There isn’t a day that goes by here in America where the subject of the gloomy economy doesn’t come up in conversation or in the news. People are tense. Worried. The future does not feel secure. Just yesterday your neighbor, a successful electrical engineer, was laid off from his company. A friend is losing her job because the store she works at is being closed. Not just does the money stop coming in, but there is a loss of benefits as well like health insurance.
To focus only on the problem at hand means to live in a place of stress and anxiety, which will spill over into the other areas of your life.
So, in light of all of this, it is important to focus on the things that money can NOT buy and can NOT take away, and can help us along the way.
1) Our Reliance on Allah, ‘azawjel.
We believe in Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. No amount of money could ever grant us the value of being able to say “la ilaha il Allah.” This is a Divine gift and mercy from Ar-Rahman. More than that, Allah is Al-Razaq, The Provider, The Sustainer. Take comfort in the following:
“There is no creature on Earth except that its sustenance is upon Allah. He knows its habitation and its repository. All is in a clear Record. ” (Surah Hud, ayah 6)
We must keep focused and remember that all provision is not only from Allah, but also has already been written for us. Our ‘ibadah is to seek after it, make du’a, and call on Allah, and then place our trust in Him.
2) Love and Connection
The love you share with those around you is free. Of course, you need money to provide for them, or to be taken care of. Yet how many people live in a large home, with closets that are brimming with stuff, and yet they are suffering from emotional poverty? Love is of the greatest wealth. With love, everything in your life can find its balance and its center. Without it, there remains a vacuum that money, despite all our efforts, will never ever fill. This is a perfect time to strengthen your marriage, your relationship with your children, your parents, and friends. (For ways you can strengthen communication in your marriage, please visit the post called “7 Steps for Improving Communication Between Spouses” for a web cast replay of a live program.) Use your love as support for those around you, and work together to find solutions.
If there is one thing a tighter budget calls for, it is creativity, and its free too!! Here are a couple of suggestions, and more are welcomed.
a) Make your own hot chocolate! 🙂
Sure, it doesn’t come in a Starbucks cup, but to be honest, it will taste better anyways! I made some with my kids the other day, and watched their excitement as they sat on the counter top watching the hot chocolate simmer, holding their mugs. And we got free refills!! Oh, and we had great conversation too! I think it is going to become a bit of a weekly ritual! 🙂
b) Explore the outdoors
Allah has created the most amazing scenery and places to explore, relax, play, and be energized. A game of soccer in the backyard, a thermos of hot tea by the beach at sunset, a walk in the woods, or a bike ride around the neighborhood. Get everyone out, and watch the hours pass by. You will feel good, inside and out. Being in nature, and seeing something greater beyond our small bubbles brings about a rejuvenation of the spirit, and again, the reminder how great is Allah. There is nothing beyond His control, as He is the maintainer of every single atom in the universe. So get outside, take a deep breath, and have some fun!
c) Swap Stuff!
So you have some board games you don’t play anymore, and your friend’s kids are bored with their X box? Why not swap for a week? Swap toys for little kids. Swap dinners too for something fun, cheap, and healthy. Swap hijabs. Swap sporting equipment. Books. Magazines. Not having money to spend on the “little extras” doesn’t mean not having them. Just get creative instead! Not only will it be fun, but you you may find a new way to support others who really DO need something extra like clothes for their kids, for example, in a way that honors their pride and dignity as well.
4) Improving in all categories of your life.
Maybe finances are not where you want them to be, or maybe, despite all that is going on, you are financially secure, alhamdulellah. In the meantime you can also focus on investing in the other wealth you do have. How so? When we focus on our goals across the board, we bring balance, success, less stress, and more happiness into our lives. Unfortunately, many people wait until a crisis happens to take a hard look at their life. When you invest money and time into the things that matter the most to you, then your return exceeds the goal you achieve, because whatever you excel in will carry over into all other areas of your life.
How would life be different right now if you could improve your level of iman, get in shape finally, get organized, get moving on your new business plan, reconnect with your spouse, or learn how to believe in yourself and stop feeling so insecure? These are the essential pillars of your life. Feel free to email me to see if I can offer you a solution to some of the challenges you are facing in your life.
In difficult times, focus on SOLUTIONS instead of problems. Despite the economy, you can make these times some of your best, bithnillah.
It’s YOUR life. How do YOU want to live it?