This past weekend, my pastor asked me to share a story about putting your trust in God vs. putting your trust in money. Yes, it’s important to be responsible with our money and manage it wisely, but only God can provide us with true peace and security. I think this struck a chord with a lot of people, so I decided to put the story here on my blog. If you’d like to hear the entire message, you can listen to it here. (My story starts at the 17 minute mark.)
When the recession began to take a toll on the economy in 2009, I’d been working for my family’s business for ten years. I was the Vice President of HR & Accounting –a good job with excellent pay and benefits. I was also part-owner with my Dad and brother. My family business wasn’t immune to the effects of the recession. Because I prepared the company financial statements, I knew exactly how hard it was hitting the family business. There was a period of time when I was genuinely concerned that the company wouldn’t survive.
To say that I was distraught and stressed out was an understatement. My eye began to sporadically twitch uncontrollably; I had trouble sleeping, and was generally miserable. My husband, Nick, and I both worked for the family business, so if the company closed its doors, we would be in a world of hurt. Plus, the family business had been a part of my life in some way or another for twenty years. I remember when my Dad started the company in the spare bedroom of our home when I was a high school freshman. It almost felt like I was watching a dear family member slowly dying of cancer and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.
One day, during this period, I remember driving to work and seeing the company come into view. In desperation, I cried out to God, “God, you said you would always take care of me!” He answered me very clearly: “I will always take of you. I never said that the family business would take of you.” I was dumb-founded. I had never considered any other career path for myself. My plan was that my brother, Jim, and I would take over the family business when my Dad fully retired and we would eventually pass the reins on to the next generation of owners. The truth was, I made my career plan and asked God to bless it. I never prayed and asked him what HIS plan was for my career. I was trusting in the family business and the income it provided me, not trusting in God to take care of me.
The tide of fear and stress that threatened to crush me pulled back as I dared to consider how else God might provide for me. Shortly after that day, as I confided in my career coach the financial woes of the family business, I was asked a very important question: “If you could make the same salary you’re making right now, but could have any career you wanted, what would you do?” I didn’t even blink. “Financial Coaching,” I answered.
So, I officially started my own company, doing financial coaching part-time, while still working at the family business. I found myself really enjoying it and wanting to do it more and more. After two years of part-time coaching, I resigned from my position at the company and became completely self-employed. I know that I am doing exactly what God wants me to do as a “Financial Lifeguard” I’m throwing a life-line to people who are drowning financially and need someone to get them to a safe place so they can catch their breath and then learn how to “swim.” I’m making less money than I used to, but God is blessing and growing my business slowly but surely. I have a deep-seated sense of peace and joy, and I feel more fulfilled than ever.
I’m also happy to report that my family business not only survived the recession, but also is poised to have its best year ever in 2014. I’m glad that the company will continue to provide a good income for my Dad, my brother, and the other employees – most of them like family to me. If you looked at my decision on paper – considering my salary and ownership income from my family business – you might say that I made a BIG mistake. But my trust is in God now, not in a job, or in my family’s business. I know He’s going to take good care of me. And you can’t put a price tag on that.
Maybe that’s why our Founding Fathers put “In God We Trust” on our money – so that we wouldn’t forget who’s really providing for us.