Do you live like your resources are about to run out?
Doesn’t matter what kind of resource either; I’m not picky. There is money, of course: most of us are aware of the overall trajectory of our bank account, depending on our circumstances of the time. But I know that even in the times when I’m making more money than I’m spending, I still feel like my money is at risk for running out soon.
I may be generations away from the Great Depression, but I still want to save my baggies for my next sandwich. Why throw it out when you could just use it again?
I also believe in scarcity of food. I’m that kid (maybe you are too) who was always told the importance of finishing all the food on your plate at dinner, or you’d be eating it at the next meal. Now I just have a guilt complex about wasting food. I clean up the crumbs and spoon up the melted ice cream. My friends know I’m a master scraper of what you thought were empty peanut butter jars. (I’m perhaps telling you too much about my neuroses). I get physically uncomfortable when I see people throwing food away. What about the starving kids in Africa? And hey, I bet I could put that food to good use if you gave it to me!
You didn’t know this was possible, but I also try to hoard sunsets and mountains. They are some of my favorite things to look at. But I look at them like they were going to disappear tomorrow. I hunger for the beauty, with a feeling inside of knowing the peace I experience in this beauty will soon fade away. Sunsets quickly fade to darkness. I move from Colorado to Indianapolis, which has a distinctive lack of mountains.
Why do I act like this, when I shouldn’t seem to have a reason to?
I’m housed. I have enough food. I even found out that though Indianapolis has no mountains, they’ve got great trees, and the sun sets here on the flatland in ball-of-fire ways I’ve never seen before.
I know not everyone has these things. But what might change if I believed in abundance, not scarcity?
It’s the widow who puts her last coin in as her offering while I sit back and calculate how much I think it would be “prudent” to give.
Why is it that so often, those who have the least to give, give freely, while those of us with the most to give, hold back so tightly? What is it about the idea of having that is so addictive? That keeps you searching and searching for more of whatever it is that you have until you think you have enough- not realizing that you never will?
What must we have been separated from when we entered this world that makes us long for the day, the time, the feeling, when we will never be lacking??
I occasionally wonder what it would look like to live with abandon, childlike, not worrying about how I personally am going to make everything come to fruition. Being able to live exuberantly — not narcissistically or selfishly or spending all my money on myself, but realizing that money is just a thing. It’s not an ideal to be collected and saved, or contrarily, to spend on worldly treasures and experiences. It’s a tool. Helps us get around in this strange world we live in. It’s not a god.
What if we lived and moved in communities where we really loved one another as we loved ourselves, and if someone is hurting, down and out, and in financial distress, we didn’t bat an eye at helping them out. Who wouldn’t buy themselves food when they needed it- or their neighbor whom they love? Likewise, I could move securely in this community trusting that if I were in great need, someone – someone whom I loved deeply – would come to help me. I would also need humility to accept help like that.
What if I could act in faith believing that if I extend myself – perhaps in risky ways – to help another, somehow, that extension will not fall to the ground without bearing fruit. I will, somehow (here or after) be protected, while I do my part in protecting others. What if that little piece of good was like a seed, and the only way to get it to grow is to drop it, scatter it, send it out, even at the risk of being crushed or going unnoticed, because it’s not going to start growing while it’s clenched in my fist.
At the end of the day, I will never be lacking when I am acting in real, genuine love.
I know it’s risky to pray for crazy things like… the ability to take risks. To ask for challenges that require me to take action to meet the challenges. To ask who and how I may serve today.
Risky, but worth it. I’m not saying I’m going to be a rock-star success as I stumble on this trail, but I think I want to give it a shot. Who is with me?