Growing up, things were good in our family — until they weren’t.
My dad lost his job when I was in elementary school and never held meaningful employment after that. Looking back as an adult, I now understand my dad was probably depressed. It was up to my mom to make all the money for our family and run the house as well — cooking, cleaning, shopping, and managing the money.
We almost always had enough, but never anything extra. One of my most vivid memories is watching my mom get ready for work by slipping pieces of cardboard into her shoes since they both had holes in them. They were the only work shoes she had.
Mom did everything she could to make sure we had what we needed, but I always remember a lot of stress around anything to do with finances. I didn’t want to live like that when I left home.
In my first marriage, long stints of my ex-husband’s unemployment reinforced the idea that there would never be enough. Living in Silicon Valley, enough looked different than enough in other parts of the world. And yet, not knowing if you’ll be able to pay the next power bill, telling your kids no to stuff their classmates all have, and losing a home is hard for any mom, wherever you are.
Because of those experiences, the fear of “not enough” is deep in my DNA, and it’s something I battle every day.
Sometimes my fear comes out in expected ways — paying bills late because I don’t want to let go of the money we have, putting off repairs, lacking in generosity when I should be giving.
Other times, fear comes out in weird ways — buying too much at the store because what if we don’t have the money to buy what we need next week? Or overspending today so we won’t be lacking tomorrow.
About two years ago, my husband and I moved to a remote mountain in Northern California to live among the trees and teach writing retreats. When I was living in the city, it was no problem to run to the supermarket five minutes away. Now, going to the store involves lots of planning and a several-hour commitment. I never expected only going to town once a week would bring up all those scarcity insecurities all over again. I felt I needed to buy more when we’re at the store because what if we don’t have what we need later on?
I battle a heart of scarcity, but I long for a heart of abundance.
A heart of scarcity means a heart of fear, and fear is a hard way to live. I desperately want to be able to echo the words of Paul the Apostle, who knew both abundance and scarcity — and knew the secret to living with both.
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:12-13 (NASB)
It sounds good, but how do we apply it in day-to-day life? I’ve found that when confronted with something that seems like anxiety-inducing scarcity, my best remedy is praying about it.
Prayer usually results in one of the following:
1. God gives me what I need. When we moved into our house in the mountains, which we affectionately call The Red House, the previous owners left behind tools, supplies, hardware, and more. So much so that we don’t always know what we have between what they left and what we’ve bought for other projects. But if I look hard enough, I discover I already have what I need. Our joke is, “The Red House giveth,” but it is really God who keeps showing up and showing off to say, “Hey, remember those birds of the field? I’ve got you too.”
2. God gives me another idea. Sometimes I’ll be convinced I need a certain tool, ingredient, or paint color to complete my project, and I won’t have it. But oftentimes, I come up with another idea, another substitution, another something. I may not have exactly what I want, but God gives me the creativity to come up with what I need.
3. I realize I didn’t need it in the first place. We are bombarded by messages from advertising, friends, instructions, and social media that we absolutely must have a certain item. I have omitted a spice from a recipe, left a color off a painting, or done without an accessory everyone else seems to be wearing. And you know what? The world — and I — marched on.
When fears about not having enough come up, spending time with God reminds me how rich I am in many areas.
Scarcity mindset comes from believing money is the only resource God has entrusted me with. But I have other resources:
To move from a scarcity mindset to a place of abundance, I have to get away to pray often, even if away is behind the closed door of my bedroom. It’s the only way I know to get quiet enough to hear the truth of the still, small voice of Jesus whispering, “I am enough,” to my heart.
If you’d like the chance to get away, even if it’s at your own house, order Kathi’s new devotional, An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can’t Get Away. It would make a great Christmas gift for all the women on your list! Each devotion includes spiritual insight from authors Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory, helpful prompts that encourage reflection and growth, and room for you to write down what God is teaching you.
When you order before January 4th, you’ll also receive access to an exclusive journal and a podcast series with Kathi and Cheri Gregory called “Devos for Dropouts.” Redeem your preorder here.
Place your order to get your freebies AND enter to WIN one of five copies that we’re giving away! Leave a comment on this post telling us about how you move away from scarcity mindset and you’ll be entered to win.
Then tune in tomorrow, December 15th, at 11am central on our Facebook page for a live conversation with Kathi and Becky! We know it will be a blessing to listen in to their discussion.