This Lent, I’m giving up my worries about money. If this sounds like an unspecific and unattainable discipline to you, you should take a look at my budget spreadsheet. This ridiculously detailed spreadsheet is left over from the years where I primarily worked as a freelancer, when paychecks were sporadic and varied in size. Keeping a careful eye on my bank accounts helped me plan for the lean months.
Now I have a steady job, with enough money to pay the bills, but I still find myself worrying about money. When my husband and I finish our graduate studies and look for more permanent jobs, will we find something that pays enough to support us as a family?
Of course, budgeting is not a bad thing, in and of itself. Neither is dreaming about the future. But I feel that both of these are taking me farther away from God and my trust in God’s provision. After all, I remember what Jesus reminded his disciples, many of whom had left behind their own jobs to follow him:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
So for the next forty days, my spreadsheet is off-limits. My husband will be taking care of the bills I usually pay. And when my usual worries about the future crop up, I hope to replace them with prayer. This Lent, I will try to live into Jesus’ words of comfort, as best I can.