How Can a Person Use Money Wisely?
If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves buried under a barrage of information telling us what we “should be doing.” Save money. Pay down debt. Be in control. Budget better.
But we want to be human beings, not human doings, and learning how to use money well is actually a spiritual matter.
Though highly beneficial, tactics and strategies for investing, spending, and saving shouldn’t be what pushes the decisions we make about money. Instead, all our financial decisions should be pulled by something much more important than a set of steps or ideas: who we are.
To use money wisely, we need to start with the “Who am I?” question. It is the powerful force that pulls along our purpose, our vision, our strategies, and every tactic we could possibly think of.
Many things in the world try to tell us who we are, and most of them aren’t sources we should listen to. If you’re having trouble answering the “Who am I?” question, here are three basic ways of uncovering your identity.
1. Get Direct Information From Your Maker
As a person of faith, I believe there is a God, He wants to relate to us, and He wants us to relate to Him.
In that exchange, we get to ask, hear, learn, and understand from His perspective. We can increase our wisdom by reading the Bible, and we can also do it through inquiry, which is where we ask our questions, listen for God’s response, and wait.
We’ll discuss more hands-on, “practical” ways to discover identity in a moment, but here at the beginning I want to seed into your thinking the idea of going to God for answers. In this subject of money, you can ask your Father in heaven, “Who am I?” and hear an answer because He loves you—and that answer will be good.
2. Revisit Your Childhood
As we age, we learn to adapt to our environments. Trauma, abuse, malicious people, difficult seasons, disease, etc. can push us to adapt.
We also see adaptation in work environments where we learn how to outrace or outperform our competitors. Those responses are not evil, but they can cause us to become something we are not in order to succeed. Adaptability is a strength, but it is possible for our true identity to become obscured over time.
What did we do before we learned to adapt? What did we enjoy as children?
When I was five or six years old, I was innocent and childlike enough that I simply behaved as I was. For me, that meant teaching my uncle’s hunting dog. I can remember one moment perfectly well: the color of the dog’s eyes, where we were, the temperature around me, what the subject was.
Examining this memory as an adult, I can see what was naturally coming out of me—I was teaching. It made me feel whole as a little boy, and it’s still what I love to do today.
Looking back at our younger selves can be a very helpful way of discovering our true identity.
3. Listen to the People Around You
You probably have identity coaches already in your life. Who loves you in your community? Who has your best interest at heart, and who speaks into you what is true and encouraging? Pay attention to those people.
According to the Bible, these men and women are actually prophesying to you. They’re declaring who you are and what they see when they consider you, and it is wise not to dissuade or ignore their words.
If you are in a toxic environment, find one that isn’t. Uncover the champions around you and become one yourself. How? One of the ways to become a champion is to discover who you are.
Speak Life Into Your Financial Situation
In summary, using money well is a matter of identity. As we answer financial questions, we need to be thinking from the top down, not from the bottom up. This enables us to start with the “Who am I?” question and avoid getting bogged down in the mire of what we “should be doing.”
Today, go to God and ask Him to increase your understanding of money. This brief prayer might benefit you:
God, I know You are good. You watch me like an encouraging father who wants to help, bless, and increase his kids. Please open up for me the mysteries around money. Make them simple and clear to me, so I can increase what I’m doing in the world as an authentic and genuine follower of Jesus. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.