The simplest concepts can be the hardest to truly grasp. In her book Out of Sorts, Sarah Bessey writes about the idea of scarcity*, how the fear of not having enough can drive us to do terrible things. Scrabbling for enough for ourselves puts others down, and hurts us at the same time, even if we can’t see it.
So to say, “There isn’t scarcity. There is more than enough in Christ” seems at the same time so simple and yet so revolutionary.
But the Kingdom of God is more than enough. It is an act of faith to live with the narrative of abundance instead of the fear of scarcity. ~Out of Sorts, p. 227
There is no scarcity.
Scarcity thinking pops up most often in my life in regards to singleness. It’s an ugly little truth that when I see engagement announcements and wedding photos on Facebook, the thought often crosses my mind that there’s one less guy who could end up with me. Which is true, of course, so in a sense there’s something valid in that thought, but it goes much deeper than one less eligible guy.
It’s about wanting to be married, but it’s also about the lie I still sometimes believe that tells me the only way to a good life, a blessed life, a life truly full of happiness and joy, is to be married.
Which it’s not, but it’s hard to not want something good even if it might not be what’s best, at least right now.
Scarcity tells me God is using up all the good lives on the married people.
As I look at that typed out, it seems like such a ridiculous statement. Of course he’s not using up all the good lives on the married people.
It can feel that way though, because feelings aren’t always in the sense-making business. When I look around me and see the happy couples and the happy families, it is so hard to not feel like God is withholding very good things from me. Which, in turn, makes me ask serious questions about him.
Is he good? Does he care? Is he listening?
My head answer is yes, but my heart answer is sometimes no.
So lately, I’ve been reminding myself:
There is no scarcity.
God’s goodness does not depend on whether or not I get married. His love and goodness and his essential nature of being for me is not reflected in the state of my love life (or lack thereof).
There is no scarcity. Not only in this aspect of my life, but in all of them. In the real Kingdom of God, the one not based on my feelings of frustration and sadness and desire for this good thing of marriage, there is no shortage of good lives. Good lives aren’t based on things, whether relationships or money or houses or cars.
A good life in the kingdom of God is based on what he has to offer, and he will never run out of the good things. Infinite love, infinite joy, infinite peace, infinite mercy, infinite grace–there is so much more than enough of all of these, for all of time, for all people.
Getting what I want in life, or not getting it, is not a reflection of God’s essential character. He is enough, no matter what my fleeting feelings may tell me.
With God, there is no scarcity.
Til next time…
p.s. Is there an area of life where you most often fall into scarcity thinking?
*It should be noted that Sarah references Walter Brueggemann’s work on the “liturgy of abundance” versus the “myth of scarcity.” Specifically, she mentions his book Journey to the Common Good.