Imagination and Prayer

How much money do you earn? How much have you saved for retirement? Will you ever get out of debt?

23 years ago, if someone had asked me these questions, I would have suddenly remembered an appointment and politely excused myself for a quick getaway.  What I knew about handling money didn’t work. It’s not that it didn’t work a little bit, it didn’t work at all and I was headed for financial doom. 

I could only imagine hardship and deprivation, and I lived in hardship and deprivation. That’s a hard way to live—where even your imagination is against you! My own best thinking was my own worst enemy. I had switched from depending on myself or Something Greater, to depending on credit cards and, news flash!, those banks actually expected me to pay them back!  WTH?

At age 45, I did the only thing I could do, the only thing that would work: I gave up. I surrendered. In the absence of any wisdom except this: I asked some other people to tell me what to do, and they did. 

They guided me in giving up unsecured credit (and I’ve never borrowed another dime). They taught me how to live within my means. Cash became my friend. Record keeping became my friend. Spending plans became my friend. They also taught me a few other things: quit pretending I could do it alone, pray, and help others. 

My prayers became my imagination. What could only go wrong in the past became “Maybe this could work. Please guide me.” My former chant of “S#%t, S#%t, S#%t!!!!” became “Thank you. thank you. Thank you!”

What could “never happen” happened ten times over. I passed through the three stages of 

  1. Yippee!
  2. More!
  3. It’s so wonderful to have enough!

until I reached 

  1. How can I help?   

and that is a very peaceful place to live. 

I can’t go back and tell myself what to pray but, if I could, I’d give myself this prayer:

“Divine, I don’t need money, but please help me learn how to handle money.”

If that prayer feels right to you, borrow it (you can pay it back later by helping someone else!)

If you need change in your life, it’s okay to start with the smallest of prayers. Sometimes seemingly little prayers like “I’m lost. Please send me a guide”, are the first step in a lifetime of change. 

My favorite prayer today is much more peaceful than my old profane declarations that all was lost. Now, on my best days, I pray

“Thank you. How can I help?”

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