On Monday evening, I finished a ten week class called Beyond Limits. The exercise in the lecture portion of this last class was about moving from fear to faith and in light of my previous blog post, I thought this was serendipitous. The exercise involved articulating a specific fear and then identifying how we behave as a result of this fear.
Without a doubt, my greatest fear, when it is all said and done, is financial security. This is a whopper of a concern in my life, (which is a surprise to me considering how much I have worried about having a relationship in previous blog posts). According to Iyanla , we’re not living the lives we hope for but rather the lives we expect (I think I recently heard this in church as well). And when I take a really honest look at my beliefs, I can see that I have always thought I would struggle financially. Now that I think about it, it probably started as a result of my entering the Air Force after high school rather than heading straight to college. From the minute I enlisted, I felt “behind”.
By the time I finished college, because of my enlistment in the Air Force, my friends were already out in the real world and lighting that same world on fire with all their brilliance. Why was that such a big deal? I don’t know. I guess I thought my military service would significantly retard my earning potential and progress up the proverbial ladder. Looking back, which is what we do at 50, I can see now that it should have been a small concern. I might have been a rung or two behind, but over the past 30 years, I’ve changed careers more than a few times. For better or worse though, my military service really changed how I looked at myself and how I defined success.
In the exercise Monday night, I distilled the phrase “financial security” down to simply “lack”. My behavior, in order to address the fear of “lack” has been to control – whether that is spending because I can, sort of a thumbing of the nose at my itty bitty bank balance, or denying myself because I’ve hit the wall and see no other way – it’s some form of control. The mantra and visualization from the exercise then became, “I release my fear of lack. I release my need to control. I am grateful God is the abundance and financial security that I am.”
My week progressed with an additional insight and another lesson from Iyanla. I tell you – that woman has a way of distilling down all the noise and esoteric philosophies into very simple truths. Her message from the show I was listening to, was that I needed to release again, certain behaviors or experiences and then proclaim my willingness to experience something different. So, pen in hand, I attacked my assignment and did as I was directed.
This week I have also made a conscious effort to give more. Admittedly, these have been very small gestures but considering the size of my very small bank account, I’ve done what I can. After paying my bills this month, and leaving myself with too little for groceries and frankly nothing left for my mortgage, giving was probably one of the last things I should be doing, but I did it anyway.
On Thursday evening, a mere three days later, after a 12 hour day at work and a performance review that was less than flattering, I came across an envelope from my new insurer. I thought it was going to be a late notice or some other form of bad news. But it was a check, made out to me, that would cover almost half of my mortgage payment this month.
I could not have been more surprised or more thankful. Does this solve all of my problems or move me all the way from paralyzing fear to total faith? Maybe not, but it sure puts a chink in the enormous brick wall I have built to “protect” myself and more than anything else, it gives me hope. Hope that the work is, well, working.
To my friends from small group – I may not be a lost cause after all.