By Carina Alanson, iBelieve.com
I was curled up on the couch in my home office one September morning when I clearly felt God calling me away from my career as a mental health counselor and into a new career as a writer. Though my conviction that God had spoken was as vivid as the bright gold birch leaves that had recently graced the trees, the practical part of my mind couldn’t help but wonder, what about the money? Just a few months prior, I had opened a private practice where I was earning three times as much per hour as I’d been making at my previous job at a local counseling agency, and though the prospect of becoming a writer thrilled me, some might say that it didn’t make a lot of sense from a financial perspective.
A Second Chance
As you can probably imagine, this wasn’t the first time that money had presented itself as an issue to factor into my vocational decisions. Back when I decided to go to graduate school, before I became a counselor, I seriously considered two degree options: a master’s in English and a master’s in counseling. My heart swooned when I thought of the many hours of reading, writing, and tea-drinking studying English would afford me. But in the end, I opted to study counseling, partly because it provided the clearest path to a paycheck.
But on that autumn day eight years later when I felt God calling me to write, I knew I didn’t want anything—including money—to interfere with this God-given dream, and I decided to trust that if He was calling me, He would provide. Within a few months, I closed my private practice, and within two years, I left the counseling field completely. My journey has had its ups and downs, and God’s provision hasn’t always looked the way I expected, but He has never failed to take care of me.
How about you? Do you feel God asking you to leave your job and step into something new, yet you’re worried about the financial implications? If so, here are five truths that encourage me when it comes to releasing money worries. I hope they encourage you too:
1. Money is Not Meant to Be Your Master
One day, I was reading Matthew 6, and this verse jumped out at me: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (v. 24, NLT).
As I contemplated these words, I felt God revealing how heavily money figured into my decisions. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should be irresponsible or ignore finances altogether. But too often, I let money determine my perception of what is possible.
I think things like:
I don’t have enough money, so I can’t…
I can’t afford to…
If only I had more money, I would…
I began to see that any time I let money stop me from doing something I feel God asking me to do—whether that’s buying a meal for a friend, donating to a missionary, or leaving my job, I am serving money, not God.
In this verse, Jesus is not saying that money is bad or that it doesn’t matter. Rather, He is warning us not to let money be our master—to not let it control us and tell us what we can and can’t do. That job belongs to God. If He says we can, then we can, and when He calls us, nothing should stop us. As our Creator and Savior, He has our best interest at heart, and He is the only one Whom we can safely trust to guide us. This truth helps me have the courage to step out in faith when money worries try to sway my decisions.
2. When You Put God First, Everything Else Falls into Place
After warning His disciples not to let money be their master, Jesus went on to exhort them to not worry about whether they have enough food or clothing, saying, “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).
This verse convicts me because, too often, I let worries about my needs consume my thoughts instead of fixing my mind on my heavenly Father. I feel like it’s up to me to provide for my needs, when in reality, God is simply asking me to do two basic things: Seek Him and obey Him.
For me, this means prioritizing time in God’s presence. It means worshipping out loud, both at church and at home. It means consistently reading His Word. It means enjoying His company as I paint or write or sit quietly in nature. It means communing with fellow believers. It’s most often during these precious times dedicated to seeking Him that I experience His love and healing, and it’s also during these times that I most clearly receive His direction. And once I receive His direction, all He wants me to do is obey and then continue pursuing Him, listening for the next step, and trusting that He will provide all the resources necessary for me to obey.
3. Ask and You Will Receive
While God knows our needs and promises to provide, He also wants us to ask for provision. In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (NIV).
James echoes this command to ask, saying, “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:1, NIV). (James’ words make me wonder how much I miss out on simply because I forget to ask!) He also points out that sometimes we don’t have because we ask with the wrong motives. However, we know from Jesus’ teachings that when our hearts are aligned with God and we’ve been communing with Him and allowing His desires to grow within us, we will receive when we ask. It all comes back to making God and His Kingdom the focus of our lives.
If God has called you to leave your job and you are unsure where the money will come from once you resign, simply ask and keep on asking God to provide new financial opportunities. He keeps His promises, and He will answer your prayers in His perfect timeframe.
4. God Knows Exactly Where the Resources Are
When my nephew Alder was little, he loved to play hide and seek. He almost always hid in the same two or three places, and because his clothing or some body part usually protruded from his hiding spot, I could usually find him within seconds (though, to make the game fun for him, I often feigned ignorance, calling out, “Where could Alder be?”). One day, after several rounds of hiding and seeking, a puzzled Alder asked, “Auntie, why are you so good at finding me?” Of course, the reason was simple: I’m taller than he is, and therefore, what he perceived as hidden was easily visible from my more encompassing perspective.
This exchange reminds me of our relationship with God. So much is hidden from our human eyes, but because God’s vantage point is so much higher than ours, He sees things that we can’t see—including financial opportunities.
One example of God’s knowledge of resources is found in Matthew 17. After being questioned by the Temple tax collectors as to whether Jesus paid the Temple tax, Peter sought Jesus out, probably to ask him where to get the money to pay this tax. In the ensuing conversation, Jesus said to Peter: “Go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us” (v. 27b, NLT). While Peter had no idea that there was a fish swimming around the lake with a silver coin cradled in its mouth, Jesus knew, and He also knew that if Peter went straight down to the lake and cast out a line, he would catch that specific fish.
As you consider leaving your job, you might wonder where provision will come from, but it’s not a mystery to God. He knows exactly what you need and where to find it. While He might not provide for you through a coin-carrying carp, when we focus on Him and listen to His voice, we can trust Him to direct us to actions that will produce the funds we need—sometimes in unexpected and even miraculous ways.
5. God Has a Plan
One of my favorite Bible stories about provision comes from the life of Elijah. After Elijah declared to King Ahab that there would be a drought in the land, God told Elijah, “Hide out in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. Drink from the stream; I have already told the ravens to bring you food there” (1 King 17:3b-4, NET).
There’s so much I love about this story (how amazing that ravens actually did bring Elijah bread and meat every morning and evening—another example of God’s unique provision!), but there’s one word in particular from this passage that I want to highlight: “already.” God told Elijah that He had “already told the ravens [emphasis added]” to bring him food.
Later, the brook dried up and, for a second time, God revealed to Elijah that He had “already” arranged provision, saying, “Go to Zarephath…I have already told a widow who lives there to provide for you [emphasis added]” (1 King 17:9, NET).
Isn’t it beautiful that God had already made plans for Elijah’s needs? And what a comfort to realize that the same is true for us! God not only knows exactly where the resources are, as we saw in the story of the coin and the fish, but He also already has a plan for how to release those resources at the proper time. Whatever God has called you to, He has taken every detail into account. He is fully prepared and fully faithful.
All That You Need
The Bible contains many more verses, promises, and examples of God’s financial provision beyond what I’ve shared here, but I’ll leave you with one of the most beloved: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1, NLT).
Whether, like me, you feel God calling you to leave your job so you can become a writer, or whether you feel called to pursue some other endeavor, such as homeschooling your children, coaching college basketball, traveling with your spouse, or starting a business, take heart. Your Shepherd is attentively tending to you, and as you follow Him, He will provide all that you need to accomplish His work. Nothing is impossible with Him!
Carina Alanson is a former professional counselor turned writer, editor, and course creator who is passionate about helping women live with purpose and grow in their relationship with God. She lives in the subarctic town of Fairbanks, Alaska, where she enjoys scenic drives with her husband, snowshoeing, and reading by the fire. To connect with Carina and find resources for purposeful living, visit carinaalanson.com or find her on Instagram @carinaalanson.