Nothing Missing Nothing Lacking

It’s kinda cute when you watch those videos on YouTube of kids talking about what they want to be when they grow up. If you would have asked a five-year-old me, my profession of choice ranged from doctor to princess (married to Princes William or Harry of course). But our ambitions soon evolve from cute dreams to real-life goals. We figure out our strengths and weaknesses. I struggled with science in school and after confusing the word feces and fetus I finally realized my medical ambitions were over! We make career goals, which ebb and flow with our personal goals. We want to find our soul mate, whilst having financial stability and a fulfilling career. Maybe add a nice house, a good car, some little kiddos, and a strong community around us.

But many of us struggle to keep up with the timeline of our dreams. By the time we hit our late twenties and then into our thirties and forties, some are stuck in dead end jobs, some are longing for marriage, and others are dealing with bankruptcy. It’s so easy to feel like we are in lack and that our lives look nothing like what we had hoped or imagined.

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes about the concept of “scarcity”. She describes how we live in a culture of “never enough”. From the moment we wake up in the morning, we immediately tell ourselves that we did not get enough sleep, which soon slips into believing that we do not have enough time to get things done. “Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. Everything from safety and love to money and resources feels restricted or lacking.” (Page 26)

Brene is right – scarcity is so embedded into our thinking that it is a discipline to consider that we are actually living in success and plenty.

2 Peter 1:3 says that God’s “divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” The Bible is not saying that we are in lack, but in fact God has given us everything we need for life (money, skills, resources, housing, food, toys for the kids etc.) and godliness (the spiritual stuff so we can actually have a relationship with God and grow as spiritual beings). Everything. Nothing missing. Nothing lacking. We have everything we need.

And please note, the Bible is not saying that God has given us all we need to keep up with the Jones’, or even our projected life-plan. Yes, the Jones’ seem to have their life on track with their dreams; they have the money, the career, and the seemingly well-behaved kids, but maybe it’s time to let go of the expectations we have put on ourselves? For the sake of our sanity, maybe we need to let go of the time-sensitive agenda and be content with our little houses, or our frugal budgets that mean we can’t always buy organic produce? Maybe it’s time to surrender the dreams of annual family vacations and be happy with taking day trips to the beach or the mountains, and packing homemade sandwiches?

And as we shift our perspective, may we see that a lack of money, relationships, or career doesn’t mean we have failed or that we are inferior to others. Sometimes the seasons of tight finances, tough work environments, or pressured family relationships are about us recalibrating our hearts. It’s not that we deny the lack, but we surrender the shortfalls and choose to believe that our story is not over. We have been given everything we need to get through today and the next season is not too far away

So today, my prayer for us all surrender scarcity and embrace contentment. Our current situations are not forever. As we press forward, our lives will look oh so different in one year, five years, and ten years. Let us not look at what others are doing, let us not compare. Let us forgo our own expectations of our lives and let us look at the good, cherish the gifts, and let go of the pressure to have more. Let’s be a people who engage our hearts in the present rather than self-medicate on fantasies of what the future could bring. 

May we see that God has given us all we need for life and godliness! But may we also have the grace to accept that it might not be enough to keep up with the Jones’, or even our own expectations.

Complaining, moaning, and having a good grumble (Promises Part 4)

Many if us say we want to live with a real and honest faith. We say we are tired of the “fake it till you make it” mentality, so we can often pendulum into extreme negativity. We assume that by venting our frustrations we are living authentically. 

However, I have found that real and honest truth is not found in the midst of my circumstances. My circumstances often speak of my lack, insecurities, and fears. Everything on earth will chop and change. My emotions change. My bank balance fluctuates. My relationships ebb and flow. But God is my constant. God is faithful. My spiritual perspective speaks of hope, victory, and freedom.

So there’s something powerful about lifting our eyes up to God. There’s something life changing about tuning into God rather than allowing the wavelength of our circumstances to scream out. 

In the early chapters of Joshua we read the story of Jericho. This was the first city that the Hebrews were taking in their Promised Land. After centuries of slavery, and then decades of wondering in the desert, finally the Promise of God was here! 

But they still had to fight for the land. There was still going to be an invasion. There was still going to be battle. And as much as the Canaanites of Jericho were melting in fear (Joshua 2:24), there was still a risk that the Hebrews would lose. I mean, after all, they were a people accustomed to slavery and the wilderness. Victory would have been unusual.  

But instead of relying on their past behaviors, like stewing in disappointment, complaining, or building idols, the Hebrews did something unique; they tuned into God’s voice, listened to what He said, and they marched around the city in silence six times before raising their voices in a cry of victory. Instead of moaning, instead of succumbing to pessimism, instead of losing heart, the Hebrews obeyed God’s seemingly strange instruction to take the land. They decided to trust God. They took courage and chose to believe that God was leading them and that He was not going to give them over to defeat. 

And on the seventh day, the walls came toppling down and Jericho was won.

How many of us can learn from the Hebrews example? How many of us need to align our hearts with the Truth that God will never leave us or forsake us? How many of us need to overcome our own insecurities and listen to what God is leading us to do? How many of us need to raise our voice in praise and thanksgiving, rather than moaning and complaining?

As much as grumbling feels good, it hinders us from advancing forward. Trust and praise are keys to unlocking victory but negativity keeps us on an endless road of defeat. Our complaining prolongs God’s Promises but our praise releases His victory.

In the midst of the storm, we need to acknowledge who God is. We need to speak it out. We need to sing worship songs and lift our eyes to Jesus.  It’s not faking it because we are acknowledging the truth of who He is and who He has made us to be. 

So lift up your eyes. Look to the One who fights for you and is changing you from glory to glory. Look to the One who loves and empowers you. And watch as the walls that surround your Promise come tumbling down. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOT WHAT WE EXPECT - PROMISES (PART 2)

When it comes to our ‘promises’, we don’t expect to have to work hard or fight. Whether spirit, soul, or body, we think God has assured us that He is giving something to us, and therefore it’s going to be easy. And then the tension rises. We realize we are going to have to fight for our marriages, our families, and our careers. We see that the desires of our hearts don’t just fall into our laps, but there are ‘giants’ in the way. Then we crumble. We question ourselves and doubt God. We don’t want to fight. We don’t want to have to work for it. And it’s not because we are lazy, but it’s because we FEAR.

 

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