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.

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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.