Five Ways to Maximize Your Money
No, this isn't a financial guru's page on the best investments to make during a recession. It isn't a strategy for getting rich even in a bleak economy. It isn't even a CPA's ideas for cutting back on expenses in order to stretch income. Rather, this is about maximizing your resources by re-thinking your relationship with money.
Money, the medium of exchange that is so critical to our daily lives, is sometimes in very short supply—especially during the holidays, when we are encouraged (and expected) to spend, spend, spend.
But money worries for many of us are not limited to holiday bills. We are anxious about when the recession will end, about keeping our jobs and our homes. We wonder if we can pay back accumulated debt and send our children to college. We wonder if we can care for our aging parents and buy fuel for heat and transportation. We are in an uneasy environment and can easily become obsessed with our finances. Yet, right there, in the ragged-ness of our anxiety, the Holy One waits to be encountered. When we stop worrying and focus ourselves instead on the following five simple principles, we may be surprised to find that money becomes not merely a medium of exchange, but a medium of interchange between us and the heart of heaven.
Principle 1 - Practice gratitude
Jesus said that he came so that we would have life in all of its abundance. It's easy to see the abundance in life when we practice being grateful. Make a list of 75 things that you are grateful for right now. Then go back, and see how many of those things are aligned in some way with your finances.
Principle 2 – Deepen Trust
The divine economy is not like our own. It is unlimited. It is endless. The promise of God is that our needs are known, and like the flowers of the field and the birds of the air, we will be taken care of. Our lives matter to God, and that includes even our material needs. God asks us not to worry about tomorrow. When you find yourself in the midst of financial fear, stop what you are doing and turn to God to show you a miracle. Wait to see what happens.
Principle 3 – Give and give and give again
It's natural to want to grasp and hoard when we are fearful of not having enough money to care for ourselves and our families. We feel a responsibility to attend to our own needs and to the needs of those we love. Yet when we give humorously, happily, wholeheartedly, we find that our resources expand rather than contract. In your day today, keep your eyes open for those in need, and give something. Notice what changes occur.
Principle 4 – Receive and receive and receive again
When we are in a tight economic climate, we think that everyone should hold on to what they have. Consequently, we are hesitant to accept help, receive gifts, risk putting someone else in harm's way. We are tempted to defer when others want to give to us. The truth is that we are created with a need to give and a need to receive. When someone offers to give you something or do something for you today, smile broadly like an excited child, and observe the response.
Principle 5 – Dwell in beauty
Financial worries have a way of cutting us off from what is subtle and sublime. Awe seems to stand as distant from us as a frightened deer from human touch. In order to restore a sense of balance, go to a beautiful park, or sit near the ocean, or walk near a river, or go to a sacred place, or light a candle, or smell a flower. Watch the movement of your soul and the movement of your money.
It may not be that actual dollars increase in your bank account as a result of practicing these principles. But your soul will develop a richer relationship with money – one based not on fear, but on trust. It is interesting to note, however, that with the increase of trust, growth happens elsewhere as well. It could be that your finances ease as your soul expands. That wouldn't surprise me in the least.