Try Not To Panic Over Intermittent Paychecks
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”Matthew 6:25,26,27,33-34 (NIV)
One of the single hardest things for me to get used to as a freelancer is the feast or famine nature of the business. Some months I get several new clients and former clients come back to me with new assignments. Other months my phone doesn’t ring, my email brings nothing but spam and it’s easy to panic. How will I pay my bills this month, Lord? What am I going to do if I don’t have money in the checking account to pay the mortgage next week?
I try to budget, try to anticipate income probability for the coming months based on sound logic without being overly optimistic, and try not to make too many impulse purchases. But time and time again I come up short. There’s too much month left at the end of the money. How does one cope with the financial uncertainty and the pressure and stress of being self-employed, freelancing, or as I like to call it, overworked and underpaid?
Quite frankly, I don’t cope so well. It’s nerve wracking to always wonder where your next meal ticket will come from, how you’re going to pay for your daughter’s new shoes so she can join the track team with all her friends, and if you’re being overindulgent by treating yourself to café latte with a friend.
Building a freelance writing business is about so much more than just writing. It’s about advertising and marketing, accounts payable and accounts receivable (and there are usually a lot more of the former than the latter), customer relations, networking; vision and goal setting; organizing and filing; and a whole lot more, and then it’s finally about writing. It’s hard enough to multi-task to the extent necessary, treat each client like they are special, maintain your sense of creativity, stay sane, and get a reasonable amount of sleep, without even thinking about your household expenses.
That’s where God comes in. When I just don’t have the answers, I turn to this favorite Bible verse and try to calm down.
I reason with my irrational self that God loves me far more than a
flock of birds, so He will also provide for me. I remind myself I do not have to worry; God told me so, and that worrying doesn’t help a thing. I stop and listen: for His voice to His word. And I start to trust the Creator of the Universe to supply all my needs, even though it goes against the logic of worldly thinking. I place my trust in Him, and I decide to exercise my faith in Him. Then I pray. And I sing songs of joy and praise and thanksgiving. I get lost in the music and the spiritual experience. I simply bask in the glow of His love for me, and I know everything will work out somehow, someway.
And do you know what? It always does.
Tina L. Scott is a full-time professional photographer who now writes in her spare time. She is married with two children and one granddaughter and lives in Merrill, Wisconsin. www.photographybytina.com.