From the staff of Dynamic Steward

Words flew fast, furiously, and unfiltered. Alice and Henry were in a heated argument—over money—again! Alice felt ?out of the loop? regarding their family’s financial state. She felt she had been under pressure far too long to constrain her spending. Instead of asking for God’s wisdom and guidance before they began discussing, the couple’s hurt turned to anger and the situation got out of control.

Driven by her frustration, Alice left their home and headed for the shopping mall where she shopped ?with a purpose.? She bought a lovely winter-white coat on credit and took her purchase home, where Henry waited anxiously for her return.

Alice felt guilty for her impulsiveness, and Henry felt guilty for his part in their angry exchange. So Henry encouraged Alice to keep the coat—somehow they would manage. Both their decisions pushed their financial obligations further into that ?deep hole? called debt.

Many of us can identify with Alice and Henry’s frustration. We too often buy to assuage our feelings of inadequacy and anger and guilt. ?Compulsive spending is a means by which people fill the vacuum in the heart that should be filled with a sense of personal acceptance,? (Impulsive and Compulsive Spending, Crown Financial Ministries, found online at www.crown.org).

In the above article, ten signs and symptoms are listed which describe ?compulsive? spending: 1) Shopping or spending money as a result of being disappointed, angry or depressed, 2) Having emotional distress in personal or family lives because of spending habits, 3) Having arguments with others about spending habits, 4) Feeling lost without credit cards, 5) Buying items on credit that you would not buy with cash, 6) Spending money feels like a reckless or forbidden act, 7) Feeling guilty, ashamed or confused after spending, 8) Lying to others about what was bought and how much was spent, 9) Juggling accounts and bills to accommodate spending, and 10) Feeling powerless to overcome compulsive spending.

How many of these signs and symptoms did Alice and Henry experience? By our count—at least eight of the above ten figure in! Along with the cry of Alice and Henry’s hearts, you can overcome compulsive spending and control it. Through the Holy Spirit, God offers us the fruit of self-control. And there are practical steps that will help in overcoming this self-defeating problem. Continue to read this issue of Dynamic Steward, where we know you will find help and encouragement

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July–September, 2003

Family Finance