Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where is Enough? Ten Questions About Financial Sufficiency

By Rich Dixon

The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift, not a right.

One of my favorite presentations is titled ACHIEVING YOUR DREAMS. It's a wonderful context in which to talk about realistic optimism, hope, and the possibilities of a new beginning.

Whenever I speak about dreams I invite audience members to write their "big dreams" on a feedback form. I've encountered an amazing variety of aspirations, but it's interesting that no listener has ever listed "being wealthy" as their central desire. In fact, the dreams rarely involve money directly.

Browsing the responses always prompts me to ponder my own dreams and how they're related to my attitudes toward finances. I'm not certain that my beliefs and behaviors are clearly defined and consistent.

I think it's okay to seek more-up to a certain point. But I don't want the pursuit of more to become an all-consuming quest for most. There needs to be some sense of where more becomes enough.

I want to be clear about my own definition of, and approach to, sufficiency.

Have I personally defined enough or am I always blindly seeking more?

Do I consistently act from a perspective of abundance, or do I sometimes imagine that my success only happens at the expense of others?

Have I developed a clear distinction between needs and wants?

Am I behaving like a faithful steward, clearly living my belief that everything I have is a gift from God?

Do I control my possessions, or do I allow them to control me?

Am I choosing to invest my time in important ways, or do I chase a buck at the expense of relationships and principles?

How often do I lose sight of the distinction between people and things, so that I begin to treat people like things?

Are my principal motives always safety and security, or am I willing to take risks for compelling reasons?

Are my choices aligned with my beliefs, or do I settle for expediency and short-term rewards?

Do I really trust that God will provide for my needs?

I'm not advocating a commitment to a life of poverty. There's nothing inherently evil about money and material possessions.

Money is generally neutral. It's a tool, and like any tool can be deployed to build or destroy.

It's what we do with money that matters. I need to remember that my level of contentment depends less on how much I have and more on my attitudes.

What's your strongest financial tension?

Rich Dixon is a writer and motivational speaker who addresses issues related to leadership, inspiration, encouragement, and faith based on grace from a Christian perspective. Visit Rich's blog at http://www.richdixon.net/bouncingback

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