When I was applying to college, my parents didn’t loan me money to go away for school. My mom and dad, who have always known what is best for me, decided this wasn’t what they were willing to spend money on.
As an eighteen-year-old, this was the worst thing that ever happened to me. As my friends went to California, Boston, and Virginia – I was stuck in my hometown.
It felt like money got in the way of my happiness and especially, my independence.
I went to college with one goal in mind: to walk out with a degree and a job that gave me financial security.
For me, money meant freedom and I never took it for granted. It was the thing that gave me security to live the life I wanted.
My money was mine. I earned it.
And, I managed it myself.
Most of my adult life operated around financial stability.
Its power consumed me. Any sudden movement and I was one step away from moving in with my parents.
Growing up, my father held the responsibility of money as the man of my house.
I saw money handling as a man’s choice. No matter how empowered I became, I believed a man was more capable of managing my financial security.
I was waiting for my prince charming, my patriarch, to take money management out of my hand.
Until I decided to marry a man I barely knew in nine months.
In the beginning of our relationship, I was the financially secure one. This was rather unsettling, as I saw that my man looked to me to share in our fiscal responsibility.
Our approaches to our finances were startlingly different. I lived cheap, rarely settled, and was still scared to call New York home even after living there for two years.
My partner invested in his spaces. He saw the value of creating a livable environment so he could be more productive. He wanted to make our house a home and wasn’t afraid of intentionally showing up in the process.
He was ready to put his money where his mouth was.
Even if it wasn’t very much.
These were chaotic conversations. They unraveled our differences, backgrounds, and experiences that didn’t feel romantic or cute.
One night as we were discussing these things, I found myself in tears proclaiming:
“I know this might sound really terrible, but I miss my dad. Is it possible that I don’t love you more than I love my dad?”
My father is the best man I know. His ability to manage and take care of both the big and small in my life is outstanding. He is still the person I run to for any major decision in my life.
This reliance on his authority didn’t empower me. It made me question myself, often.
Am I truly capable of being a functioning adult without the help of my daddy?
I have been afraid most of my adult life to make decisions that disappointed him.
I always worry that I am not big, brave, or capable enough to live a life with someone not in charge of it.
As I merged my finances and had difficult conversations with my partner, I found equity.
He pushed me to hold a stake in what our future holds.
He demanded my attention in every small and large detail of my life.
God challenges us into equality with Him. We are co-heirs. We have been given freedom and right standing in the power of the cross.
God is teaching me that we must intentionally contribute to our lives.
Your relationship with God is a series of choices.
We choose to accept God’s love for us.
We choose to speak that faith out loud.
We choose to respond to the freedom that grace gives to live freely, love others, and live into our purpose.
I don’t think this fear ever leaves us. This fear of disappointing the ones who made wise and incredible choices before us.
Sometimes I wish God would give me my daily checklist. I wish I never had to choose how to do.
Half of the battle is showing up and making the choice.