Dear Lucy: I went with my husband to pay his cell phone bill and while we were there the salesperson told him about a special offer. My husband decided to take advantage of it as a gift to me. I was excited about the gift. But, there was a glitch with the process and the total amount kept changing. My husband is very patient with this sort of stuff and can talk about money all day long. I absolutely hate conversations about money and got so irritated that I told him I didn't want the gift. I am always sabotaging myself like this. Help!
Dear KL: I am laughing because I used to have the very same problem. I simply had a jacked up relationship with money! And you are right...it can sabotage your receiving of money or things that cost money. Here are some of the symptoms of a bad relationship with money:
• You feel anxiety anytime you have to pay bills;
• You hide money in a "safe" place and forget where you put it or that you even have it;
• You especially don't want to talk to your spouse about money;
• You are always saying that things cost too much while you long to have them;
• You never have any money, even though you faithfully work, tithe and watch your spending;
• You are ashamed to bargain with anyone when making a purchase because it makes you nervous, seem too aggressive or cheap;
• You are always losing things that you paid good money for and don't understand why.
These are just a few of the symptoms. There are many more. They seem foolish and counter-intuitive. The truth is that you really want money and would love to have plenty of it. However, you are afraid of what you may do if you had it. You don't trust yourself with it and don't believe that you are worthy of it. You probably did something really foolish in your past to prove that these things are true!
We learn about money and how to think about it as children and usually believe what our parents or people in authority had to say. We also get some mixed signals from church. Money can be considered evil and selfish. Money is neither. We live in a world where money is useful, important and opens doors to opportunity and comfort. There is nothing wrong with either of those.
Money is not a person, so it cannot be selfish or evil. It's how we think about it and use it that matters. Some of us were raised believing that people with money are selfish, dishonest and not to be trusted. Even church folk get confused about money and its use.
Money – when used correctly – can open doors to all sorts of possibilities. This is especially true in churches. It takes money to run any organization. How does your church use its money to help create better lives for its members and community?
Recently, I watched Oprah's 2012 "Favorite Things" show. She did two this year. She gave away things that were useful and things that were ridiculous to people who had not ever seen or heard of most of the stuff. Is she evil, selfish, not to be trusted? She had way more fun than the receivers of her gifts! So what if she persuaded lots of businesses to donate many or most of the gifts? She simply gave them an opportunity to give something away. So what if it's great publicity for them? Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. We cannot have one without the other.
Here are some ways I fixed my relationship with money:
• If I caught myself judging someone who had money, I stopped myself and blessed them.
• If someone offered me something free, I accepted it graciously.
• I got $1000 in play money, spread it out on my bed and just wallowed in it as if it was real money. I did this until I felt OK about "wallowing in money!"
• Every time I started to say I could not afford something I changed it to "maybe later, this is not what I will do with my money right now."
I used these affirmations:
• "It's safe to be me having money, loving the use of money, giving and receiving money and seeing all of the good that comes through money.
• "I am worthy to receive and to give and I can be trusted with money."
All of your negativity about money keeps the flow of money away from you. Money is a means for expressing appreciation. Forget the expression and enjoy the feelings of worth, pleasure and satisfaction.
Seeing you rich!
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or from her website.)