How To Keep the Faith and Push Fear Aside To Follow Your Dreams

Keeping the Faith.

I have a wooden plaque that hangs in my kitchen. It’s 12 x 12 inches, handmade (not by me), and is made of slightly distressed wood.

It’s positioned right in front of my kitchen window. So when the sun rises from the east, you can see the sunlight come streaming through some of the slightly slanted panels.

No matter what you believe — where you’re from, what your religious or political views happen to be — we all have faith in something.

I’m not trying to make this into a holy roller, preachy moment. Just talking real. We all believe in something.

Because, to be totally honest, I’m not a religious person. Like, at all.

Things have occurred in my past — to myself and to those around me — that made me seriously question why certain things are allowed to happen in this world.

Good people get the cr*p kicked out of them every day (literally and figuratively). While less-than-desirable individuals are allowed to survive and thrive and make millions at the expense of others.

And whether you believe that everything happens for a reason, or that you can truly control your destiny, there’s a crucial piece of the puzzle that everyone needs in order to succeed: faith.

Everyone is on their own personal journey that belongs to them alone.

Maybe you’re thinking of starting a new career. Or you’re trying to make ends meet financially.

You might be questioning the direction your relationship is going in. Or maybe you’re just taking a closer look at choices you’ve made in the past, and want to make some improvements.

We all have challenges we’re facing. The reasoning can run the full gamut of personal, to professional, to anything in between.

So how do you know you’re being led in the right direction? Most of the time you don’t.

But the way you approach things along the way is a pretty telling indicator of your potential success.

How You React to Adversity

When you’re faced with the great unknown, how do you react to what may or may not happen?

Do you worry about every little detail, the issues that could take place, or how a wrong turn could potentially change the outcome?

Or do you acknowledge the end is not yet clear, and take it as a learning moment?

There’s a famous quote that goes “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”  Not all challenges need to result in angst, uncertainty and, as my Italian grandmother used to say, “agita”.

And guess what? A lot of that is entirely up to you. Change your mindset, change the result.

I’m not saying everything will be coming up roses and turn out perfectly.

But instead of saying you failed at something, maybe say you’ve added to your life’s resume.

When I was in my early twenties, I was very naïve about money. I truly did live in the moment, without a care for what the future might hold.

I’d spend every last penny on what made me happy at the time. No budgeting, no planning, no clue as to how those last few dollars could possibly stretch to meet my next payday.

Yet throughout the stupidity of my youth, I knew that somehow, somewhere, I’d make my way to the other side.

Again, these were not my brightest hours. And I’d never recommend someone throw caution to the wind by spending their last few dollars on a risky gamble.

As I grew older, there would be pockets full of doubt. Unexpected bills or expenses would pop up out of “nowhere”. A bill for car taxes that I wasn’t expecting — before I learned to budget for this annual expense in the summer. Or a timing belt that needed replacement, when I had no idea such a thing even existed.

These are things you eventually learn to plan for. But your mindset will go a long way to making this less of a bumpy road. The belief is that no matter what happens, it will turn out okay in the end.

Now I’m not suggesting you throw all of your bills in the trash because some higher power or positive wave of energy will just make them go away. That would be silly.

But it’s more like — “Right at this moment, my situation may suck. But I know it will eventually be taken care of, because I’m meant for better things.”

That’s the Faith I’m talking about.

If You Want Something, You’ve Got To Go For It

Regrets. I’ve had a few.

How many times have you heard the old saying “You only regret the chances you didn’t take”?

Well, there’s a reason why that statement has been around so long.
It resonates with so many people.

Or how about famous hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take”?

Pretty much saying the same thing. But I love a good sports quote.

Fun fact: My sister was a HUGE hockey fan in the 80’s. Her bedroom walls were covered from top to bottom with newspaper articles… about the NY Islanders. Because of this, she was not a big fan of Wayne Gretzky, lol.(But mad respect there, for he is definitely still a Legend).

So maybe you want to start a new career path. Or a home-based business.

Or you love to write and want to start a blog or become a freelancer.

Maybe you’d love to go back to school, or become a musician, or move out to the midwest to start homesteading.

Whatever it is, think long and hard. Is this something you can afford to ignore?

Is this an itch that will only become more and more persistent until finally, finally, it’s scratched?

Because it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out in the end, it doesn’t matter if the tides turn and you decide to go in a different direction.

What matters is that you went all in. You gave it your best shot, looked fear & doubt directly in the face, threw caution to the wind and had faith in the outcome.

Haters Gonna Hate

Sometimes what holds us back has to do with other people. Maybe you worry about what others may think. Or your self-confidence wavers in the wake of others who are more “successful” than you are.

The reality of it is, you can’t please everyone. And if you spend your life catering to other people’s expectations, you’ll screw yourself over in the long run.

To thine own self be true.

My dear Mr. Shakespeare, truer words have never been written.

If you’re following your dream, no matter how uncharacteristic, far-fetched or pie-in-the-sky, it’s your dream to follow.

Nobody else’s.

Someone wants to extinguish that fire in your heart? Don’t let them.

Because our own internal self-talk causes enough damage.
We don’t need to take on the doubt brought on by others.
People who are too afraid to follow their own dreams.

You’re too good to let someone like that get you down because you’re destined for great things.

You feel that pull towards success and have the motivation to get there.
It might be a long and winding road, but with perseverance, you’ll get there.

That’s what Faith is all about.

There’s Always a Lesson To Be Learned

My friend Jen is a blogger and wellness expert at She loves to find new ways to improve and enjoy life and share these ideas with others. Her mission is to help people become the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves. Good vibes only.

Jen was recently quoted by U.S. News & World Report on how your mindset and happiness can improve your finances. From keeping an open mind in order to discover new income opportunities — To attract the attention of leaders who are looking to mentor forward thinkers.

There’s something to be said about optimism in the workplace.

We may not love dragging our butts out of bed every morning to start the daily grind.

But the way we present ourselves not only impacts how others perceive us. It also has an effect on who we become.

And how about The Power of Positive Thinking? A book that was originally published in 1952, and is still insanely popular today.

While it’s pretty clear that positive thinking can improve your mood and overall outlook, studies are now showing it can also lower stress levels, decrease depression rate, increase life span and battle the common cold. And that’s coming directly from the Mayo Clinic.

Positive mindset = Faith = positive outcome.

…Or at least the outcome that is necessary for your personal journey.

Personal finance is just that: personal

It is closely tied to our decision-making, thinking, values, goals, and even just enjoying life. That’s probably my favorite part about writing about money — it’s adjacent to dozens of other subjects that are all tied together in our lives.

One area that’s important in my own life is faith. My faith relates to finances because it affects my priorities and what I value in life. I’d like to dive in and discuss this today.

Is Saving for the Future the Top Priority?

I feel tempted to be “all in” on saving and investing so my wife and I can leave our full-time jobs earlier. If that’s the goal we’re working towards, we should be doing everything we can to expedite it, right?

But, there’s an opportunity cost to approaching life that way. Dollars devoted to a future retirement are necessarily not being spent on unique life experiences, traveling, or giving.

Ultimately, how you spend your time and your money is a reflection of what you value.

Does Becoming Wealthy Change You?

It’s tempting to think, “Well, I’ll give to causes and organizations I care about later in life once I’m wealthier. I just don’t have the extra money to do that now.” To me, there are two flaws in this thinking.

1. There’s an assumption that there will be a “later.” That’s not guaranteed, so frankly, we shouldn’t treat it as an absolute certainty.

2. There’s an assumption that if we actually reach that “later,” things will be different.

I’ve heard it said that having more money doesn’t change who you are, it only magnifies who you were already. I’ve seen this to generally be true. A good illustration of this, to me, is lottery winners or highly-paid professional athletes.

People often mismanage their wealth if they are not financially literate before suddenly becoming wealthy — many even go bankrupt. For example, a 2010 study showed that the bankruptcy rate for lottery winners in Florida was nearly twice as high as regular Florida residents.

Another study shows that NFL players have a similar bankruptcy rate to the general population, despite earning much higher incomes.

Speaking of which, I believe that a lack of financial literacy and related resources is a huge problem in our society. Recent data that collected and analyzed on this site showed that available personal finance resources are not reaching society as a whole — we’re only reaching a limited segment.

Related: For Love and Money – Talking Finances With Your Partner

Lifestyle creep

This “becoming wealthy doesn’t change you” concept relates to the personal finance concept of lifestyle creep, too. The idea here is that even if your income rises significantly, by 50% for example, it tends to be difficult to save any more than you were saving before.

Mathematically, this doesn’t make sense — you have more money, so you should be able to save more of it. But in practice, most of us tend to raise our spending levels proportionately. After that 50% raise, it’s easy to just spend 50% more on eating out, on rent, on a newer car, etc. That additional income didn’t change your spending habits.

The SR Wife and I recognize that (1) we may not live long enough to gain what I would consider being life-changing wealth and (2) even if we do, it probably won’t really be life-changing. Therefore, we try to give time and money now to the things that we value.

So what is it that we value?

Faith — What I Believe

This is the quick version of our worldview: as Christians, we believe that we receive love from God every day that we don’t deserve. That inspires us to love other people and to be generous with our own resources.

If we say that we have faith and want to help other people, we need to show that now, not just later when we’re wealthier and semi-retired.

We don’t want to plan our lives around the idea that gaining more wealth will change what we value most, and that we can only be generous later in life. If anything, we want our budget to be an illustration of what we presently value.

That’s really what the early retirement movement is all about, in a way. People are saying that they value their financial freedom more than the other things they could be spending their money on. Your budget shows what you value.

What We’re Doing

For my wife and I, we are actively involved in a church near where we live. We give money monthly to the church, and we volunteer in the nursery to help with childcare.

I’ve mentioned in other posts that we’re interested in adopting in the future. In part, we’re motivated by our faith. The picture of love that we see in Christianity inspires us to want to show that same love to other people.

We give about 10% of our gross income to our church. We understand that doing this will delay our retirement, compared to saving that additional 10%. But we’re okay with it. Personal finance is personal.

So yes, our faith does affect our finances! And I think it should. We don’t do it perfectly. We’re constantly struggling to find the balance between spending and giving to what we value now versus investing for the future.

Does your budget reflect what you value most? How do you find that balance?

You Can’t Go Back

Remember that life does not have a rewind button.
Unfortunately, they haven’t yet created an app for that.

So starting right now — you need to be intentional about how you live it.

Believe in your goals, believe in your dreams, and, most of all, believe in yourself.

Because at the end of the day, this is your life. And you’ve only got one of them.

Live it hard and live it well.

Otherwise, you’re not really living at all, are you?



Robin Edwards, often hailed as "The Penny Hunter" by her close circle, is not just a financial writer; she's a financial educator committed to helping people understand the value of every penny. With a background in finance and a knack for simplifying complex financial concepts, Robin has become a go-to resource for those looking to take control of their financial destiny. With her zero-based budgeting method, she's changing the way we think about money, one dollar at a time.