This experiment began several years ago when I received a brochure in the mail advertising silver bullion coins as an investment vehicle. The “hook” was, “We will sell you two silver eagles for the price of one, if you agree to read our special report on silver.” When I saw this, I thought, “I could give one of these coins to a friend who was having money problems as a touch point for her prayers.” I sent her a coin and a notebook with instructions. Every day we prayed that the Lord would grant her wisdom in the area of finance. Every day she made an entry in her notebook.
The initial experiment was extremely successful. At the end of six months, her attitude towards money was radically different. She began to systematically eliminate her consumer debt. She changed some behaviors that were sabotaging her financial situation. Then towards the end of the six month experiment, she was able to move into her own home for the first time in her life.
Finally, when the participants are ready, they will give their coin with a blank notebook to a friend or a family member who is ready to change their relationship with money. In this way, friendship and blessings will keep flowing forward forever, even into eternity.
We have a problem. We are limited, fallible beings interacting with one another in physical reality. Some of our beliefs are correct, that is they conform to reality. Other beliefs are just plain wrong. Some of our beliefs are empowering, some are limiting. Some of our beliefs lead us to become men and women of virtue and integrity. Others lead us into paths of wickedness, guilt, and shame.
We are not alone. Our situation is complicated by our interactions with everyone else living on this planet. A farmer in Ghana decides not to plant any coca beans this year. The following year the price of a Starbucks hot chocolate jumps by 20%. Jennie decides that she can live without her daily trip to Starbucks. The next year the price of Starbucks stock drops, forcing the layoff of 1,200 baristas. The unemployed vote then tips a close election in favor of a president who decides to intervene in a civil war in the Ivory Coast. The war spills over the border into Ghana. Our farmer becomes a casualty, reported as acceptable collateral damage.
We all develop maps to help us navigate our way through life. Some of them are pretty useful; helping us to enjoy healthy productive relationships with others; leading us to move towards financial freedom with integrity; allowing us to become a blessing to others. Some of us are using maps that limit our freedom or worse; they can lead us to eternal damnation. All of our maps, no matter how accurate or detailed, are limited representations of reality.
It is wise to remember that the map is never the territory.
While helping others find their own path to financial freedom (however they choose to define that term) I am frequently horrified by the belief systems I encounter. Often people suffering very real financial difficulties are engaging in self destructive behavior based on a frightfully inaccurate understanding of the nature of money.
Example: A problem with debt is never solved by a higher credit limit.
Even when people have an accurate understanding of reality; for example that the world system is controlled by individuals who do not have their best interests at heart. Yes, the powers that be want us to become their debt slaves and tax donkeys. Even given this accurate understanding of reality, the internal maps of suffering men and women lead them to false conclusions. So many choose to believe that if they just give their money or their freedom to a religious leader or a political movement, all their problems would be solved; at the expense of another.
Your problems may have been exacerbated by the actions of others, but your problem is your problem. It is unlikely to get any better until you take positive action to make it better.
It is hard to examine our own internal maps. Since our maps are, by definition, our standard for evaluating reality, they are leading us to conclusions that may or may not be the truth. Consider a man with an inaccurate timepiece that randomly gains or looses an hour during every twelve hour time period. What time is it? The man checks his clock. Does he really know the time?
At least consider the results that are generated when you follow your existing maps. Do they lead you to righteousness, peace, and joy? Are they helping you become a blessing to others? Are they leading you towards financial freedom or further into debt slavery? Are they empowering you to live the life of your dreams or are your excuses limiting you to a lifestyle of unsatisfying misery.
If your clock is telling you it is noon, look at the sky. Is the sun already sinking in the West? Do the shadows point to the North? In the Northern Hemisphere shadows will point to true North when it is exactly noon. If you know that sunrise will occur at about 07:15 this time of year, when it looks like the sun is rising check your clock. What time is it?