This is nuts. It’s 1:00 am and I can barely keep my eyes open, but I know that if I just go to bed, I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep anyway. I have to get this out of my head. Having a message to convey is my curse and my blessing all wrapped up together.
Anyway, if I wait until the morning, there will be too many distractions.
So here’s my question to you:
How much money do you need to feel financially free and secure?
Is it a monthly cashflow? Is it a pile of “X” amount of dollars in the bank? What’s your number?
For years I operated from a standpoint of, “I will feel secure when we have $_______ coming in every month, residually.” Or, sometimes it was, “I know the work is done when we have $________ saved or invested.”
What I’ve noticed is that no matter what benchmark was set, once we achieved that number, I still didn’t feel financially safe and secure. I could see how quickly it could evaporate, or how easily we had grown into that income, and once again, felt a driving need to earn more.
Suppose One Million Dollars is your benchmark for success. Suppose you think that having $1M in the bank would allow you to do everything on your list that has been waiting for the day you could afford it. What if I could send you a check today for $1M. What would you do with it, right now?
I know you’re just reading along, but I really want you to stop and ponder that question:
What would you do TODAY with $1M?
If you don’t have a solid answer, then you are not prepared to receive $1M. If you feel like just putting it in the bank would solve everything, then you’re not prepared to receive it. If it’s so big that you can’t even wrap your brain around the concept of having $1M, then what difference would it make if it were $2M, or $400M? If you cannot conceptualize the difference between those figures and what that kind of money could do for you, then it’s time to start doing your research on the elements of your lifestyle that you’d like to enjoy one day.
Find out how much that cabin really costs, and whether that price includes granite or Formica, indoor or outdoor toilets, log or sheet rock. Get a feel for what the money can buy.
Suppose you were to leave your occupation to serve a humanitarian aid mission somewhere. How much money would you need each month, and how much does the plane ticket cost? Have you done enough research to know what’s a good deal and what isn’t?
If you have something in mind you’d like to do, have, or become, pretend like you already have the money and start shopping seriously for the things you’d need to purchase in order to have those dream experiences.
THEN (and here’s the cool part), release your concerns about the money, and focus on enjoying the experience as though it is happening now.
You don’t have to worry about the money part, because when you apply the principles of visualization to your dream-goals, things begin to line up for you to deliver the experience, sometimes without even requiring you to pay the regular price. Either opportunities line up that will provide you with the money you need, or circumstances will evolve in such a way that you will get to enjoy the benefit of your dream-goal through a barter, or a gift, or some other unexpected way.
It’s not your job to manage the creative process.
This is why I’ve always hesitated to encourage money goals, because honestly, for me, that’s not what pushes my buttons. Every time I set a money goal, it seems to put me into a state of being that repels the money. It must be some kind of subconscious program I have, I don’t know.
However, some people are really motivated and driven by money goals, but for me, they always seem to backfire. Well, I’ve decided that’s okay. I would rather that my driving force be the ultimate reason for wanting the money. I don’t want to have the money at the expense of all the other things that are more important to me than money, and that’s the risk we take when our goals are centered on a dollar figure.
So this begs the question: “What if I really do want a pile of money in the bank?”
Let me put it to you this way:
What is financial freedom, really?
What is financial security?
Isn’t it knowing that no matter what happens in the economy, or with your job, or whatever, your family’s needs will be met?
When our income tripled and we experienced what it was like to pay off credit cards, and buy the groceries we really wanted, and sign the kids up for all kinds of lessons, and fix all the broken things around the house… and ultimately move to the home that would really meet all of our wants and needs as a growing family, I thought I was experiencing financial freedom. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted to.
No question, it was an experience I hope everyone will enjoy.
However, we could not be content with life as it was, because Trevan was gone too much, and we always had to ask permission from his employer if we wanted to take some time off with the family. We would be concerned about the consequences he’d face at work if he had to stay home sick.
We were doing pretty well, but had so many opportunities come across our table for which he (we) simply did not have time to do our due diligence, and we could see it was potentially costing us as much as his annual salary to let the opportunities go. These were opportunities that could have replaced his annual income in just one or two transactions… and how much time would that have afforded him?
So it became clear a few years ago that he had to take the leap of faith. We believed that by letting go of his regular and dependable source of income, we’d begin to really soar financially. He’d have time to do due diligence on the amazing opportunities to invest in businesses, or real estate, or helping businesses find capital, etc.
We were convinced that by letting him finally be his own boss, and as we continued to live the principles of prosperity we had been studying, we’d finally get to start putting BIG piles of money in the bank. This is how we pictured creating peace of mind. In a small temporary way, we planned to make a ton of money and then simply take a little break. We had worked so hard for so long, we were liking the idea of taking it easy. Not retirement, of course, but easing up on our crazy life-pace that we had subjected ourselves to for as long as we could remember.
Well, just as in the story of the acorn, letting go of the tree was terrifying, although we knew in our hearts it was time. (In the case of the story, the tree represented his job). We wondered how long we could survive without the sustenance that the tree had always provided.
We envisioned the grandeur and prestige of being independent, full-time entrepreneurs. It sounded so glamorous, and we were proud of ourselves for taking the step in spite of our fears, especially in light of the Stickman Concept.
With a bit of cockiness, we approached our investments with confidence, knowing that everything works out for us, because we had enjoyed a superb track record since discovering the principles in 2000.
Well, God has a way with people like us.
Like the acorn, we took a hard fall, and had never before experienced such fear and confusion. We wondered how long we’d have to flounder before God would see fit to rescue us and send us the financial windfall we continued to chase through our various ventures.
We literally lived on the end of our resources, eking by, one day at a time. I couldn’t let myself wonder, “What happens when the money runs out next week, and there is no paycheck coming in?” I didn’t let myself even think about it. There were times where I had to consciously choose to relax and subject myself to peaceful music in order to combat the storm raging inside my mind.
Somehow, God continued to sustain us in various ways, week by week, against all odds. This lasted a few months and then turned into more than a year… and I finally began to think, “If He has kept us going this far, and we’re still alive, we have food to eat and a place to live, and our family is in tact, then why wouldn’t I believe He would continue to support us?”
So during the second year, we pressed forward full throttle toward our goals, allowing the little money we had to flow through us freely, trusting that nature would fill the vacuum we continued to create. Unlike year #1, during year #2 we operated with very little (if any) anxiety, and gained confidence that everything was going to continue to work out. By this time, we were at peace with whatever was going to happen, good or bad. We’d move our feet in the direction of our goals a little further each day, and until there was absolutely nothing left we could do, we’d keep on keeping on.
I settled in to that strange new way of life. Like the acorn, we realized that we could survive, even disconnected from the tree, and I began to release my fears of, “What if we have to move?” Or, “What if you have to go back to a job?”
Suddenly, I found myself relying on God the same way we had relied on the paycheck. I knew God was there, and was aware of us and our needs, and I also knew that He could only bless us according to our faithfulness, so we practiced being at peace in the storm. Can’t really practice without a storm, so here was our opportunity to practice.
So now, how much money do I need?
Honestly, it flows through us faster than you’d believe because of how much we continue to pump back into our business so that we can extend our reach to more families and bring more mothers home from work.
I’m like that acorn, and as much as we all think we want a pile of money, I have learned that financial freedom is not having ten years of money in my hands today.
The seed does not benefit from having ten years worth of nutrients and water dumped on it all at once.
Neither I nor the seed would be able to absorb it, and it would likely wash us both away into oblivion. No, in the bigger picture, the seed is better off receiving only as much as it needs, as it needs it.
Financial freedom is the financial peace of mind that comes from recognizing that your job does not pay you… it is God that pays you through your job. It is not your business that pays you, it is God that pays you through your business. Remove the delivery vehicle, and He can still deliver the resources you need to become all you have chosen to become. It will find you, so relax as you keep taking just one more step!
As you allow yourself to find peace in darkness and uncertainty, you discover that miracles here on earth have not ceased. You become the newest recipient.
The acorn only becomes a mighty oak after it lets go of the parent tree, and finds all the sustenance it needs from God through the elements within its immediate surroundings. It grows independent and becomes shelter and sustenance for other tiny seeds only just getting started.
You don’t need a bazillion dollars in the bank. The person who learns to rely on God for daily support is the person who is truly financially free… because no market crash, no bank failure, no thief nor law suit, can ever overshadow the peace of mind that comes from having discovered God’s willingness and power to give you just what you need when you need it.
I will point out, also, that only people who experience great financial hardships will likely ever discover this miracle I’m talking about. If you’ve got it rough, count yourself highly fortunate. The sooner you let go of your fears, the sooner you’ll experience true financial freedom.
Realize now that even if all of your fears came true, you could still bounce back bigger than ever.
And then once you finally feel, and daily live, with that freedom in your heart, it’s only a matter of time before it begins to manifest in your physical reality, too.
But by then, you’ll have a wise and proper perspective on money, and will put it to work, blessing the lives of others.
I look forward to hearing your story. Originally published September 3, 2008
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