Highway driving is fast-paced driving. And when I hit the road, it is very easy to drive the speed everyone else is driving. Before I know it, I am well past 120 kilometres and still speeding up. So many people pass me and before I know it, I start passing others.
Highway driving can mirror the pace of our lives.
In our North American culture, we so often find our life filled with stresses, commitments and activities that leave us overloaded and tired, and driving faster than we really want to be.
Looking down at the speedometer, I soon realize that pulling into the slow lane might be a good idea – both on the highway, and the highway of life.
One of the troubles we have in a fast-paced world is our inability to rest and slow-down. Often, we are unaware of our need of rest until we get sick, tired and unable to cope without breaking down in angry or tearful outbursts. We need to slow down and maybe pull off the highway for a rest, a coffee, and a break.
Financial fatigue can be a big problem in our lives. We are tired of the neverending cycle of paying bills, of being in debt, and not being able to “stay-ahead of the game”.
There are many reasons for financial fatigue, and these reasons are completely unique to each person and household. However, there are danger signs that can raise awareness of this kind of fatigue.
You don’t want to talk money. You don’t want to pay bills. You just don’t care. With a fast-paced life, and continuous and immediate financial needs, each of us can have seasons when we just don’t want to think about our financial situation any longer. The primary response in such cases is avoidance. You just stop paying bills. Or you go and spend money you don’t have. You are looking for a break, or a spurt of activity that brings you joy. Spending money can do this in the short term. However, avoidance and the fruit of it, may only cause further financial troubles later on.
Inability to Decide
Even the simplest financial decisions can become troublesome, like grocery purchases or household goods. If you notice you are getting overwhelmed by such decisions, pull off into the slow lane, and talk to your family about how you are feeling. Perhaps someone else needs to buy groceries for awhile.
Irritability and Short-Tempered Behaviour
When one spouse or family member is financially worn-out, this may cause arguments, division and short-tempered behaviour and responses. This may be the fruit of financial fatigue or other issues occurring around money.
What to do?
Acknowledge and identify the fatigue, and talk to your spouse or other family members about it. Try to find out what is going on in your heart and life, that may be causing the fatigue. It may have nothing to do with your finances, but other areas of your life, like taking care of an aging parent, sick family member, or going through a job change.
Get some physical and spiritual rest. Take a break from social media and all the voices of advertising and advise. Get some sleep. Go for a walk. Take care of your physical needs, and take the time to meditate, worship or be alone with God.
Give grace to yourself and your spouse. If you need to ask your spouse to take over the finances for a few weeks, do just that.
Find someone to help you with your finances, like an accountability partner or a coach, or a good friend. Getting them to help you set up automated banking payments can also be a very helpful tool during this time.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Again, ask for help. If you let your financial vigilance slip, you may find yourself in deeper trouble weeks down the road.
In all of this, don’t forget you are not alone. Many are learning to live life, even for a season, in the slow lane. You don’t need to be driving in the fast lane all of the time. You may discover that pulling over into the slow lane, even for a season, may be the kind of life you truly want to live.
Rebecca van Noppen is Communications Director at More Than Enough. She is also a teacher, home educator, writer, and woman who loves to pray. A lover of Jesus, she works alongside her husband Financial Coach Dave van Noppen to help others find hope and freedom in Christ on their financial journeys.