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Emotionally Weathering the Financial Storm

By Dr. Erika Chopich
December 15, 2008

It is far easier to emotionally weather these difficult times when you have a solid relationship with God. Learn the difference between faith in God and having a relationship with God, and start your relationship with God today.

Our current economic microburst has everyone wondering two things; when will it stop and how do I survive this? While no one can say where the bottom of the trend is, there are some things you can do to cope with your own anxiety and panic.

I recall the stories my grandparents told of the Great Depression. Most of them had only emigrated from then Yugoslavia less than a decade earlier. My young interpretation of their accounts was that it was a difficult time - they had to be resourceful and they did what they had to do. More than that, they also instilled in me the need for a spiritual bond, a link to something greater than myself.  My mother said that difficult times test your faith, but in reality, it is not your faith in God’s good will that is tested so much as your belief in your relationship with God. There is a difference between the two.

I met a man recently with whom I was discussing the impact of the global economic meltdown. He said, “I just hope God will help us all.”  That statement said to me that he believes in God (faith) but is unsure that God would be there for him (relationship).

If your relationship with God is strong, then you will be able to do as my grandparents did. You will do what you have to do, you will know what to do, and you will have the energy to carry it out. In other words, you will be fine just as they were.

Very often it is not until we are confronted by such ominous times that we even begin to examine our relationship with God. We don’t know how to ask for help or even trust that help will come. The result is a feeling in our bodies of anxiety, panic and intense fear.  Like most things, it is never to late to learn a new skill and a new way of thinking.  If you are feeling panicked and scared, let me help you get started on a deeper spiritual connection.

Playing the “what if” game will only raise your anxiety. Deal only with what you have to in this moment.

While no one likes to lose income or savings, it is not the same as losing your life. Keep things in perspective.

All your best memories, all your treasured relationships, all the beauty in God’s world can never be lost even in the worst economic time. Now is the time to sit down and start counting your blessings. They are still there for you.

Now that your anxiety level is lower, let’s talk about your relationship with God.  Too often we experience God as we did our parents or as we experienced a religion. Neither is God.

The relationship you seek is already there and you may have rejected it, ignored it, or chosen not to trust it. Maybe you believe that you have not “earned” it or been worthy of it. Just the same it is there and all you need do is reach out. You do not need to perform or repent, God will reach back to you, now and always.

Will God solve your personal economic crisis? Not likely, but God will assist you to do that. There is a saying, “God is willing to guide you, but you must choose the direction.”  Knowing that you are not walking this path alone, that there is something greater than yourself to offer inspiration and creativity when you need it is the start of a wonderful relationship. You can only grow from here.

My grandparents maintained their peace and their ability to laugh throughout the Depression even though they were very poor. They loved and played and creatively solved problems as they arose. They knew the economic disaster was temporary and did whatever they had to do.  They did all of this with a deep love of God to inspire them.

We all come from great stock.  In the end, we will do at least as well and in doing so we honor them and embrace God. Not a bad ending to a difficult time.


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