is there? How’s that working for you?

Please see this vicious, terrible cycle. You are stressed, tired and want an escape. You want more time for yourself. You fill up your margin time with things for you, busy fun things that are good, that God intended for us to enjoy. However, they don’t satisfy us enough, and our anxiety is only mildly reduced. In an effort to have space between things that make us anxious, we leave little focused time for God. Without this we are more stressed. The next day, it repeats itself all over; more stress, more time for self, less time for God.

Let’s look in the Good Book for some insight:

  • Don’t be anxious: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt 6:34 ESV).
  • Each day has new good things from God: “Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” (Lam. 3:23-24 HCSB).
  • Jesus lightens our load and give us peace and rest: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28 NLT).
  • Life with Jesus is a life of ‘More’ and not ‘Less:’ “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10 KJV).
  • He invites us to receive from him: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost (Isa 55:1 NIV).
  • Life with Jesus is one of all kinds of material, emotional, and spiritual food: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35 NIV) .
  • We ask and he provides today’s needs: “Give us today our daily bread (Matt. 6:11 NIV)”
  • We have help: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you ” (John 14:16-17).
  • Jesus is with us: Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23).

You were not designed by the creator, to do life without the him. In the garden the Creator, Adam and Eve worked together. It isn’t any different for you and me. We are to begin each day with him in Bible reading and prayer. At the end of the day, our final thoughts should go out to him in prayer too. In between those hours, when we work and go about, we can be mindful of him in even mundane activities, and look for him even in the most stressed of times.

We don’t carry tomorrow’s worries. We ask and get help from God along the way. We think of him, and in our hearts talk to and spend time Jesus and the Holy Spirit throughout or day. He is near to us. This is the abundant life of less stress and anxiety he intends for us. When we have less stress and anxiety, we spend less on things we don’t need. God centered people are more generous towards others and God with money and time, desire to spend less on themselves accumulating more and more unnecessary material possessions. Happy people are those who are enjoying him and the things he intended for us to have. These are the people that are daily walking with Jesus, and spending quiet time with him and worshiping him during weekend services and with friends in Bible studies and small groups.

Doing life, just one day at a time. Each day is a gift all by itself. We only get one at a time. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is unknown. Seek Jesus for what he has in store for you for today. For now, that’s enough.

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