Is it something that is actually attainable?
Can we make every effort to pursue it — by living frugally, working overtime, or making wise investments — and then finally come to the point where we can say…”This is it, I have arrived.”
Or, is security as a whole better represented as an idea…something that exists only in the mind, something that we can never truly hold in our hand?
Security is an Illusion
As human beings, wanting to experience safety and security is inately tied to our survival instinct.
The desire is naturally in us.
Over the years, I have grown to fear spending money. I just want it in my possession at all times. Yet in my life, the realization that financial security is an illusion is beginning to unfold. And I’m learning to let go…
Because at any given moment:
- a job could be lost.
- a life could be taken.
- violent weather could destroy a home, a car, a garden.
- a thief could steal.
- the world as we know it could forever be changed.
Security is an illusion. It only feels real because so many people agree to abide by its terms. But the truth is — we can only be certain of one thing, the illusion could be shattered in an instant.
And dare I say that the pursuit of financial security may very well lead us into a state of deception.
No amount of food storage, no level of higher education, and certainly no amount of income can provide security.
True security isn’t something you have, it’s something you are. Who you are is the only thing that can’t be taken away.
Your job could be lost, your home destroyed, and your possessions stolen…yet your ability to identify and use your God-given gifts to provide for your family is the defining difference between dependence and sustainability.
The real issue of security comes down to what we put our faith and trust in.
Earthly things diminish…
“…so don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but 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
I want to hear from you! What are your thoughts? Is financial security an illusion? If not, what does it look like?
What do you put your faith and trust in?
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Oh my gosh, I so needed this today. I’ve been following your blog for some time now – printing off your ideas and recipes for at home and loving the blog hop! We are thinking of downsizing our income, doing homeschooling, and living more frugally but more richly at the same time. How different our family will look when one of us is at home keeping things in order and focusing on the well being of our family instead of both of us running amuck trying to make more money. How much richer will our child’s life be when there’s more family time and less time spent rushing. Yet, even knowing these things, I’ve been struggling with what we’ll be giving up monetarily. I think, and hope, the first step is the hardest. I don’t think I’ll regret it but I do think I have earthly things trying to hold on to me a bit harder than normal. Thanks for the encouragement.
That’s awesome D! You’re right though…the first step is the hardest! But I can promise you this, it is the most freeing thing you will ever do! Many, many blessings to you and your family. You all are on the right path 🙂
We took this leap almost 20 years ago when I found out we would be having a second child. It is amazing how many things you don’t miss that you thought you could never live without. We struggled for a while, but when my husbands income increased we didn’t change a whole lot, we mostly got rid of debt and increased retirement and other savings. Now our income has dropped dramtically and we’ve never been happier. My son is in college and that is about the only expense that we may have to go into debt over, beause we didn’t save enough to take care of it all.
You have beautifully illustrated where our real security comes from and how we can live with true joy during these uncertain times. Our Redeemer lives and He supplies all our needs in Christ Jesus! – I am so thankful to have found your blog, Andrea! I am excited about implementing many of your ideas. Thank you for taking the time to share them and for being so encouraging! Today, I taught my daughter how to clean the toilet bowls with vinegar and baking soda; it was a fizzy, fun time. Seriously, we enjoyed scrubbing the toilets! LOL!
Oh man Rachel! You got it! I truly believe that it is God-honoring to prepare and be good stewards of all that we have…yet in the end He is the our Provider.
You made me laugh with your story of cleaning the toilet, because honestly I feel the same way 🙂 It’s fun to clean with things you make yourself…weird huh?
Kate S. says
I absolutely agree with you–security is an illusion . . . but then so is religious belief. If you can’t teach yourself to be content with what you have right now (and the immediate and sudden loss of it all), you’ll never feel truly secure. Be content here and now; maybe you’ll lose everything; maybe you wont; maybe there is a heaven; maybe there isn’t. Live in the moment and that kind of worry is negligible.
I knew someone once who had lost everything, from his family to all of his belongings to his very country and regained it all again; he was the most inspiring person, because he really and truly believed there was nothing he couldn’t live without if he had to. He lived in the moment every day, all the time.
Kate I totally understand where you are coming from! Totally! And there is a lot of truth to what you say…life is moment by moment. There’s no way to know what tomorrow will hold. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love says
I wish there was a like button for your comment, Kate. I think you hit the nail on the head! 🙂
This was a great reminder that God is where I need to put my hope and my trust and not put my hope in the things of this world! Thanks!
Becky @ Pure Vitality says
What a great post. Yes, security is totally an illusion if it is based on things of this world. It is so easy to get caught in the trap of financial security or even other ways we try to feel secure, such as preparedness, etc… But you are right, our world can turn upside down in an instant and we can lose our sense of security.
But ultimately, God is in control, not us….and that humble realization should remind us where our security must come from. From Him.
Amen. A mighty fortress is our God… 🙂
There is no complete financial security, but savings can be some kind of “safety net”. The BF and I are only just starting out, with currently four university loans to pay back, both working full-time and barely making ends meet. Whenever a catastrophe arises (such as expensive cat surgery two years ago or an accident with a rental car last summer) we somehow make ends meet, but it is usually a really scary place for a month or two. So right now we are trying to set a bit of money aside every month to use in emergencies, so we won’t have to start worrying immediately. All we need is a year without emergencies. *knocks on wood*
It’s so wonderful to hear young people looking toward the future. I hope you are able to have at least a year without unexpected expenses. Having a safety net can really put a persons mind at ease. Good Luck.
Great post. I’ve been stressing lately about the upcoming economic events. In a message one Sunday my pastor said “I know at this time, all anyone thinks about is guns and groceries. But your Lord is going to take care of you.” I know this to be true but wonder how much I’m supposed to contribute. Like that old story of the man on the roof praying to be saved and God answering “I sent you the boat, the helicopter, etc”…the moral of the story being God helps those who help themselves…so how much am I supposed to be preparing now? I don’t believe the answer is nothing, but where do I draw the line? 2 weeks worth of food? A month? More? How airtight should our finances be? This is the stuff keeping me up at night.
Thanks again for the post, it reminded me that I could have a house full of food but it could be destroyed…so much for saving then! Lol
Elaine Pollard says
I just had to respond to your post because I’ve struggled with it myself. There are times when I start getting worried about a coming financial crisis and putting stuffup, buying in bulk, etc when I remember it really is a sin to worry. Somehow, God prompts me when I shoulf buy extra stuff, or put things by. You know, Jesus prayed ‘give us our daily bread’. I think He means we are to rely on Him to provide for us. In the Old Testament I was reading about Sabbath years. For 6 years, the people could plant, harvest and store all the food they needed, but in the 7th year, the could do none of that. They could only gather the food enough for that day and were basically commanded to trust God to keep them. I cannot imagine that, but I know it’s true.
I think we go to the extremes when it comes to this. I don’t see hoarding as being biblical, but there is nothing wtong with being prepared. As to how much? Well, I would say enough where you’re not in excess. Awhile back I bought a ton of toiletries, there was enough that I didn’t need to buy anything for a couple of years. You know what? God convicted me of that because I had too much of it. If I make provisions to rely on myself, I leave no room for God to make provision for me. Does that make sense? Don’t worry about how much. Just ask God to show you. He will. I also have to say ‘Go helps those who help themselves’ is not totally true. It s tre that God provides mechanisms for us–like the helicopter, but he doesn’t ask us to help uorselves. He does ask us to ask Him for guidance. If you read in the Bible where people tried to ‘help’ God didn’t turn out so well.
I hope I’m not being preachy. I struggle with this too, and am slowly learning what it Means to trust God.
I was thinking about this kind of stuff today. As the Israelites had their first Passover meal and then were saved from slavery and led into the desert they were required to leave the only way of life that had been known for 400? Years!
If you could imagine being told to take what you can carry and leave the next day.. To the unknown.. Where’s the security in that? It’s in the trust and faith that Jesus will provide all your needs and requirements as He surely did in the desert.
Therefore, I think there is security in knowledge and also in wisdom but mostly in faith.
Thanks for the post
Timely post. I struggle with this and my husband continually reminds me that, yes, financial security is an illusion. His own father worked for years with a company and made a very, very comfortable living. After 20+ years, his retirement (and everyone else’s) was lost with the President embezelled the money and moved to Scotland where he still lives today. What we have is all given to us by our Creator. We are just temporary keepers of our money and our possessions.
Amen! to this post. This is it.
Wisdom comes from faith and faith from wisdom.
Community also plays a role.
Let’s get back to simplicity and faith, a truly healthy security will follow.
Thankful for this post today….. 🙂
Rebekah Loper says
This is a beautiful reminder – and so fitting for Easter weekend, when we remember the sacrifice that paid for our freedom and security!
Through bizarre circumstances (I truly hope that no one has lived the life I have, even though I’m only 26!), I had dealt with my identity by the time I was 18 (at which time my mother told me she wished she’d never met or married my father – for good reasons, and I had honestly been suspecting as much for a while. Teenagers aren’t dumb, after all!). First and foremost, even if my existence happened under regretful circumstances, I am daughter of the Most High. Regardless of man’s intentions or mistakes, there is a plan for my life, and as long as I submit to His will, nothing can destroy me.
Having realized that even my security in Christ can’t be shaken when I’ve been essentially told that I shouldn’t have existed (though I know that my mother loves me, and my siblings, very much), finding security in a job, or even my husband, seems like a crazy thing to do!
It’s not as easy as it sounds at times, though.
My husband and I had this conversation a couple of nights ago. He asked if I thought we should be doing more as far as stock piling. I believe God pulls us in the direction we should go. When we still our fears and listen for inspiration the direction is obvious. I believe that is why I found your blog. I believe that is why you write it. God is leading us all where we are supposed to be, the fear and anguish stop us from hearing him. I believe the skills are what I am supossed to be developing. My heart tells me and I trust. When I think of being sustainable as a family I feel God in that. I feel peace and love and an overwhelming gratefulness for all of the amazing people forging a path. So thank you for all you share.
Tracy! Your words have literally brought me to tears! You are so right on! And I could not agree with you more about developing skills…that’s exactly where it’s at. Blessings to you!
Jenni Smith says
Andrea, Thank you for this post! It is exactly what I’ve felt with out being able to put it into words. You are right on. Security is an illusion and with out our God given gifts and our faith in HIM we are completely dependent on something which is not going to get us anywhere. I’m soon to be a mom to a son, I’m 8 months pregnant and currently jobless, thankfully my husband has a great paying job where overtime is always available, but I don’t want to always have to be so dependent on him working overtime especially when our son arrives. I’ve just started following you and your blog within the last 2 weeks and its the best thing I’ve ever read and really helped me put things into perspective and start changing to be more frugal and sustainable. I’ve also just started reading by your suggestion the Complete Tightwad Gazette and with God’s guidance I feel as though I’m on the right track. People didn’t live the way we do now 70-80 years ago (that really wasn’t that long ago, think grandparents) and they were happy and sustainable and not complete crazy consumers with nothing to show for like a lot of folks today. I’ve learned when there are hardships or questions/contemplations to put everything in God’s hands and let him deliver what is to come.
I recently started reading Surviving Off-Off Grid (per your request) and this post seems to tie into the theme of that book so far.
So many people, myself included I’m beginning to realize, are depending completely on the illusion of security. Forgetting that their whole world could change at any moment. This post is a great reminder that worldly pocessions (money, degrees, etc.) are just pocessions… and true security relies in your faith in God.
Thanks for the awesome posts!
A.E. Wiggs says
Well spoken truth. Thank you.
The ONLY security, in every aspect of life, is in Christ Jesus.
Thank you Andrea and Ann for saying what I felt. I have tried other ways to make me feel secure but nothing has like Jesus. What a wonderful post. 🙂
I’ve been trying to strike a balance with security. I’ve lived on my own with very little and was very happy. Now I have a small family and we’re trying to find a house to live in. It’s a weird place to be. I was content with providing for my basic needs and saved a little money. But now I see what I have stock piled may not get us a place to live. We had to live on savings and stay with my parents while my husband tried to find full time work.
We spend very little, make a lot, garden and are always looking for new things to start doing for ourselves.
We strive to be as self-sustainable as possible and find that we need more money to do it. Funny.
I enjoy your site, thank you.
love the post
What a great post and so appropriate on the wonderful, yet sobering day we call Good Friday. I know I have a tendency to place so much of my value in my worldly possessions, but I am constantly trying to remember that my true value comes from the fact that God bought us with a price – His Son. I have been working on a Bible Study lately that is exploring the faithfulness of God. It is hard to remember but wonderful to learn that the Lord is faithful to His promises. He doesn’t promise to always keep us in our current job or our current location or to even keep us healthy, but He promises to always provide what we need at any given moment. Financial Security may be does not exist, but the peace that passes all understanding certainly can.
[email protected] Crunchy Stephanie says
Yes, I think financial security is an illusion. Security is not an illusion, though. I think bad things can happen at any time because we live in a fallen world. But I also believe that we are not alone in going through those things. God walks beside us and can use anything for His glory in the long run.
Thanks for this post! We are about to send our first child to college! Financial security…ha!
Amen! Good reminder! We are also about to send our twins off to college! Can you say outrageously expensive!!!! 🙂
I’ve always tried to plan for the worst and hope for the best while living in the moment. Over the past few years many things have changed in our family with income taking the biggest hit. I came to frugal living from an enviromental view point, and have spent the past few years working toward greater sustainability. Part of my plan for security is keeping our finances in order with savings and staying out of debt (a few more years and the house will be ours). I’ve also been working toward learing to provide for myself, my family and my community. The 3rd area of focus for security is connecting with community. We can never do it all alone, the more connections with people in your immediate area you have the more people you can count on when things go wrong. We can’t know what the future holds for us, we can just prepare ourselves for anything the world may throw at us, and hope for the best. When my friends ask me why I have chickens, have removed my lawn to put in edibles, plan on riding my bike on a 320 mile fundraiser etc. I just tell them I’m planning for the Zombie apocalypse, which to me means anything that I wasn’t planning on dealing with.
Cynthia Ferguson says
I have been watching Doomsday Preppers. What I have come away with is that no matter how much you plan or prepare it is never going to be enough. So many of their children are being forced to worry and think all the time about something that may or may not happen. They are not living in the moment. I am putting some food up for my family but I will have to trust in God for everything because there is no way I can forsee everything that will happen and be able to be ready for them. In the end God is all that really matters, heaven will be a great place to be.
Bonnie Toney says
35 years ago when I was first married, we made the decision for me to stay home with our kids. We did without many material things but never went hungry and I look back with pleasure at our lifestyle. One day a thought ran thru my mind and I really feel like it was the Lord talking to me. “Don’t fall for the lie that more is better. Don’t judge your wealth by the things you possess.” That has stayed with me all these years.
cherie conrad says
What a delight to read your post on financial security…. I’ve been living a recovery from alcoholism for 21 years and part of the programme I follow talks about ‘freedom from the fear of financial insecurity’….. I truly believe that financial security… and any security really that we are looking for externally is an illusion… and a very strong one in our western civilisation that perpetuates the “I’m not enough/okay” theory…. I have discovered the way to address the illusion is through working on the FEAR of financial INsecurity…. and know (for me) that the way to do this is to look to a power greater than myself….. that I find within myself!!!! (that’s the paradox!!!)
I know that you know what I’m talking about here otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to write what you did.
I want to encourage people who are resistant to the word God and the idea of being anything other than self-reliant…. if you are happy with the way that everything is going in your life right now then GREAT…. don’t change a thing!!!
If not then consider this….. I would like to introduce you to a concept that allows you to have contact with a higher power called God – AS YOU UNDERSTAND God!!! It’s up to you… doesn’t have to be the Christian God, the Hindu religion, Buddhism, Islam or any of the others…. can be AS YOU UNDERSTAND God…… it’s worked for me for 21 years and millions like me worldwide…. and all you have to do is to start to believe that it MIGHT exist and that if it does you will find it WITHIN YOU!!!!!
Thanks VERY much for this post…. I enjoy all your writing… but this one in particular!!!
I would have to agree that financial security is an illusion–for all the reasons you listed. Peace and security are only found in the Lord. Everything as we know it can dramatically change in an instant. We’re all one step away from chaos (divorce, death, job loss, bad health etc.). We’re on a journey to becoming totally debt-free and living below our means, with the belief that, no matter how “bad” things get, in the end, everything will always be okay. It’s an “eventually” okay. This is because God is always with us and for us. In a country that obsesses over materialism, consumerism and big egos, this is challenging. All we can do is live responsibly, work hard, and give/love/help others. And, should investments, savings, and frugality pay off, great.
While I’m not approaching this from a religious perspective, more that of one who is not into the whole consumer lifestyle, I think this is spot on. I’ve been well off, broke and everything in between. After experiencing a year where I left an abusive marriage with a young child in tow (leaving an affluent lifetsyle with little money or much of a plan.), was diagnosed with a brain tumor weeks after doing so, lost part of my vision, was diagnosed with epilepsy, forced to accept some public assistance for awhile, returned to school and then my ex took his life? Well, *things* just don’t matter as much anymore. Life and love matter. Stuff doesnt matter.
I do think financial responsibility is possible, and a good thing to aim for. I do “prep” a little now that I’m well again, simply because I want some measure of security–even if it just makes the next crisis easier. 🙂 I enjoy the things I am doing in order to live a more sustainable and self sufficient way, but hey, the carpet can be yanked out at any time. I accept that.
There may be some things we simply cannot prepare for, ike the crazy year I posted about above, but there are many good reasons to live below your means. In addition to all the practical reasons, I think it is often a lot of FUN! 🙂
Our pastor recently did a sermon on worrying — how worrying is a mistrust in God’s ability to care for us. If God will always make sure the birds of the field are cared for, how much more will he take care of us, since we are his prized possession?
I liked this post 🙂
Bonnie Story says
I’m impressed lately with the power of FRIENDS. The kind you go visit even when you don’t feel like it, the ones that you help even when you are short on time, the ones that don’t shrink away from the scary stuff. Those are the ones who will be there for you when tragedy strikes, or just when it’s time for YOUR turn. It takes care and feeding to sustain these types of friendships. They are gold. People that are too self-centered or lazy to maintain rich long-term friendships like that are often quite lonely especially in the end.
Bobbie Bushman says
I believe that security is best achieved by learning about and teaching your kids true sustainability. If you and your children have the knowledge of how to forage for wild edibles, grow your own food, build a house, etc. no one can take that knowledge away from you. They can take the food or the house away, but your knowledge will allow you to recreate what’s been taken.
Elise Adams @ElisePhotini.com says
LOVE this post! This is exactly what I’ve been contemplating lately. While it’s gratifying to take action and make strides in our goals for a better financial future…but I don’t ever want to sacrifice the LIVING of life for some grand day in the future that may or may not arrive. This is a tough thing for such a driven person like myself to remember…but essential or else I’ll turn in to a workaholic mom who turns around one day to find I’ve missed my kids childhood. That’s too high a price to pay for anything!
Tami @ A Girls Gotta Nest says
AMEN!! Super wonderful post!!
I so needed to hear this today! I am 27 and working extremely hard to save for a down payment for my first home, along with saving for a wedding (all DIY). I stress about money constantly and do everything possible to save money–like making all of my own cosmetics, purchasing food from local farmers and making most everything from scratch. I find that I have made myself constantly fear spending money, even when it is something I truly need and I think my fear sometimes drains me of energy that could be spent doing something positive. I love that you said “True security isn’t something you have, it’s something you are”, this is something I need to remember! I know that God is going to take care of me, I just need to practice “letting go and letting God” more often. Thank you for this reminder!
Yes, it is an illusion! It’s so terrible that sooo many are blind to it!
Kathryn Arnold says
No time to read all the comments… but you’ve just made it easier to share you fb posts. thank you.
I could have written this post word for word as I feel the same. Fantastic post. I have been learning just how to trust God as Provider. Only in God our future is secure.
Ien in the Kootenays says
Even though I do not share the Christian angle, well said. There is no total security in this three-dee theater. One place to invest in, though even it too can be taken away, is community. Carol Deppe, the brilliant seed saver and author, said it beautifully: “You do not have to have to be totally self sufficient. You have to be a contributing member of a self sufficient community. “
Good post. I’m experiencing some of these issues as well..
Love your blog! MY faith and trust is in the Lord! I believe that he does provide the helicopters for us! Years ago we were praying for a way to bring me home so I could take our son out of daycare. Another Mom offered me a way to work from home and I am grateful. There are many great credible opportunities for people to make extra money while making a difference. The great thing is it doesn’t matter if you are on a mountain hilltop like my homeschool friend Jana. God will always provide a way. Be Blessed!