You might be wondering, “Who will win the Super Bowl?
Will it be the Eagles, or the Chiefs? Oddsmakers have a heyday with all kinds of predictions about the Superbowl and even the half-time show.
Most likely, there are greater uncertainties occupying your thoughts and impacting your emotions. The game is nice diversion, but there are greater things that keep people awake at night.
According to nearly every study on worry, money, the future, and job security are people’s BIGGEST worries. Right now in our area, many people are losing their jobs (Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Google, and others have announced significant layoffs during the past month). Even though we have a relatively low unemployment rate, corporations are “tightening their belt” as they try to increase profitability in spite of high interest rates, inflation, and low stock prices.
As Heidi and I pastor New Life Church, and we feel the effects of an uncertain economy. This church has also gone through the shake up of a Lead Pastor transition that was emotionally difficult and messy. Some people left the church. Others have stopped giving. Trust is missing. The giving and income has been significantly lower than our budget. Something has to change. It is a big challenge that we are facing right now.
Responding to financial uncertainty
If you are struggling with financial or job uncertainty, renew your trust in God.
- Make the struggle a point of daily prayer. Reflect on the promises of Jesus: Matthew 6:25-34
- Honor God with your finances. Put Him first. Make sure this part of your life is “in order”. Give generously. Avoid greed and fear. Trust God with the tithe and offerings. Avoid and eliminate debt. Pray about your purchases before making them.
- Remember that God’s name is “The God Who Provides” (Genesis 22:14). Jehovah Jireh!
Heidi and I face this struggle as we lead the church and consider buying a house. Interest rates and housing costs are very high. We are praying for wisdom, direction, and God’s provision. We are battling our own fears and the uncertainty of the situation. We are focusing on faith, and the promises of God.
The second biggest area of worry that most people struggle with has to do with relationships. There are relationships that are broken and strained. There is loneliness and isolation. There are toxic relationships to navigate. Our own insecurities and brokenness become factors in our reactions, actions, thoughts and emotions.
Heidi and I are in process of making many new relationships. We are serving a new congregation (new to us) in a new community. We are facing people’s hurts over the situation that we have entered into. We have not had much time to build trust. Relationships take time. It takes time to know, and to be known. We feel this challenge, along with people’s struggles with transference and the projection of pain. We empathize and understand. At the same time, I have to process my own emotions connected to my own insecurities. I sometimes care too much what people think. I have to remember that Jesus was rejected by many, and that is to be expected.
Responding to relational struggles
The best solution I have found is a rather simple one. I must keep my focus on love. Love overcomes defensiveness. Love overcomes insecurity. Love creates a bridge that takes time to build. Let’s remember this as we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week!
I also find it helpful to invest in the deep and stable relationships that I already have, that give me life. These relationships are with God, with family, and with close friends.
The other way of dealing with uncertainty is through PRAYER. God’s plans are good, and He is at work in your life. He is responding to your prayers. Thank you for your prayers for us! If you have a request, please put it in the comments below and I will be praying for you.
Remember: There is no resurrection with first going through death, and there is no Spring without coming through Winter. God is inviting you to be a part of a turnaround story! It will require actions that are bathed in prayer.
I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. There are other tools at our disposal as we face uncertainty. What is helping you? What is hindering you from having God’s peace?
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.