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Everybody Has Stress
The last year has been extremely stressful one for my wife and I. My wife had a blood clot in her entire leg last March, and ended up being in the hospital for about 3 weeks. Then this winter my wife's job was in jeopardy because the church that she works at has been having problems with reduced giving (due to the down economy). Add to all this that I've been sick off and on several times this year and it makes for a lot of added stress.
Something that I've noticed through all of this is that when you have added stressers in your life as we have, it makes it a lot easier to rationalize bad decision making.
Stress Can Lead To Bad Decisions
For example, because we've been under a lot of stress it makes it a whole lot easier to fall into the trap of thinking “hey, we deserve to eat out several times a week, we're under so much stress!”. In reality, because we're eating out more often, it ends up affecting our finances AND our health. We're spending more money, and we're adding on extra pounds because we're not eating healthy. But hey, we're stressed out, so it's ok, right?
Because we've been stressed, it also makes it easier to let expenses like vacations and expensive birthday gifts just slip right by without even a second thought. For example, because my wife has been having such a tough year, instead of just buying one gift for her birthday, I bought her both gifts I was thinking about getting, instead of just one. It was a lot more expensive than if I had bought just one – and in reality she probably would have been just as happy with one gift. But I splurged because “she's had a tough year and she deserves it”.
Don't Lose Sight Of What's Important
I think I've been losing sight of the fact that just because you're having a tough time of things doesn't mean that it's ok to just forget about your budget, and let loose. Stress isn't a good reason to just let all reason and discipline fly out the window. The problem is this, if you let loose too much you can end up causing new stress because you've overspent, or you've let your health get away from you. And then where are you? Broke and unhealthy!
So thought for the day:
Don't let unexpected stress be an excuse for spending.
Instead, rely upon the advice of Jesus.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1
Instead of being stressed, rest in God, and trust Him to take care of your worries. Don't try to ease the worries and stress by spending. It'll only create more worries in the end. Stay disciplined and keep your eyes on the prize!
Have you ever allowed stress to get the best of you and used it as a reason to spend (or eat, or be nasty to someone?) Tell us about it in the comments.