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Ask Chuck: Freedom from financial fears

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

I have the opportunity to buy a home from an older couple who needs to move to a retirement/assisted living situation. It’s a great house — one we can easily afford. The problem is that our home was foreclosed on in 2008 due to the Great Financial Crisis. Although we have recovered financially, I am occasionally plagued with fears of making another mistake. It was a major strain on my marriage … Should I go ahead and buy it?

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Plagued by Financial Fear

Unsplash/Annie Spratt
Unsplash/Annie Spratt

Dear Plagued by Financial Fear,

It may feel like you are the only one, but by some estimates, half of all Americans have experienced some sort of financial hardship or failure. I had both in my young adult years, related to mistakes with money. Before you and your spouse decide to buy this home, which sounds like a great idea, let’s talk about your fears.

A priceless lesson learned

You and I both know that we can learn from our mistakes. Pain is one of our very best teachers. Judging from your description of your “recovery,” it sounds like you don’t plan on repeating your past financial mistakes. Unfortunately, even though we can become wiser through our mistakes, we can also become paralyzed by the fear of failure. Not until you are able to put the fear behind you can you say that you have “fully recovered” in all aspects of what you went through in the foreclosure of your home.

Fear works against us. It prevents us from doing things that could bless our families and potentially have positive outcomes. Sometimes, we get so preoccupied with the past that we cannot see our own progress or present successes. We can even lose hope for the future. Fear keeps us in bondage. It is a stronghold that can stunt our spiritual maturity and keep us from experiencing an abundant life.

God is aware of our limitations and the mistakes we make. Thankfully, He is greater than our weaknesses and our mess-ups. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and nothing is too hard for Him to redeem.

Remember that the Apostle Paul was weak and tired of the thorn in his flesh. But he said it kept him from becoming conceited. Three times, he pleaded with the Lord to have it removed. But the Lord answered, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul continued by saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10 ESV).

Overcoming failure

To renew your mind, use the 3 R’s: Repent, Rest, and Rejoice.

  • Repent: Repentance is part of learning from mistakes. Come humbly before God to confess your failures and surrender your future. He’s slow to anger and abounding in love. God can always redeem your mistakes for His purpose.
  • Rest: Rest in the finished work of Christ who loved you and gave Himself for you. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:18–19 ESV).
  • Rejoice: Move forward in hope! “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:3–5 ESV).

No matter your failure, remember this: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV).

King David committed grievous sins, but the Psalms are filled with his praise of the Lord and heartfelt repentance.

Letting failure consume your thoughts can prevent you from moving on and making yourself available for what God has in store ahead. We are prone to protect our pride, so we must take on an attitude of humility and admit that we will never always be right. Life is always going to be filled with both successes and failures. Once we accept this fact, knowing that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us, it’s easier to move forward and continue on with life. 

To buy or not to buy?

Before making an offer, pray for unity with your spouse and guidance from God. Ask Him to bless the house for His purposes. Your mistake was more than 16 years ago; it is time to move ahead with faith in God and be wise stewards of what He has provided.

Resist the urge to compare yourself to others. Choose to abide in Him; unite your heart with His so your desires align with His. When you follow God’s plan, you live without fear of failure.

Crown’s Budget Coaching program can offer additional encouragement and support in analyzing your financial status. Your coach will work with you to develop a customized spending plan and debt elimination strategy to help overcome your fears and allow you to follow God’s plan.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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