Someone on my social feeds this week posted about Scarcity and Abundance and it stopped me in my tracks because of how much I saw myself in it.
If you have been in the ministry world for a bit, you probably have heard a sermon on the idea of Scarcity and Abundance thinking. Stephen Covey is credited with bringing this idea to the fore front in business circles. I, like most people, half-listened until it was taking over my life and thoughts.
Years ago, when I first started as a Creative Director at a large church in the Midwest, it was different than any other ministry position I had held previously. I spent so much of my time, in the first several years, worried and living in scarcity. Everything people did made me give them the side-eye. I trusted no one. Worried that I was going to be fired and replaced, I became resentful, cynical, and didn't share my gifts or talents. I would stay in my office avoiding people in the hope they wouldn't ask me to do anything extra. When another leader in the organization took an interest in me and my family, I pushed her away because I was pretty sure my boss asked her to spy on me for him. It wasn't the truth. She obviously saw me living the lonely scarcity life.
Once I realized how this way of living was crippling me, I knew I had to make a change. It isn’t easy shifting my thoughts to believing that there will always be enough for me, especially if I truly have faith that God will always provide. As I look at my life as a whole, I have gotten everything I've always needed (notice I didn't say wanted). I've never gone hungry, or without an opportunity to grow. It's so easy to fall back there, well, because i'm human.
This week I'm totally living the scarcity life and I'm wondering how I got back to this place. It doesn't feel good here, but here I am. I have found myself annoyed with the smallest things like someone not returning something that belonged to me back to my area. I haven't been able to see the big picture and I feel like things are shrinking. Even this afternoon as I was doing some work here at our house and I felt myself acting out with my family, reverting back to suspicion, living in fear, hoarding my resources and gifts. If I get quiet, I can see and hear myself doing these things. One thing I am grateful for are my family and friends. They do not allow me to wallow in this life, they side-eye me right back and tell me that whatever is going on is not going to fly.
William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”
Even while cycling through the news cycle recently, you can see the story of people living in scarcity. In Charlottesville, Virginia and other places in the world it shows up big time. These are folks who are clearly living in the scarcity life and feeling that there's not enough for them and hurting and resenting others because of fear. It's tough to see people living their life in that way. There's a quote from a modern poet named Hafiz that I've been marinating on and trying to remember often, "Fear is the cheapest room in the house and I'd like to see you living in better conditions." I'm hoping and praying that these folks will be open to a new way of thinking and being.
Here are a few quick tips that are helping me:
1. When scarcity thoughts surface, I try and remember I have more then enough and I am more than enough. Romans 12:12 lets us all in on the secret that things change when we transform our minds or change our way of thinking. In fact, all of Romans 12 is a guide for how to NOT live the scarcity life.
2. Holding my gifts/talents loosely. Giving more of my talents/gifts has changed my life. When I give I am able to find who I am.
3. Get quiet. When everything is loud I need to get quiet to hear what God is saying and what your next step is going to be. I go for a walk to clear my head of the noise.
So, how are you living? Are you living in the cheapest room in the house?
How can you make the leap to living like there will always be enough for you?