Christian Living

More on Scarcity

I’ve been thinking more about scarcity this week. We ended up recording our podcast episodes on the topic in the midst of having our car’s engine die, needing to bake our MacBook (for the nth time), and finishing my first complete draft of book one in my fantasy series (and not having money for an editor). It’s been a stretch. Today is a “preach to my soul” sort of post.

It’s so easy to point to money or time as the problem. If I just had more money, I’d buy a better car or replace the engine without stressing. If I just had more time, I could get more done. If I just had more _____. What goes in your blank?

But circumstances aren’t the problem. The more I grow, the more I agree with Jon Gabriel who said, “There’s such a strong cause and effect relationship between what’s going on in the inside and how my outside is manifesting that that’s the only direction I look.” Our beliefs determine how we respond to circumstances and, over time, those choices determine the shape of our lives.

So what does it look like as a Christian to get rid of scarcity?

I think we have to start with who God is. Without that foundation, there’s no room for anything but scarcity. If I’m responsible for providing for myself, it’s scary when we don’t have money to buy necessities. If I’m responsible for providing for myself, it’s scary when there’s not enough time or money for whatever I’m worried about.

But when we start with God and His care for His children, we live in an abundant world. A world where God creates enough resources for us–whether that’s flat-out miraculous creation (just ask missionaries about that one) or provision through a job or provision through some other unexpected means.

After all, the essence of scarcity has to do with the future, with projecting the amount you have and the amount you need and getting trapped in the distance between those two.

I wonder how the disciples felt in Matthew 14:16 when there’s five thousand people and they tell Jesus to let the people go find food and Jesus tells them to feed the people. Did they freak out? Did their hearts race as they compared the amount of money they could pool together and the number of people? Not to mention the distance between them and any food. Or did they dismiss Jesus’ instructions as some kind of mystical teaching moment (a la martial arts masters: “A whole wave knocks you down, the spray just gets you wet.”)? Or maybe they realized Jesus was setting up for a miracle.

Even when they brought the five loaves and two fish, it wasn’t nearly enough. In fact, the gap between what they needed and what they had to meet that need was enormous.

But that’s the God we serve–He’s all about growing us, increasing our faith, making us into the people He’s designed us to be. He’s also the God who created the universe out of nothing. Proverbs talks about how God allows the wicked to collect money to give it to the righteous. In Psalms, there are verses about God’s abundant provision. He’s the owner of everything that exists. So when we look at our need, we need to look at what God has instead of what we have. And from that perspective, why would there ever be any need to go into scarcity? It’s as silly as a child whose loving, engaged parents are billionaires worrying about money.

Copy of blog_ Taking the easy road

Christian Living

Abundance in the Now

How’re you guys doing? The holidays working out okay so far? We’ve had a full schedule this week–although my body rebelled so I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in bed. I’m so thankful though for our regular schedule!! We’ve organized it so that we’re consistently moving towards our goals rather than treading water. Something that makes me feel better than I can express 🙂

As I shared last week, our podcast, Epic Every Day, is all about aligning with God’s reality so we can find freedom, abundance, and peace. I ran out of space to talk about abundance and peace so I thought I’d tackle abundance this week and peace next week.

Abundance means having enough or more than enough. For instance, I’ve shared on this blog before how my life pre-Sacred Six meant I never completed my to-do list. I never had enough time to consistently do the things that are important to me. I skimped on self-care. I felt like I was always on the verge of drowning. Now, I actually complete my to-do list regularly. My schedule is set up to push me towards my goals.

Our society is so busy that we tend to live in overwhelm–we don’t have enough time/energy/resources to even try to change that reality. We’re just focused on trying to get through each day.

But what if we could have enough? What if we had enough time to do what really matters to us? To do all the good works God’s prepared in advance for us? What if we consistently had time to breathe? Time to just sit and marvel at God’s character? Time to sleep for 8 hours/night?

Or what about emotional resources–what if we had joy that circumstances couldn’t mute? What if we could persevere through difficult circumstances with peace?

Or what if we had enough finances? An emergency fund that could cushion the loss of a job or a sudden expense? A budget that kept us within our financial means? What if we were out of debt?

I’m not talking about a health and wealth gospel–Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world. Suffering is part of living in a broken world. However, by its very nature, aligning with the way God designed life to work pushes us in the direction of growing freedom, abundance, and peace.

For example, Proverbs speaks over and over about money. Proverbs 22:7 says that the borrower is slave to the lender–not a place we want to be if we’re supposed to be slaves only to God. Not having debts gets rid of a huge stressor and frees us up to do other things in God’s kingdom (e.g., giving to the poor). It’s part of freedom, abundance, and peace. God doesn’t keep us from getting into debt. But I believe He does help us get out of debt once we start being faithful with our finances and aligning with His heart towards money.

Abundance is one of my favorite things about the Christian life. I love that God is a God who gives good gifts (Jas 1:17), that He lavished the riches of His grace on us (Eph 1:8), that He gives abundant redemption (Ps. 130:7). He’s not a stingy God. Yes, living in a broken world means our not-yet abundance is paltry compared to the abundance we’ll have when Jesus returns. Having a healthy earthly body can’t really compare to having a healthy heavenly body. But there’s still abundance in the here and now. Like David says, “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13, NIV).

We also see this when we look at Jesus’ ministry. The wine He made at Cana was both the highest quality and there was more than they needed. When He healed people, He did it to the point that they were fully functional–not just half-healed.

And that’s why we’re passionate about aligning with God’s design in the here and now. It’s the pathway to true abundance–both now and eternally.

Blog_ Abundance in the Now

Christian Living

Living in Lack

If you’re at all familiar with the self-help community these days, you’ll know that abundance and lack thinking are common topics. Living in lack means that you believe there isn’t enough of something for you to have it–it can be material things like money or cars, or intangibles like peace, joy, health, happiness, etc.–that there’s only a certain amount of x in the world and only a select few have it.

I was struck this morning listening to J.B. Glossinger’s podcast about lack thinking. He talked about some pretty convicting ways to tell if you’re in lack thinking–e.g., making fear-based decisions, getting jealous of people who do have that thing, or having a fixation on whatever you lack. This is a relatively new concept related to the law of attraction and other philosophies–new as in within the past 100 years. But it’s not new to Christians.

In Genesis 3, Satan convinces Adam and Eve that they’re missing something. They have fruit from all the trees in the garden–except for one. And, as Beth Moore says in Esther, the moment that warning switched from God’s gracious caution/protection to His prohibition, Adam and Eve were sucked in. Suddenly, God was the enemy, the one keeping them from something good. Suddenly, they didn’t have enough–they were missing something.

It’s easy to see things that way, isn’t it? Sometimes I look at my life and get cranky over my lack of health or stressed over our finances. Other people have x, y, z, so why can’t I have it too? Instead of seeing those lacks as God’s gracious protection or a result of some heart issue He’s trying to solve in me, I focus on the fact that I don’t have it now.

I love the fact that all Christians are God’s trust fund children. I love that our gracious God gives us more than we need. I love that when I have a lack in my life, I can choose to focus on who God is and watch the situation expectantly, knowing that my heavenly Father is never going to leave me hanging.

I also think it’s pretty amazing when you take a bird’s eye view of resources in the world in general–there’s always enough peace, hope, joy, love, etc. when we get those things from God because they’re fruit of the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to feel like there is limited money or limited food or limited medicine worldwide but more and more I’ve been able to see how God renews resources. I realize some of those resources are not as accessible as we would like, but they’re still available–it’s a distribution issue rather than a true lack of resources, if that makes sense. For instance, trees keep growing and providing the wood for paper and firewood, etc., etc.

Anyway! all that to say, we don’t live in lack. Or at least, as Christians, we don’t have to. We live in a world where God provides everything we need–the same way He provided everything Adam and Eve needed. Therefore, if I’m living in lack, I don’t need to point my finger at God–I need to point it at myself.


Trust-fund Children

So how’s everybody doing with all this heat, eh? The heat index was above 110 a few days around here–definitely warmer than I’d like.

A few weeks ago I watched a documentary about abundance and what it means on a practical level. One of the people (I can’t remember which) defined abundance as “enough-ness.” I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with that. I feel like there’s not enough time in my day… that I don’t have enough energy to do the things I want to do or enough money to do some things that have been on our list for a while. There are lots of other “enoughs” that make it on my list regularly.

As children of God, we have a different perspective on abundance than those who don’t know Him. I’ve been reminded of this fact quite a bit lately. I have a friend who doesn’t know God and therefore, is on their own. It’s been convicting listening to them worry. I’ve been reminded of that section in Matt. 6 where Jesus says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”(Matt. 6:31-33 ESV).

You heavenly Father knows that you need them all…. What if we’re all really trust-fund children? I’ve been asking myself that question for the past week or two. What if I really believed that my heavenly Father is a billionaire (financially, energy-wise, time-wise, etc., etc.–fill in whatever your lack is)? What if I believed that He gives me a certain amount of money–not because that’s all the money He has, but because it’s a test to see where my heart is at? What if money isn’t about providing for myself but instead about being a good receiver? What if time isn’t about trying to cram as much into it as possible but instead about being intentional and wise with the moments I do have?

As I’ve been thinking about this in my own life, I’ve concluded that my lack is not the issue; abundance is about whether I believe in God’s abundance and in my daughtership. the reality of life for a child of God is that He provides for us. As I’ve said before, it’s just as silly for me to worry about whether God will provide for me as it is for my daughters to worry about if I’m going to feed them today. If I really believe that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10-12) and I really believe that I am His precious child, my lack (whatever it is) isn’t a disaster. God is 100% capable of providing whatever it is that I need, and, as His child, if it’s in my best interest to have it, He’ll give it to me. Unlike people who aren’t God’s children, we don’t need to run around like chickens with our heads cut off desperately trying to make ends meet. We just have to run after God.

Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.