Welcome to Day 4 of our 30 day celebration of the 5th Anniversary of
Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing, by Paula Langguth Ryan – where we’re answering 30 questions about tithing!

Hi Paula – Is there a wrong way to tithe? I got half way through your tithing book and became so excited and inspired I cannot even express it to you! I immediately began tithing 10%, believing in the principle that supports this very strongly. I must tell you though, that at this point in time, after tithing 10% of every bit of income I have had since I began the book, I am now in the negative in my checking account and the two tithing checks haven’t even been presented to my bank yet. I am praying to see abundance around me, and I am praying not to let fear arise. But I feel like I am failing at this. What am I doing wrong?

Thank you for your kind words about my work. There’s no “wrong” way to tithe. There are, however, some internal checks you should make to be sure you’re actually tithing, and not just giving 10% of your money away. First, let’s look at why you decided to start tithing. What motivated you to tithe? Are you tithing out of gratitude to places to that feed your spirit? Are you tithing to get something in return? Are you tithing to places that “need” instead of places that resonate with you? Check in with those basics.

When you receive income, is your tithe the first check you write, out of gratitude for what you’ve received, or is it the last check you write? Giving thanks with the very first outflow is tithing at its best. Next, what have you received since you started tithing?

Think outside the box, not just what you’ve received in cold hard cash, but what gifts have others given to you or attempted to give to you? Often times, people who experience what you are experiencing discover that they have opened up incredible channels of good, and that they have actually been “turning down” their good, by not accepting the gifts that are offered.

Are you open to receiving and saying thank you when people attempt to give things to you, or do you see them as giving to you out of a sense of obligation, giving “too much” or to feed your need, or because they are offering charity to you?

See everything that is offered to you as a gift. Write it down. Start keeping track of the good that flows into your life, in whatever form it takes – a missed accident; an easy-going exchange with someone you’ve previously had conflict with. (It’s actually a sign of abundance that the two tithing checks you sent out haven’t been presented to your bank.)

Next, look to see if you’re being a good steward with what you have. Suze Orman says you should never tithe if you’ve got debt. Catherine Ponder says tithing is the only guaranteed way to get out of debt. I believe the solution is in the middle – where you can come to the end of your comfort zone and then take a step beyond. For instance, it starts with owning our choices. When you saw that your checking account balance was low, you made a choice to spend more than was in there, or you made a choice to stay vague about how much you had, or how much would automatically be coming out of your account. Don’t judge these choices, just acknowledge them and decide if you want to continue making those choices or not. Call the people you tithed to and ask them to hold the checks for you until you call them back and tell them otherwise.

If, financially, giving a full 10% tithe is going to create tremendous financial stress and strain, and if you’re already in the red in your account, I often recommend scaling back and starting to tithe 1% or 2% or some other percentage that you can comfortably and joyfully give. You might also want to get a free copy of the Giving Thanks Tithing Mastery Study Guide and spend 10 weeks or 10 months going through that course (you can even listen to me lead the entire Tithing Mastery Study Course online.

In addition, each day, look to see where you can step up into a higher level of integrity with your finances. I strongly recommend getting a copy of my free e-booklet, Heal Your Relationship With Money, to see where your money beliefs might be getting in the way of your good.

Peace and prosperity,

Paula Langguth Ryan

PS It’s even more fun to do a Giving Thanks study group with friends or family. Order 10 copies of Giving Thanks for $135!