In terms of financial health, the equation is fairly simple: don’t take out more than you put in. Unless you’re the federal government, most banks require you to have the money in your account before you can spend it. That’s one reason why credit card debt is so high – it’s easier to charge it now and pay later than to pay for it now. Unfortunately, what we end paying later is much greater than the original cost.
When our girls entered high school, we created checking accounts for them. The bank representative strongly encouraged “overdraft” protection. Why? Because teenagers are likely to spend more than they have in their account. The maturing process involves learning to make responsible decisions. To put it another way, immature people continue to make irresponsible decisions.
While this basic math makes sense financially, it also translates to other areas of our lives.
Learning to manage your deposits and withdrawals is critical to your ongoing health and wellbeing. On a daily basis, we are making both deposits and withdrawals in our spiritual, emotional, and physical accounts. These are happening so often (and often quickly) that we may not even notice or appreciate what is happening. We may even think of the deposits and withdrawals as “the way we do things” without recognizing their impact.
Just as the best investing strategy is a consistent, disciplined approach, the best deposits are intentional and consistently practiced. These are the habits and routines that we know add value, substance, and depth to our lives. These are not momentary investments for the moment, but an investment in long-terms sustainability and growth. Eating one good meal after years of eating nothing but Twinkies and donuts won’t change the trajectory of your physical health. From my experience, I’ve learned that it is the regular practice of these life-giving habits that will allow us to endure a major withdrawal in the future.
What about those withdrawals? Financially, we know we’ve made a withdrawal when we purchase something. At some level, we are aware that money is changing hands and our balance is decreasing. But in most cases, we don’t feel it right away. There’s no physical reaction or pain involved. Without a regular practice of paying attention to our account, it becomes easier to make decisions that may negatively impact us in the future.
The same thing happens through our day. Interactions and conversations are opportunities for either a deposit or withdrawal. Depending on how they are handled, our account balance either increases or decreases. What we think was an innocent remark or joke may have dropped our balance and we didn’t notice. Then there are (what should be) the obvious withdrawals. Things said in anger, abusive language, or worse.
But what about missed opportunities? Those are withdrawals, too. The same is true for the unhealthy habits that we hold onto instead of choosing better ones. Just as healthy habits are recurring deposits into accounts, unhealthy habits have the opposite – but just as regular – effect of drawing down our balance.
I read somewhere that there are two ways to have more money. One is to make more money. The other is to spend less. In an ideal world, it would be a combination of both.
How do you become more spiritually, emotionally, and physically fit? Don’t spend more than you take in. Even better, increase your investments while at the same time decreasing your withdrawals.
Deposits and withdrawals. They are about so much more than just dollars and cents.
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in business administration (mba)
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
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