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So what’s with the name change from Tracy to Sam you ask?
Well, yes, I did just celebrate my 50th birthday, but adopting a new first name isn’t something that just happened as a result of a mid-life crisis. For as long as I can remember I did not relate to my name Tracy. When I was young I was called ‘Dick Tracy’ and hated that. It didn’t matter that in the 1960’s the name Tracy for a girl was actually pretty cool – I just didn’t connect to it.
Somewhere in my teenage years I fell in love with the name Sam; as in Samantha. I always thought it was fun, feminine and somehow serious at the same time. When I was pregnant with our daughter the name Sam was briefly discussed but overturned by my husband so I wasn’t going to end up having a ‘Sam’ in my offspring either.
A few years ago during some of my darkest hours, I learned that the name Tracy actually means warrior. After a bit of a rant about not wanting to be in battle, I immediately wondered what the name Samantha meant. To my amazement I discovered the name Samantha is the female version of Samuel which means ‘God heard’.
I prayed about this for a few years and after talking to a few people who had legally changed their names, I seriously considered it for a while – except that the logistics of a legal name change at this point in my life seemed to be too much administrative extra work that I simply didn’t want to add to my already over-burdened task list.
It was around then that I sat down and wrote my next book, ‘Creating a 3-Day Money Miracle’. This was later updated and expanded into the manuscript for ‘Financial Grace’. I authored it as ‘Sam (Tracy) Piercy, CFP’. The name Sam just seemed to flow naturally with this different type of writing.
As I continued to ponder and pray about changing my name, my 50th birthday was approaching. It became clearer and clearer that the new decade and beyond was indeed a new era of my life. And so, on my birthday I had lunch with my father first to tell him the plans around adopting a new first name, then I invited a few friends over for an evening of prayer and cake to say goodbye to the 40’s and to welcome in the 50’s and Sam.
It’s an interesting experience introducing yourself under a new name but on a go forward basis, you will see me transitioning all online accounts to Sam and introducing myself as such. I’m very excited about the prayers that God is answering and am happy to be addressed as either Sam or Tracy as my warrior character is still very much alive as a warrior to help people come to know and to strengthen their relationship with the Lord Jesus through finances!
He [The Lord] says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
What is it about an image of beautiful scenery that inspires us to feel calm and serene? In the brief moment that we glance at the image we can imagine the calm and peacefulness of the moment. If we pause long enough we might even be able to imagine the ripple of the waves, the tenderness of a soft breeze, the warmth of the sun, the vividness of the colours, and the fresh smell of the clean air.
There is a longing that is ignited in our spirit when we see these images that for most of us are rare experiences in our day-to-day reality. For some high performing people these moments might be almost non-existent. On a daily basis we are flooded with responsibilities that occupy our thoughts and fuel our activity. When we do find a few minutes to relax, there is the sound of the street, the humming of electrical appliances, and the constant interruption of some sort of electronic device: phone, email, text, radio, TV…
What’s upsetting most about the stress of modern day living is that our new reality of electronic communication is training us to have short attention spans and to be dependent on the constant input. Many people actually find it difficult to ‘unplug’ even for a few minutes.
Often the first activity of the day morning is to check a phone or computer to see who has said what throughout the night. And from this moment on, throughout the day the phone and computer are constantly being monitored for incoming communication.
This morning, in the span of an hour, I found myself looking at my phone for new messages several times just because it was there. It has become a habit, that even when the buzz of a new message isn’t interrupting my thoughts its actually programmed into my thinking to check to see what’s waiting for me. And I know I’m not alone!
As a society, our modern conveniences are actually making it difficult to concentrate. They are shortening our attention span and interrupting our creativity. Overall, we are not just losing our serenity; we are changing our ability to think. I’m reminded of a profound comment a few years ago when my family billeted a few children from Africa. The instructions to host families were that there was to be no television or electronics for the visiting children because those devices would have a negative impact on their creativity and talent. Whoa. Wait a second. What about our own children then? What about us adults who are so caught up in communicating online that we are burning ourselves out with the constant multi-tasking and constant recovery from the barrage of interruptions?
Even as I write this message I have the periphery of emails coming into my inbox flashing on my screen (yes, I could turn it off, I just forgot because I’m used to communicating electronically throughout the day). On top of what we can visually see visually see on our computer screens there is also the pixilation of our screen as a whole that is a constant moving image. We just don’t consciously see it, but our brains are required to process and interpret this movement.
What does all this have to do with success? Perhaps it’s obvious to you, as it’s becoming more obvious to me in recent months and years, but sometimes we need to be reminded and certainly we can all benefit by educating our young people on the stress of constant ‘noise’, input, and electronic communication.
God created us to connect to Him: the all mighty, all knowing, all powerful. Our modern society is becoming more and more distanced from His Holy Spirit. We are also becoming more and more distanced from the powers even of our own thinking, let alone His. We are becoming like waves tossed in the ocean; fallen leaves gathering together in piles that initially are fun, but which over time end up composting from the elements. We’re all doing it and we’re barely recognizing the ‘death’ it’s causing in our peace and ultimately in our success.
The calling from a beautiful scenery picture that speaks to your spirit is likely screaming at you to slow down and be still. God promises to provide for ALL our needs. But we have to stop to listen to him. The serenity we crave will enable us to hear God speak to us in a way that will guide our thoughts, which will guide our words, our actions, and our results. What provides this peace in our spirits and souls? The kind we sense when we gaze longingly at these beautiful images? If you look long enough you’ll find that this kind of peace doesn’t come from financial success, or the satisfaction of a good workout, healthy meal, or job well done, or even the connection to your friends and family. You find peace in your soul because you have been still long enough to ‘hear’ God speak to you in way that means something to you personally in whatever situation or circumstance you find yourself in. And all the other things: finances, health, relationships, success, etc. are the results God says will follow. (Mat 6:33, Luke 12:31 and more)
Because money seems to be as important as oxygen for survival in modern day living, and because money is a tool that can provide us with experiences that provide us with peace, joy, and serenity we naturally experience financial rewards as success and peacefulness. But it’s important that we put all this into perspective and recognize that we have to interrupt the ‘busyness’ and constant stimulation in order to experience God’s peace long enough to actually let Him guide us in the areas of success that are important for each of us individually.
The peace we all desire will be reflected differently in each of our lives: relationally, physically, financially, and emotionally. I, for one, am aware of the stress caused by the day-to-day barrage of interruptions and its overall negative impact on the peace in my life in ALL of these areas. It’s the spiritual success that will provide this peace that will ultimately provide the success in the other areas also, but with the peace in whatever your current situation is, ultimately it won’t even matter – how ironic is that!?
I know in my own life and for many others, that some of these modern day communication methods have programmed my own thinking so it’s much harder to enjoy downtime during hours that have conventionally been recognized as ‘work hours’. As I write this I challenge you, I am also challenging myself, to identify the ‘noise’ in your life and to recognize its addictive power over your peace. Then, armed with this insight ask the Lord to help you to break free from the addiction to begin to experience more of the stillness He wants us to have so he can speak into our lives. This way He can guide us to the success He has planned for each of us in a way that will bring glory to Him in the process.
47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, 48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. 49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.
53 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”
56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth. Genesis 41:47-49,53-57
The story of Joseph has been told so many times and offers so many lessons that sometimes it’s easy to think we know the story and that’s that. However, when you stop learning you become complacent and ineffective and self-centred – not exactly qualities of following God’s will.
A couple of years ago I was asking the Lord for some insight to why the commonly accepted financial wisdom was to accumulate money for the future (not that this is bad, it’s the emphasis on it for retirement that is perplexing) He lead me to the story of Joseph and revealed some interesting principles that address so many financial issues that cause uncertainty for people today.
Typically the interpretation of what Joseph put in place in Egypt after interpreting Pharoph’s dream of 7 years of prosperity followed by 7 years of famine is that the Egyptians saved up the food during the good years so they wouldn’t starve to death during the famine. It’s interesting to note that the passage doesn’t mention any fear running out or not having enough, nor does it mention storing the food just for the Egyptians.
What the passage actually says is that the Egyptians produced the food from the land and it was collected and stored in the cities throughout the country. When the famine came, the Egyptians sold the food locally and to people who came from abroad. Producing the food from the land, meant they processed it in some way and selling it meant they created income from their efforts. In this way, what they created was a sustainable economy.
It seems to me that God provided fruitful land from which the Egyptians could work together at the local level to use their talents to produce goods that benefited them and others. Because the produced food was available in cities throughout the country they had a distribution network so the produce was accessible to and beneficial to many people.
Today to produce abundance means despite an apparent lack or gap I resources, means you have to first focus on the prosperity that you do have available, then find a way to produce something of value to others; particularly something that is essential and consumable. Then work with others to create a system to sell your goods. This is the entrepreneurial spirit of infinite possibilities that creates abundance, rather than stockpiling for personal survival with a concern that you might not have enough or might run out. Your plan doesn’t have to be huge with a worldwide audience, it just has to start with a mindset of creating a sustainable income in your personal economy by considering the needs of others as well as yourself.
You can read more about the consequences of our current thinking around personal finance following the accumulation model in The Death by Money Report available at www.deathbymoney.com
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.Isaiah 61:10
There are many references to clothing in the bible. Also, many references to His protection, confidence, wisdom, blessings, and love are illustrated using clothing as examples. So, while I’m not a bible scholar, I am an expert in financial education that enhances financial capacity and … I’m a woman who likes nice clothes and who loves God which gives me some insight into this sensitive and controversial topic.
I’m not naive enough to say that God wants us to dress nicely and all have nice clothes, but I do have some expertise in financial matters as it relates to our outward appearance and our financial well-being.
When a bride and groom are married, they become one in the eyes of the Lord (and the world). The Lord blesses their union as he blesses ‘his children’. I will add that in all my years of experience working with people and their money, the issue of spending money on clothing is likely one of the most sensitive subjects because it gets right to the heart of our faith and financial insecurities.
Spending money on clothing for yourself for many people seems like a selfish act, yet look at the benefits: you feel more confident in presenting yourself to the world which enables you to excel in your area of work or service, and economically you are supporting a business and the life of the employee or owner who works at the business.
If you feel guilty or selfish or irresponsible when you purchase clothing and dress yourself in the morning you are not clothing yourself in the ‘garments of salvation or robes of righteousness’. In our society we are required to dress appropriately for the type of work or service we perform. This requires some planning and management in order to present yourself in a way that is congruent with your work and who you are as a person (who God says you are), and for the work God wants you to do.
If you can step outside the emotional connection clothing has to your life and look at it as a necessary tool for your life, you will then understand that God is involved in the details of your wardrobe. He tells us not to worry about what we wear (Matthew 6:25) because if we do, He’s not our top priority. This doesn’t mean to let yourself go and to ‘schlep’ around thinking that somehow you are more ‘godly’. We are all living at this particular time in history because God has a plan for us. This means, we should take heed to his prompting and plan our lives with Him at the centre – including how we spend our money on our clothing that presents us to the world where we do His work.
If God has given you an inspiration and a purpose, or has placed you somewhere to do some work or perform some service, then your obligation is to trust him to provide for you all the necessary tools for you to do that work, including money for appropriate clothing. And in order to assist this process you have to accept that clothes are an essential item in our culture today so you have to know how much money you need to spend to provide you with the appropriate garments to do the work God wants you to do. This means preparing a cash flow forecast that includes a line item for clothing and to being prudent with your purchases. When you do this prayerfully, the Holy Spirit will more easily assist you with your shopping and daily ‘dressing’ routines because you are living your life dependent on the Lord, and congruently with your priorities, your roles, your values and your finances – and when the Lord has inspired your work, and you are trusting him, and putting appropriate systems in place to manage the resources He’s provided you with, then it’s also much easier and more likely that you will realize a larger provision and more resources to continue to do more good work, requiring more provisions, etc. etc.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
When it comes to money, I am convinced that the majority of people today would likely interpret this verse for themselves as, ‘…plans to hopefully prosper me financially, not to cause me to suffer financially, plans to hopefully give me a brighter future.’
Of course, I could be totally wrong, but if the percentage of people I talk to on a daily basis about some aspect of money is any indication, then I would be inclined to say we have an epidemic of financially worried people carrying a virus of doubt and fear into the majority of their everyday financial decisions.
If the Lord ‘declares’ that He has plans to give us a hope and a future, then any sort of financial doubt means we are fretting needlessly. This leads to guilt, and self-condemnation, which in turn creates a downward spiral of low confidence and ultimately a self-sabotage of more lack. Certainly this isn’t the life the Lord has planned for His people.
Obviously if breaking this paradigm was as easy as saying, ‘just believe’ then any positive thinking, self-help book would have the answer and anyone who’s read one would be rich and successful!
But what is prosperity anyway? It’s not dollars and cents, and it’s not something we do on our own.
To apply the prosperity mentioned in Jeremiah 29:11 to money in real life today, you have to start by recognizing whenever you are trying to control some aspect of money in your life: spending, saving, giving, insuring, borrowing, paying, earning, judging others, working, comparing, wishing,…(or not). Then whenever you catch yourself in some aspect of financial doubt, lack, or judgement, simply thank the Lord or all He has provided and praise Him for knowing the plans He has for your life. Do this for a day, then a week, then a month, and keep going…you are building confidence which is the foundation to help you learn and apply additional practical strategies to your ongoing real life financial decisions!
If you’d like to join me and others to explore God, Money and Real Life, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-592-0457 for more information. Or make sure you read The Death by Money Report available at www.deathbymoney.com for additional information on the paradigm shift required to make immediate and lasting positive financial changes to your life!