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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Managing Money
Financial expert discusses how to manage money with a Christian outlook

Couple discussing finances

Do you talk to God about your money? You should, according to Regnum Christi member Sophie Blais-Yalbir.

“The reality is God wants us to come to him for everything – money & finances too,” she said.

Sophie is a certified financial planner for WealthCo Financial Advisory Services Inc.  She spoke at the RC conference for women in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in October of 2012, giving her listeners helpful advice on how to handle the financial issues in their lives with a Christian outlook.

Sophie pointed out there are many passages of Scripture that refer to the use of money.  And many of these are warnings to the “rich.”

“On the surface it seems pretty tough to achieve salvation with wealth,” she said, referring to the following quotes from scripture:

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, ´I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.´" Matthew 19:23-24

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10

These passages can cause guilt to those who have some measure of wealth, Sophie said. “I know that the eye of the needle gospel always makes me twinge a little – especially given the line of work that I’m in.  Sometimes we feel that if we have money, somehow that makes us less Christian. 

But those who feel this way are not focusing on the right things, she counters.

She recalls a sermon her pastor once gave in which he asked the congregation, “Which master do we serve?” referring to the passage in Matthew 6:24 and 16:26, and Luke 12:15.  Then Sophie quoted Proverbs 22:2, which states:"Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all."

“He makes us all, and he asks us to have an attitude of service, to share what we have with other – gifts, wealth, time, a smile,” she said. “It’s the attitude of service that God wants to see.”

However, she does warn that if we do treat our wealth and money as a “God” -- then we have a problem, and she encouraged her Regnum Christi listeners to talk about it this important issue with their spiritual director and to add money concerns to their prayer life. “GOD wants to hear from you.... yes, even on this topic!  Especially if it has a hold on you.”

Sophie’s suggests using the Prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:10 as a guide.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.” So God granted him what he requested.

“We all know that God answers prayer,” she said, and though his answer may not always be for us to win the lottery, “we know it will be in the way that is best.”

Know Thyself!

“Each one of us was programmed early on in our lives,” she said. “Our childhood is often where our money mindset comes from.  There is no right or wrong way to be – the key is to understand ourselves.”

She asked her listeners to close their eyes and consider what their dreams are for their life.

“If we were to meet in 3 years time, what needs to happen for you to feel really good about your progress as it relates to finances and your relationship with money?” she asked.

Sophie used her own life as an example.  She called herself a “choleric dreamer” who is pretty good with numbers.  But she admits she was sometimes challenged when talking to others about money.  After she got married, she had to adjust to sharing her bank account with a spouse, and those “little people” who would -- if they had access to her account -- “spend it with wild abandon.”  She also had retired parents and in-laws who, like many others, believe you just don’t talk about money.

But she said, “As a dreamer I’ve always known that the money will always be there and if not, I can make more if need be. This frames my money personality, and by understanding myself, I’m better able to work with those people in my life whom I love and who I need to talk about finances.

“Once I really looked at who I was, where I come from and how I relate to money and finances, it really helped me when I was dealing with others.”

Think Postively

Sophie suggested that a person’s thoughts can often be tainted by the past, guilt, stress and anxiety, and can have a negative effect on every aspect of that person’s life, including finances.

“Our thoughts affect actions,” she said. “If we change the way we think, or the way we speak to ourselves, we can begin to change the actions we take.  And every good conversation starts internally, hopefully with prayer.”

She suggests reprogramming the soundtrack in our heads, with the following examples:

·         Thinking: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Rethinking: “It’s earned by us, and we work hard to create the life God is asking us to live.”

·         Thinking: “Money burns a hole in my pocket.” Rethinking: “I like to buy nice things, but I am conscious of our family budget as I do so.”

·         Thinking: “We are poor but we sure eat well.” Rethinking: “I value health and choose to feed my family with the best possible nutrition we can afford.”

·         Thinking: “Money can’t buy you happiness.”  Rethinking: “Money is a means to live the life God intends for me.”

·         Thinking: “He who makes the gold makes the rules.”  Rethinking: “In our family, financial decisions are made by both me and my spouse.”

There are some simple ways to change negative self-talk to positive self-talk.

·         Be aware of your thoughts, because it’s hard to change what you are not conscious of.  “If you were always told as a child that you weren’t good with money, you might be replaying that little comment over and over in your head,” she said.  The key is to be aware of where this thought comes from and change the pattern. Create a response to that negative self talk.  “I’ve learned the importance of saving and managing money and I’m better than I was.”

·         Pray daily with short, realistic, and focused, and positive thoughts. “We want to live our lives united to Christ and his will,” she said. “Ask the Lord to inspire your thoughts, words and actions and accompany them with His help.”

·         Because the seed of doubt and negativity can grow into this huge tree of despair, Sophie suggested creating the story in your head that you want to see. “Visualize it and write it down or draw a picture, so you internalize where you are going.  In a way it is as if you are already achieving your goals.”

·         Replace negative influences with positive ones.   “Some people in our lives wreak havoc on our internal dialogue,” she said.  “Limit your exposure to such people, if possible.”  With your spouse or kids, she suggests that being more positive and thinking more positively about finances will influence them to do as well.

·         Eliminate, “shoulda’s, coulda’s, and woulda’s.” “This is a minefield of wasted worry,” she said. “Focus on today, in the present situation that you find yourself in.  Ask yourself, ‘What can I do right now?’”  (You cannot change the past, and controlling the future is tough too!)

·         Confront your fears, which hold us all back. “It’s that lack of trust in God and his will for us in our lives,” she said.  “Ask yourself what you are afraid of?  What’s the worst that can happen?  Pray about your fears, confront them and share them with someone who is close to you.  In most cases, the positives far out weight the negatives.”

·         Focus on the bright side, on the positive things in your life that you are grateful for. “Give thanks for those things daily,” she said. “If you are not good with numbers, be thankful that you have a husband who is!”

Click here for Sophie’s tips on helping your spouse, children and older parents deal more effectively with their finances.



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