Matthew 6: 25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
These are popular and insightful verses where Jesus urges us not to worry and reminds us of our value to God. But what does this have to do with finances?
According to a recent survey done by the Financial Planning Standards Council 42% of Canadians rank money as their greatest stress and not only that but we are becoming more dishonest about our struggles and concerns. Approximately 33% of Millennials have lied to friends about their financial situation which is almost double the national average for Canadians. These statistics illustrate a tendency when we face worry and financial difficulty: isolation.
Vulnerability is terrifying and when we are facing our own personal shame the last thing we want to do is be vulnerable. Yet accountability is vital to our financial success and relieving the fears and worries which keep us awake at night.
So what do we do?
First we need to define accountability. David van Noppen has a very specific definition which does not involve the typical images of someone standing over you, watching your every action. According to him we need to be intentional in our choices of who is to keep us accountable.
Step 1: The person keeping you accountable must be more passionate than you are about seeing you achieve your purpose.
Accountability is such a scary word but it really shouldn’t be! The person you are accountable too is someone you intentionally choose to walk with, and be vulnerable with, through all of life’s trials. They are your biggest cheerleaders and encouragers. They push you to achieve your purpose, whatever that means at the moment.
Step 2: The person keeping you accountable must be the one to pick you up when you fall down.
You will fall down. This is not a statement of discouragement, it is an inevitability. You will fall to the ground and need someone’s guiding hand to help you regain control and get back on track. Being accountable to someone doesn’t mean allowing them to berate you and run you down if you make a mistake. It is having someone to walk with on your journey, to catch you when you stumble, and to inspire you to keep going when the going gets tough.
Ultimately, our most reliable accountability partner is Jesus Christ. He is our greatest encourager the one who created our passions and desires and wants to see us fulfill them. People can administer these same gifts to us, but remember at the end of the day we need to be vulnerable with Jesus first.
By learning to be vulnerable with our Saviour, we will find ourselves able to be vulnerable with the people around us. When we embrace this new transparent, honest and messy reality we will find the worry and fear surrounding our money stories swallowed up by the love of our God and the people around us.
It won’t be easy, but Jesus promises it will bring us new life. “Can anyone by worrying add a single hour to your life?” If not, then maybe we should try letting go of our worries and embracing the power of vulnerability.