Every single time I open my USAA bank app, it … kindly … reminds me how many days I have until tax day. In fact, I just opened it and a big “55 DAYS TO GO” smacked me right in the face! I often wonder why the app makes it such a happy reminder … tax day for me is never happy! I still remember, like it was yesterday, the daunting feeling of filing on my own for the first time after my husband died. Fifty-five days ... 30 days ...15 days -- the countdown building my anxiety one day at a time. But every time I went to take action, it was like I was frozen solid, unable to file, for fear that I would lose yet another bit of control I was clinging so tightly to.
So, let’s take a test to see if I am alone here. FIFTY-FIVE DAYS TO GO!! How does that make you feel? Does it cripple you like it did me three years ago? Do you start to wonder where that sheet of paper was that you swore you would remember where you put it, and well, now you can’t? Are you actually going to look for it right now? I’ll wait …
Maybe it’s not your taxes that scare you. Hopefully, the Turbo Tax numbers at the top of your page are all green (meaning you get a glorious refund)! But what about the rest of the year that’s counting down in front of your very eyes? Do you trust that God has each of those days and their exact provision in mind, or are you tossing and turning in the wee hours of the night, counting how much life insurance you have left, how much the mortgage is going to be, how much you will be making now that just one paycheck is coming in? If so, sister, you are so not alone!
After John-Michael died, it didn’t just feel like my world was spinning out of control -- it was! Every job that used to be divided between two people was now my responsibility. All of a sudden, I was expected to keep it all afloat. Now if it could have been kept above water with tears, that would have been good, but unfortunately my rent couldn’t be paid in tears. The impossibility of it all -- grieving, trying to work, and managing finances -- was exactly the tool Satan had in mind to keep me so bogged down in fear that I wouldn’t be able to see the truth. The truth that all though my world was marked by chaos and question marks, God was not out of control or confused.
INSTEAD OF LETTING SATAN OWN THESE NEXT 55 DAYS, ALLOW GOD TO STEP IN AND SHOW YOU HIS POWER -- YES, OVER YOUR FINANCES, BUT EVEN MORE SO OVER YOUR WHOLE LIFE.
1. Preach the gospel to yourself every day.
When your anxiety over provision becomes bigger than your trust in the God of the universe, it’s a sign to you that you need to sit yourself down and consider the ravens and the lilies! What’s that you say?
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.” Luke 12:24-30
You are more valuable to God than any of his creations. You are his child. He sacrificed everything for you, and will see to it that you are provided for. And when you start to feel less than the birds and the trees turn to God and ask for him to show you that he cares. Ask him to do more than you could ever imagine. You’ll be amazed at how he comes through and how he grows your faith in the process.
2. Ask for help.
I am not ignorant to the HUGE financial problems that the death of a loved one can create. God does not intend for you to face these scary times alone. After JM died, I was very transparent with my church about my financial fears, and they were able to connect me with a great financial advisor, who helped carry my burden for me in the early days after loss. You will be surprised the connections people have, if you are willing to humbly ask.
No matter where you are financially this season, I pray you are seeking God. Ask God to make you more giving with what you have and more trusting with what you don’t. He is faithful in it all.