Sometimes I feel terrified when I read the Bible.
All the way through it there are parts where it tells you to give your life to God; give away all your money and don’t worry about the future because God will provide. I have to be honest – there’s also life. There’s the fact that I live in a world where money exists.
There’s my job in retail, student loans, the emotional pressure and the economic hell of living on Jobseeker’s Allowance. There’s paying for food, travel, clothes and other necessities. There’s the fact that I have to live with my parents and the far off hope that maybe I could have my own home someday.
Finally there’s the feeling, though I’m not in debt, that I actually don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to my money.
As a 23-year-old living in the UK, I’m not alone in this. A recent survey found that as many as 37 per cent of 18-24 year olds don’t have a plan to repay the debts they’ve built up. Forty-two per cent say they have found managing money harder than expected.
A further 37 per cent are already in debt and owe as much as £2,989 on average and even that’s when you remove the people repaying student loans and mortgages. Initially you’d think that the problem comes from people simply spending too much money, but more than two thirds of those people do have a plan and 71 per cent check their balance through online banking at least once a week. So there’s something else happening.
One cause is that we don’t seek help when we get into trouble. We keep it a secret from our friends, our family members and all the people who love us and would help us because there’s a lot of shame involved in feeling lost in these things. It might register that God requires us to be good stewards of all He gives us, but do we actually know how? Instead, we don’t think our problems are bad enough to seek help. We think we can solve it ourselves, but really, a lot of us can’t.
Jesus never promised that good Christians would get really rich. I don’t think that was His pitch, but I’m not too sure He promised they’d be exceptionally happy all the time either. What I do know is that Jesus meant us to live in community with others and we’re expected to receive help as well as to give it.
I’m a voluntary blogger with the charity Christians Against Poverty and the level of support they’re able to provide always surprises me. If you’re in trouble with your money there are plenty of people who can give you advice and support.
Are you willing to ask for it?