I grew up in a normal middle-class family. My dad worked hard to earn an income. He would travel often and be away from home more often than not. His income paid the bills, put clothes on our backs and food on the table.
My parents worked according to a very strict budget. If it’s not a priority, it’s not in the budget. And if it’s not in the budget, there’s no money for it. It was tough as a kid. Not understanding the intricacies of finances and budgets. Not understanding that your family earns a certain amount of money, and everything must be done with that money.
Dad worked hard, my friends dads worked hard, and they got 3 to 5 times more pocket money than I got. They could play the sports they wanted to because their parents bought them the equipment and clothes they needed. They could go and study for the careers they wanted to have but I couldn’t.
There was no money available for it. There was never more than enough.
As a young man I started my first job in the telecommunications industry. I stuck it out for six years before I resigned and started my first business. I was chasing riches. I didn’t want to stay in the same rut as my parents were. I wanted to get out of it. I wanted to get out of poverty. My dad was totally against it. He believed that you work for a company as long as you can. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
My first three businesses were all failures. I was worse off than my parents and any of my friends. It cost me a lot, a lot more than money. I believed that this is my destiny. This is how it’s going to be. I was meant to be poor, I was not destined to be successful.
I was stuck in the poverty mentality! And I was stuck in it for many years.
Eventually I got a steady job, gave my life to Christ, had a happy marriage and felt successful. My family was proud of me. I was proud of myself. I accepted that my business failures were a learning curve. I learned that they were failures due to bad decisions.
But more importantly I learned what the Word of God says about money and finances. I learned that Father God is my provider. He’s sovereign in everything. Our job is to be good stewards of that which He has given us.
Was my poverty mentality solved? No, it wasn’t. My wife and I lost our jobs at the same time.
We were back where we started. We were back in the country of poverty!
But why? How could this happen to us? Are we not children of the most high God? Is He not our provider?
What I failed to see is that He was providing for us in those times. He was providing even more than He provided in the past. But I couldn’t see it. I was too focused on our situation. I was too busy stuck in that poverty mentality.
It took me a very long time to get out of that. God graciously took me on a very long and difficult journey to teach me about His provision. To teach me to be content with what I have. I had to learn to concentrate and trust in Him. He is the provider. He is sovereign and always will be.
But there was more to it! I had more to learn. I had to get out of that poverty mentality. I had to stop that negative inner dialogue. I had to believe what the Word of God said.
It wasn’t easy, and sometimes it still isn’t. But it’s worth it. It’s worth working on that mindset. Changing it from a poverty mindset to a mindset of God is more than enough. God is the provider. It still remains a struggle when things get tough. But the difference is that I now know what to do.
I know that I will remain poor as long as I hold onto a poverty mentality.
I know that God does not want me to have that mindset.
I know His will is for me to live in freedom and to trust Him.
That’s His desire for you as well.
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