So first of all, I use this blog to think out loud more than I do to speak authoritatively on some subject. I would guess that’s the way that most people use a blog anyway. I hope though, that you can relate to these struggles and join in on the development of this idea.
A few weeks back I was challenged in my thinking to develop a mindset of abundance rather than one of scarcity. So, here goes my developing that mindset. So what does that look like? How do we move from scarcity to abundance? Does this apply in those really lean times? Let’s jump into it and see what comes about.
Scarcity vs. Abundance
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I’ve looked at this verse before as idealistic. I thought, “Paul that sounds good, but what about that thing called life? It kinda gets in the way of this attitude.” But when I looked at this verse in the past I saw it through a lens and mindset of scarcity. I saw the amount of stuff, skills, situations, job positions and other things that I had and compared my situation with others. Sure I had it better than some, but the people I chose to look at made me come up short. I had a hard time finding reason to rejoice and give thanks.
However, there have been times that blew me away and I looked at the things that God has provided for me. When I focus on these I see it differently. I see the grace, provision, and love of God being poured out on me, my friends and family and I stand in awe. This is the lens of God’s abundance. I wish I could say that this viewpoint happened more often than my outlook of scarcity, but it’s often not the case.
Making the Shift
So how do we get from scarcity to abundance? How do we move from relativism to rest? It ain’t easy. At least it’s not easy if we keep trying to do it. The key is really just what I said though, rest. If we rest in what God does then it’s not a chore to make the shift. Yet it does take seeing things differently in order to find that rest.
When you look at your life do you see what you have as a gift or as something you’ve worked hard to earn? If it’s the latter viewpoint then we’ll never be satisfied. We’ll always be working hard to achieve more and to get the next big thing. This leads not only to us looking at ourselves but looking at others and not being satisfied. Even the richest of the rich will look at someone else and want what they have. It’s part of our broken human nature. But Christ works something in us. He gives us His Spirit to renew our minds and help us see things through His viewpoint.
God gives us all that we need though we might not have everything that we want. But as a Father who knows what’s best for us He doesn’t give us things that will hurt us. God won’t give us seomthing that will further instill this mindset of scarcity. He will either leave us to the trappings of the worldly stuff in order to show us how disappointing it is. Or He will take care of our needs, the things we truly need, in ways that leave us with no other explanation than it’s God who provides.
Will He Really Come Through?
The last hold out and the biggest lie comes in those times where we truly feel as though we’re not going to make it. Now, this feeling is quite subjective. We might think it’s objective when we feel like we can’t provide food for our kids or keep the lights on. It’s easy to see scarcity when by most standards it is scarce. But God doesn’t have a poverty line and see people above or below it. He doesn’t assess how much people need based on how much they provide. He sees that everyone, all of us, need Him. (Maybe there is a poverty line and we’re all below it.)
God has promised many things throughout history and taking care of us and our needs is one of those promises (Matt. 6:25-34). He has come through with each one of His promises and done so in spectacular ways. God has given His Son as our Redeemer and King though He was a humble servant. He has delivered His people from their enemies, in particular the biggest enemy, the devil. And Jesus promised and gave us the Spirit who would walk with us daily.
Not Always “Normal”
Taking care of our daily needs is an easy thing for Him. The thing about it is that it might not happen the way that we like or think that it should happen. We want to be the hero of our story. It’s part of our nature. We want the credit for getting through this life, providing for our kids, getting a great job, and keeping our marriages together.
But God’s provision doesn’t always happen through our normal means. He gives us jobs as a normal means, but he might provide for us through the state and government programs. Husbands and wives go on dates (ideally) as a normal means to stay connected, but sometimes it takes counseling. We normally go to school and get all the training we need to land a good job, but sometimes God gives us a mediocre job so we lean on Him and rely on Him more.
As I said at the beginning, I don’t have this all figured out and I don’t always see things this way. But I see the value in it. I actively ask God to help reshape my viewpoint and help me rest. I believe that a big part of His provision is to help me see all that He is providing. God will help me see His abundance.