Sacred Money

Henri Nouwen, A Catholic priest, once taught that, in order to cultivate one’s relationship with the Lord, a person should keep the following practices in place each day:

Specific Time: set aside a specific time to devote to study, worship, prayer, etc. while keeping an attitude of the same throughout the day.

Single Focus: know what you will read, think about, pray about, etc., as best you can, in advance.

Sacred Space: because the mind craves routine, you can train it to anticipate a sacred experience when it arrives in a sacred space, whether that is a favorite chair, couch, desk, trail, etc. The important part is that this is a space that is used almost exclusively for these purposes.

I’ve found these principles, properly applied, cultivate a sound and sacred experience of money as well. Consider this rhythm related to your finances:

Specific Time: Pick a time each week that you (and another interested party if applicable) review your budget, bank statement, bills, etc.

Single Focus: Have a plan for your money. If you don’t, marketers certainly will. Each dollar you spend should be intentional, even if you intentionally set aside money for fun and entertainment. When you come to your weekly financial check-in, do so focused on where your money is being spent.

Sacred Space: Pick a spot that you enjoy. Money matters often bring tension to the surface (issues of self-worth, meaning, job satisfaction, etc.). Put on a favorite CD, grab a cup of coffee, open the blinds, and be sure to cultivate an awareness that God is also interested in your financial experience. There’s wisdom for those who ask. Rather than just jumping into the numbers, perhaps spend a few moments expressing gratefulness for what you do have.

If done weekly, over time you'll find that the sessions become shorter (like 10 minutes), easier, and more life-giving. Give it a whirl, and experience your money as a sacred experience.