Thursday, August 13, 2009

A reprint from United Methodist Reporter

I thought you might enjoy this Q&A by Mary Jacobs, a writer for the United Methodist Reporter. 

"With the economy as bad as it is, are you worried that you haven’t got a prayer?
In her book, Grace on the Go: Powerful Prayers to Ease Money Worries (Morehouse, 2009), Barbara Bartocci offers words of encouragement and practical tips.

Q: A lot of people are worried right now. What insight can you offer?

Worry is like prayer to the wrong god. We think we are focusing on the problem and somehow doing something about it. But worry puts our mind into obsessive, negative thinking. We're not problem-solving. We're obsessing.

When you catch yourself worrying, literally say the word “Stop.” Psychologists tell us that our minds will only hold one thing at a time. Once we stop the worried thought, we can put in something to take its place. I suggest a short, affirmative prayer such as, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” or “If God is with me, who can be against me?” Repeat this prayer until it is fixed in your consciousness, replacing the worry.

Another action step: if you feel you can’t give up worry altogether, then limit the time you spend on it. Mentally, put all your worry into a big canvas bag.Once a day take the worry out and wallow in it for a certain period of time—no more than 15 minutes—then mentally stuff the worry back into the bag and say this prayer: “Thank you, God. I am now worry-free until this time tomorrow.” Psychologically, by not trying to get rid of worry altogether, you have made it manageable.

Q: You describe a technique you call “prayerful brainstorming.” Explain.

It's a way to look at worry from a problem-solving perspective. Imagine that a friend has come to you with the same concern you’re facing. What would you advise? Jot down every idea that comes to you. Some will seem farfetched, but there’s going to come one idea you can use. It may call on you to live in a way that is different from your ideal lifestyle. But if you stay faithful, believing that God will be with you, you can brainstorm a way out of your problems.

We live in a culture that has mixed-up needs with wants. I believe the statement, “If you strive for the kingdom of God, all else you need will be given to you.” Maybe not everything you want, but what you need.

Q: Without discounting the pain, are there “lessons learned” from this recession?

Yes, we're re-learning what really counts. I have a chapter in my book titled “Happiness: Priceless." A study asked people, “Would you like more income?” Whether someone earned $5000, $50,000 or $500,000 a year, every person replied, "Yes. Sure."

“But when the question was asked, “What do you need to make you happy?” money was No. 14 on the list. First on the list is the loving concern and care of friends and family.

Q:So what’s your advice for dealing with money worries?

Follow these 19 words:
“Clutter less. Pray more. Consume less. Give more. Want less. Enjoy more. And always, always give thanks to God.”"

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