There are very few things that consume our thoughts like money. I think it is one of the reasons why Jesus would point out that money is the number one competitor to our relationship with God. He said you cannot love both God and money. Not only is money a competitor in that relationship, it can be a trap in every relationship we have. It is one of the leading causes for divorce. The stress of money creates health problems. The desire to obtain money can take us away from the most important relationships in our lives. Sometimes we do not even realize how much of our thought energy is spent on money and the things that go along with it.

When it comes to money, there are at least three topics that tend to consume our thought life. Sometimes all three of them go together, but often one is more dominant than another during  particular seasons of our life. Frankly, if one of these areas is all we think about, we may have a more serious problem than we want to admit. Let’s take a look at these three topics.

How are we going to get it?

Money is a tool that all of us needs in some form or fashion; necessary for us to function in life. Money, however, tends to be one of those things of which almost everyone doesn’t seem to have enough. The more we want, the more it consumes our thoughts. How can we get a raise or a better job? What kind of hustle can we make to earn extra income? Is there a business we could start that would help us get more money? Sometimes these thoughts of how to get more money lead people down a road where they compromise their integrity and will even attempt things that push the bounds of legality. Money is something we all need but we have to be careful that getting more does not consume our thought life.

What are we going to do with it?

We spend an enormous amount of time thinking about what to do with money. Some of that energy is spent thinking about basic necessities and deciding what we need or don’t need. Some of our thinking is devoted to things we want or would like to have. Even thinking about things like vacation and Christmas gifts are ways that money consumes our thoughts. We will even spend a lot of time thinking about what we are going to do with money we don’t even have and may never get. It is humorous to listen to conversations of people talking about what they would do with the money if they won the lottery. The chances we ever come into money from a lottery is pretty close to zero, yet we still think about it. From small necessities to big luxuries to things we will probably never have, how we are going to spend money is one of the biggest things we think about in life.

How can we fix it?

Money problems. At some point almost everyone has experienced some type of financial difficulty. Some misfortunes happen to us through no fault of our own. We lose our job, We have sudden health problems. There is a natural disaster or accident that sets us back. But more often than not the financial difficulties we have are brought on by ourselves. It usually happens because we put more energy into “what are we going to do with it” than “how are we going to get it”. We get into debt buying things we do not need or can’t afford. Sometimes they are unnecessary luxuries we use consumer debt to purchase or it is a car or house that we honestly can’t afford. When it comes to stress, “how can we fix it” is usually the biggest stressor of the three. It can often lead to health problems, marriage problems, as well as other relationship problems.

In terms of pain and stress, “how are we going to get it” and “how can we fix it” are the leading causes. We put stress on ourselves because we have made a mess or we neglect the important things of life trying to get more of it. You may not have realized how much of your life is spent thinking about money. As I prepared to write this I was shocked at just how much of my time is spent on money issues. It really is a competitor to almost every relationship we have. You cannot eliminate the need to think about money, but you can keep it in check. Don’t let it become a trap.

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