Dealing with Worry and Losing Financial Stability

“I can’t do this. This is too hard. There’s no way I’m good enough to succeed. There’s someone better than me.”

Worry FinancesWebmaster’s note: This is a guest post by Jacqueline So whose life’s current challenges are not uncommon to young men and women today in the corporate and business world today.

It’s a bit of a daily mantra with me, a person who (unwisely in many opinions) quit her steady, well-paying job to embark on a writing career. I was positively overjoyed when I first made this decision in January for two reasons: one, because it was the achievement of a lifelong dream to be able to refer to myself as a ‘writer’ when asked for my occupation; two, because it was done in view of the Lord’s goodness and perfect timing.

I received the blessing of my parents, who were thoroughly opposed to the idea for a very long time, and I handed in my resignation to the bank in which I worked just in time to avoid a transfer to a team that would have ripped away all vestiges of sanity from me. In the two weeks following my last day at corporate work, I was happy, even buoyant. I felt confident because I was moving in tune with God’s will.

Then the first month of my freedom drew to a close. It wasn’t that I wasn’t doing anything–on the contrary, I had more of a plan than others I knew. I had a fairly regular part-time writing position, and I was getting other projects online. But the one big consequence of my decision, which I thought I’d thought through, hit like a freight train. The giant drop in financial stability. Coming from a Chinese family, this was particularly tough because I had been raised with the (admirable) knowledge that I would be the one to help my parents financially as they grew older, which was why they were so pleased with my banking job.

But I was down to living paycheck-by-paycheck, so how was I going to support my parents? How would I be surviving now if I were not under their roof? Would it have been better to live alone and struggle rather than face their disappointment at their sensible daughter’s insensible life choice? Worrying, always worrying, especially as I began having less to do.

Worrying is a sin many Christians don’t give a lot of heavy thought to. It’s a part of life. Being too palpably content, too rested and peaceful, is often taken as inaction. It’s a pressure that slowly, certainly, makes waiting on God impractical. There’s no time to be in His presence when there are bills that need to be paid. It’s the capitalism trap, which says that worth is determined by what you produce or what you can contribute to society.

What did I, an artist, contribute to my home? Maybe it’s time to give up the dream, and humbly return to a corporate lifestyle. If God’s not coming through for me, then I have to do something until He does, right? There’s nothing wrong with that. And the pressure mounts until all I can see is darkness, and I wonder where He’s gone.

Oswald Chambers says in his excellent devotional My Utmost for His Highest, “It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything but those details that worry us. Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the Word He puts in us? Is it the devil? No–‘the cares of this world’.” He was indeed right. I was overcome by the fear of doing nothing, and it is in such hearts that the devil takes a foothold. And what a foothold it is.

I failed to recognize the invitation to spend more time in the Word, choosing to stare mindlessly at a computer screen as if willing something to happen. Worry birthed doubt; doubt developed into insecurity; insecurity grew into fear; and, as I saw in the lives of many artists, eventually ended in death and madness. For all their efforts, many great lives ended believing they were nothing.

By the grace of God, He opened my eyes early on to this bondage. I continually face these internal battles every day, but He daily guides me by His Word, by prayer, by love and unexpected support. He teaches me to sing songs of thanksgiving to Him when my thoughts focus on myself and I feel like there’s nothing to be thankful for. I try to pray with abandon, to trust the God I know is there. And that’s a day in the life of–no, not just a struggling artist. It’s the life of the ‘struggler’ in all of us.

Comments

  1. Rhodaline says

    Thanks for this, MS. Jacq! The timing couldn’t have been better. I badly needed this reminder as I also ventured into something new very recently.

    This verse has been my constant reminder to trust in God as He knows best :)
    Delight yourself in the Lord;
    And He will give you the desires of your heart.
    Commit your way to the Lord,
    Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
    Psalm 37:4-5

    I’d love to read more of your work! :)

  2. Jacqueline So says

    Praise God, Rhodaline! I’m glad the Lord has blessed you through this article.

    That’s one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible for me! It’s so encouraging! May we continue to meditate on it in our hearts. The journey is still so new to me, so I hope the Lord will be able to continue using me to share His wisdom through my experiences.

    Thank you very much!

  3. Nix says

    Wow.. such a sweet morning..I’m so blessed with your post ms. Jacq.

    I’m a freelance graphic designer (from a 5 year regular work) and it’s so hard to trust God that
    He will really bless me on this new field.. but God is so good for teaching me how not to worry.
    He gave me this word last night:
    Psalm 113:7
    New International Version (NIV)
    7 He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

    Thank you Ms. Jacq. Looking forward for more of your writings.

  4. Jacqueline So says

    Glad this article made your morning sweet, Nix! :) Will lift your situation in prayer as well. As long as we keep the Lord at the center of our lives, He will surely provide for us freelancers! :)

    It’s amazing how the Psalms David wrote are always so instrumental in blessing those in despair. His is truly a good biography to read in times when we’re in doubt about God’s will and timing :)

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