In the journey to get out of debt, saying no to family members can be one of the most difficult tasks that we will face. It is especially hard for those who are of the first generation to do well. It also challenging for those who are known to be the caretakers of everyone in the family. Is that you? Do people call you when they are in trouble? Do others expect your help when they are in a bind? Have you reinforced these expectations by rushing to save everyone, especially financially, even at the expense of hurting yourself?
If the answer is yes, just know that you DO NOT have to continue in your old ways. Actually, for the sake of all involved, it would be best for you to take care of YOU first! Let’s explore this further. When you give consistently out of your reserve rather than your overflow, you often do so at the sake of foregoing something of importance to you or those nearest to you. Whether it’s paying a family member’s bills or giving them a ride to work, what price are you paying to continue to be able to this? What things do you need to accomplish for yourself that keep getting put on the back burner so that you can help someone else who often has no intentions of changing? Is the money that you are using to save them continuously, the money that you could be using to pad your emergency fund or pay off debt? More often than not, when we are stuck in a cycle of rescuing others, it is at the expense of taking care of our own financial well-being.
Helping vs Enabling
The other thing that we must ask ourselves is whether or not God wants us to help in certain situations. We know that it is Christ like to give and we want to be charitable with our money so that blessings can continue to flow to and through us, right? But God also tells us in His word that we are to be good stewards of our resources and sow into good ground. We have to ask for guidance from to the Holy Spirit every time we give so that we can be sure that we are not interrupting what God is doing by becoming an enabler. We want to see people grow and become self sufficient. Sometimes the path to growth is hard, and hitting rock bottom is the wake up call needed for some to get their act together. That cannot happen if we always step in to be their financial savior!
Here are a few tips on learning how to say No!
- No is a complete sentence! Don’t feel compelled to give long explanations. Feel comfortable enough with yourself to know that your “no” stands alone
- Share your goals and set boundaries BEFORE they ask. It is difficult to make decisions in the moment or when you have been put on the spot. That’s why it’s important to make up your mind before you are asked and be ready to stand by your decision unless the Holy Spirit prompts you to do otherwise.
- Never lend anything that you need back. Proverbs 22:7 says that the borrower is slave to the lender. When we lend money, it changes the relationship. If you are inclined to give, only give if you do not need it to be returned. Luke 6:35 tells us to lend without expecting anything in return. When my husband and I took that scripture to heart, it changed the way that we gave. Giving in this way has been so much more gratifying.
- Determine whether your helping is actually enabling. The definition for enabling is to give someone or something the authority or means to do something. Think about it. When you continuously “help” people in your family, what are you giving them the means or authority to do? Are you giving the the authority to continue to be poor stewards? Are you providing the means for them to remain lazy? Are you enabling them to stay in a situation that otherwise may be changed by having to activate their own faith. These are questions that we must ask ourselves when we are analyzing whether we are helping versus enabling.
In the end, we must realize that it is all God’s money anyway. He has made us stewards or managers of these earthly possessions until He returns. Good stewardship requires us to be managers of our own finances before we can before we can help someone else. If your own are lacking in your own finances, laiden with debt, but continuously helping everyone financially, more than likely that cycle will be never ending you and all those involved. Even though we desire to give, we must seek God even on how, who and when to give so that we can get His heart on the matter. Let’s make sure that even in our giving we are Financially Savvy, yet Spiritually Sound!