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Moving from Scarcity to Abundance

Nov 10, 2015

“How many people are coming to dinner?!”

When I was young, the city I called home hosted a national convention. The convention brought many of my dad’s friends (mostly pastors) to visit and my parents decided to host a dinner at our house.

As we got closer and closer to the dinner, the guest list grew longer and longer. My mom’s stress level increased – she’d never cooked for so many people. She was worried the food would run out before people were full.

“Bread fills men”

Years later, she told me she called her mom for direction. My grandmother told her to buy more bread. My grandmother had hosted many dinner parties and as a former Delta stewardess, she knew the world of hospitality. When my mom asked why bread, my grandmother shared a simple three-word mantra, a mantra I still remember today. “Bread fills men.” When in doubt, buy more bread! When the big day came, everyone left the dinner party satisfied!

Fear of Scarcity

I believe our fear of scarcity is not simply limited to running out food. Our scarcity mindset influences many of our daily thoughts. If I share this, where will the next one come from? If I help this person out, will I have enough for me and my family? If I promise something, will I have enough time/energy/creativity to keep that promise?

Many of us are afraid of running out. Whether the scarcity is money, time, energy, creativity, affection, ideas, we all think we’re going to run dry. Scarcity mindsets lead us to hold back and hoard; we don’t share when we have the opportunity because fear has gripped our hearts.

So if we live in a world where many of us are terrified by perceived scarcity, how do we make the shift from abundance?

 

From Scarcity to Abundance

I wonder if we can learn from the areas where we regularly overcome these fears. We aren’t even conscious of the shifts we’ve made from scarcity to abundance thinking.

A mom doesn’t say to her child, “I cannot show you more love – I’m going to run out.”

A coach doesn’t say “I’m not going to give you input because I only have a few things I know.”

A painter doesn’t say, “I better monitor my strokes because I only have a certain number in me.”

While there are not unlimited resources in our lives (time, money, energy), many of us fail to realize that we have enough to share with others and that makes us rich. In his book, Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence, Tim Sanders shares how his grandmother taught him this perspective.

She said, “We have all we need, enough to share with Clarence. And because we were able to share, we’re worth something. By being able and willing to give, we are rich…I believe in myself, all the people in my life, and even when everything else fails, God. Through all these beliefs, I know there is always more where this came from.”

“There’s is always more where that came from.” This simple perspective shift, from “I don’t have enough” to “there’s always more where that came from”, is life-altering. If we loved like this, we’d realize that loving increases our capacity to love. If we created like this, we’d realize that more expression leads to more freedom and more expression. As a writer, I’ve found that as I pour more words from my heart into my keyboard, there are my words in my heart than I realized.

Let’s be honest, though. Love can lead to wounds. What we create and share is often not received as we’d like. Sometimes we get scared. We feel rejected. We hit a wall with the student were coaching or the child we’re loving. They don’t appreciate us the way we hoped they would.

Enter Gratitude

This is where gratitude enters the picture. Gratitude helps us reframe our experiences. Gratitude doesn’t change our experience; it changes our perspective on our experience.

Gratitude is so important. It takes what we have and turns it into enough.
Reflecting on the power of gratitude, author Michael Hyatt wrote, “we will never have more of what we truly desire until we become fully thankful for what we have.”

Gratitude helps us to accept abundance without becoming entitled, while also helping us to accept perceived scarcity without becoming afraid. Gratitude reminds us that we have enough to share and that’s enough. Gratitude reminds us that there is plenty more where that came from, so we don’t have to live driven by fear.

We have enough words to share.
We have enough love to share.
We have enough presence to share.

When we give thanks for all we have, I believe God does miracles in our midst. He takes what we have and turns it into enough.

While November is often a month singularly focused on gratitude, I believe it is also a great time for generosity. By practicing thankfulness, I hope we’re all moved to share like never before.

3 Steps Towards Abundance

If you’re struggling with a fear of scarcity, what can you do?

-Strengthen your gratitude muscle. Write or post three things you’re grateful for each day. Share them in person or online. Rinse and repeat. (I continue to share this point because I think we don’t realize how much we struggle with entitlement and how transformative gratitude truly is).

-Look for opportunities to be generous. We discover the opportunities we’re seeking. In the same way that we suddenly see a certain car everywhere as we ponder buying one ourselves, our intention to be generous increases our awareness of opportunities to give to others.

Share consistently. If you’re afraid of love running out, show up and love people every day. If you’re afraid of running out of creativity, make something new every day. If you’re afraid of running out of words, write 1000 words every day.

When you’re tempted to hold back this week because you don’t think there’s enough, repeat these simple words…

There’s plenty more where that came from.

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