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Your Host, Randy Petrick
  • Writer's pictureRandy Petrick

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR FINANCIAL STRESS

Updated: Mar 28


Man in an open-collared suit standing soaked in the ocean with water up to his chest and his hands on his forehead as if thinking, "How did I get here? How did this happen?"

We certainly have plenty of reasons to feel concerned about our finances these days, don’t we? With pandemics and medical expenses, job layoffs, supply shortages, and inflation (to name a few), it’s no wonder many of us feel chest-deep, floundering, and stressed.


Just for kicks, I tried a Google search for “causes of stress.” I got over THREE BILLION hits! That’s unbelievable. Next, I decided to look more closely at some random lists generated by my search. You won't be shocked at this: Money was virtually always somewhere on each list. Money nearly always makes the cut as a major source of stress.


So, how can we start reducing the stress we feel about money? There are two groups of solutions. There are actions I would call general solutions that anyone might use, and there are additional (sometimes quite different) steps people take if they view God as the owner of their assets, and themselves as His stewards. Let’s look at both.


General Solutions

First are some general suggestions for reducing money stress:

  1. Work longer or harder. (Having more income can’t hurt, right?)

  2. Get a second job. (Same deal; more income. More income = less stress, right? Well, maybe.)

  3. Spend less. (Might be easier than working harder!)

  4. Save more. (Definitely. Especially if saving is directed toward building an emergency fund to better handle future financial uncertainties.)

  5. Increase your education. (Good long-term idea, for sure. High returns; low risk.)

  6. Clear out your clutter. (It's not an intuitive action, but you might be able to sell some of your possessions to generate more cash. Clearing clutter is like unclogging a drain—things seem to flow with greater ease afterward.)

  7. Set goals and act on them. (Another good suggestion. Action is always necessary when we want things to change.)


All these ideas work and can be helpful. What I find interesting, though, is that there seems to be a turbocharge or multiplier effect that happens when you change from seeing yourself as the owner of your property to seeing yourself as a steward of God's property. Since we don't bring any assets into the world with us, and we can't take any assets with us when we leave, the reality is we are just stewards during our earthly lifetimes, right? Operating from that point of view changes things.


Solutions Stewards Use


The lower body of a man in blue jeans and white shirt sitting on a stump in a field

1. Stewards pray. God promises to answer us when we pray, but He doesn’t promise to always give us the exact answers we are hoping or praying for. Why? When it comes to money, I believe it is because it isn’t so much the money that God cares about as US He cares about. As Bob Lotich (seedtime.com) says, “I believe that God wants to provide us with opportunities to grow our character and deepen our trust in Him through our money and possessions.” That’s well said and might be a good reason to change our prayers...


What if, instead of just asking God for more money to solve our problems, we prayed,

“Father God, thank you for these difficult financial circumstances I’m facing. Forgive me for those I have brought on myself through poor past decisions. I ask you to grow my character and deepen my trust in you as you help me through my difficulties and lead me toward better decisions in the future. Help me to become a good steward of all you’ve given me.” 2. Stewards redirect their focus. (They learn to focus on God rather than focusing on money.) Owners ask God for “more money;” Stewards ask for help to be better stewards.


A solirary bird sitting on the branch of a tree with a setting sun and orange sky behind it.

3. Stewards learn contentment. Always wanting more causes us to make some dreadfully poor decisions. We often create our own financial hardships by pursuing lifestyles beyond our means. Let’s pray to be able to master contentment as well as the apostle Paul did:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. –Philippians 4:12 (NIV)


4. Stewards change their lifestyles. Rather than falling into the "more = happier" trap, stewards work to live within their means – or better yet, to live below their means. This allows them to:

a. save for bigger purchases (rather than going into debt).

b. be prepared for unexpected events.

c. reduce their bondage to their jobs and their creditors.

d. GIVE! (and store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth).

5. Stewards put their hope and trust in God, not wealth.


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. (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV)

6. Stewards give generously and cheerfully, even when finances are tight. Giving increases trust and trust reduces stress.


Giving (even “irrational” giving according to what your budget might suggest) is one of the most incredible adventures a steward can ever experience. Your giving brings you joy, brings God joy, and impacts eternity!


Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV)


A man and woman outside enjoying morning sunlight and drinking coffee.

Any of the ideas presented here will help improve your situation if you act on them. But I especially encourage you to try some “steward” solutions to reduce your financial stress. Financial journeys aren’t generally quick trips, but when you invite God to help you grow, things do seem to improve more quickly. Best of all, when God (rather than money) becomes the focus of your financial journey, the stress you experience along the way is greatly reduced.


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PS: A GREAT RESOURCE: Earlier in this post, I mentioned Bob Lotich and seedtime.com. I would encourage you to check out his website and his book, Simple Money, Rich Life. I would rank it among the best Christian books on money and finance I've ever read.



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