The Blessing of Being Paycheck to Paycheck This Christmas

by Tim Howington

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121

I made a $500 mistake in my checkbook. Not good.  At Christmas.  Really not good. 

I have spent the morning trying to figure out what I did and unfortunately, I found it.  I screwed up.  Just didn’t write a couple of expenses down in my checkbook. Mistakes like this can put the screws to what is looking like a tight Christmas to begin with.  I have to admit, my gut reaction is to panic.  But then I remember- this is not the first time that God has gotten me out of a tight jam.  This is definitely not my first rodeo, nor will it be my last.

I remember the Christmas growing up where my single mom took me and my little brother and little sister to the dollar store and gave us each $3.  One dollar for each gift we would give that year.  Brother, sister and mom.  One thing I don’t remember is being sad about it.  Or embarrassed. Or fearful.  Or angry.  It was just another episode of what I had come to know as normal.  Love in the middle of living paycheck to paycheck. 

We had learned to apply the principle mentioned in Psalms 121 that is listed above.  Our help comes from the Lord and whatever He provides is good enough.  Let me say that again.  Whatever the Lord provides is good enough for me.  He has tested me in that over the years, but I have come to understand that God allows challenges in my life, but not more than I can handle.

The apostle Paul says it this way

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Truth be told many families (as many as 70% are living paycheck to paycheck) and big expenses like Christmas are a challenge.  In the world of financial coaching the experts say that you should setback a little every month.  So, if you are wanting to spend $600 this Christmas you should have been setting aside $50 a month and viola you wouldn’t be stressed this Christmas.  And maybe you did this.  Great job.  And if you didn’t maybe you could for next year.  But the point of this article is not about piling on to your financial stress this Christmas.

Paycheck to paycheck (P2P) comes in a lot of forms.  To be sure some families P2P is because of irresponsibility.  For some P2P is because of mistakes like mine.  For others P2P is because of challenges in their season of life (kids in college, loss of jobs, bringing a parent home to look after kids, illness and the like).  Whatever the cause for your P2P, there is help.  Our organization would love to help you put together a gameplan.  Just reach out to us at www.freedom5one.com.  Let us know if we can help.

If you a feeling a little tight this Christmas are looking for some inspiration this holiday season, consider meditating on Psalms 121.  Here it is in its entirety.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Psalms 121 (NIV)

On a different note, if you are not struggling with P2P this Christmas, start looking around. Who knows, you might find a single mom in a dollar store that could use a little help. If you have been blessed, be a blessing! #yourgenerositymatters

Tim Howington is a Financial Life Coach for Freedom 5:one Ministries and Journey Financial Group

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