Often when I host a dinner party a wave of panic washes over me. I begin to worry incessantly, “Will there be enough of everything?” Will there be enough pasta and bread to eat? Will there be enough ice and drinks, and will there be enough pie and whipped cream? Suddenly I am caught up in this flurry of fear that has no basis in reality. I have never, in fact, had a party ruined by not having enough of something. Nevertheless, rather than enjoying the evening, I become distracted from my guests, cautiously calculating portion sizes and solving scenarios in my head that will never play out in actuality. The joy is zapped out of my evening, as I find myself trapped tightly in the grip of scarcity.
I wish I could tell you this way of thinking only shows up at dinner parties for me. The truth is this scarcity mindset shows up in most every area of my life—at home and at work, with casual acquaintances and in my closest relationships. Something will happen that triggers the fear inside of me, “Will there be enough of everything?” If this other person is adored, will there be enough love for me to receive? If this other person is included, will there be enough acceptance to meet my need? If this other person is achieving, will there be enough opportunity for me?
When I get really honest with myself, however, I know these questions are just the presenting symptoms of a much deeper issue within me. The real question that fuels my fear is not a matter of having enough but rather of being enough as a human being. What I really want to know is this: “AM I ENOUGH?” Am I good enough to be loved? Am I worthy enough to be accepted in community? Am I deserving enough to have opportunity? The shame of feeling that I am lacking in some way drives me to hustle to verify my value and pushes me to perform to prove my worth. Scarcity tells me that anyone else becoming more makes me somehow less, so my friends become foes, my colleagues become competitors, and my teammates become threats to work against. I miss out on the beauty that is all around me, because I am so consumed with preserving myself. The joy is zapped out of my life, as I compare and contend; manage and measure; struggle and strive.
But friends, let me tell you something that took me far too long to figure out: scarcity is a big, bad, ugly lie. The God who created you and me is the same God whose love reaches to the heavens and faithfulness stretches to the skies; whose righteousness is like the highest mountains and whose justice is like the great deep. He is the God whose peace is beyond understanding and whose greatness is unfathomable for everyone. He is a God of abundance, who graciously sent His Son into this world so we could not only have life, but life to the full. He made us in His very image and has given us all—every single one of us, without exception and without fail—intrinsic value and sacred worth that nothing and no one can take away. We are already and always ENOUGH, and there is enough love, acceptance, and opportunity to go around.
What if we dared to boldly live into the freedom of this reality? What if when the great lie of scarcity started luring us into its trap, we stood ready to clap back? What if we, grounded in a strong sense of our God-given dignity, countered our draining fears of enough-ness with a practice sure to bring our lives more vitality?
Gratitude sends scarcity running away like nothing else can. When my old familiar fears start creeping in, I have been learning to interrupt them with something to celebrate. The result is that I find myself loving and being loved like never before. My envy is being replaced with encouragement, and my resentment is being replaced with respect. My performing is being replaced with peace, and my comparison is being replaced with contentment. My competition is being replaced with connection, and my wariness is being replaced with wonder at all the amazing people God has made. And through it all, JOY is being restored in my life. It overflows more and more day by day, as I rest in the abiding assurance that I am indeed enough.
Friends—in case you’ve never been told or have forgotten at some point along the way–I want to remind you so are you. Don’t let the great lie of scarcity zap your joy away, for you are enough–today and everyday.