I was paying bills a few weeks ago when I felt an uncanny sense of joy overcome me, a feeling I’d not experienced before while completing such a task. Often when I pay bills I get grumpy and disgruntled to be lessening the reserves in our bank account. However, instead of recognizing the loss, I felt overwhelming gratitude for the resources.
I’m still blinking my eyes as I write this.
When Chris and I first got married money and bills were a topic that caused a lot of stress between us, and still does. Often we clash based off our own upbringings in relationship with money. However, in the recent year, we’ve started to see beyond the daily dividend, flipping our thoughts from living on scarcity, waiting on reserves to run out, to living on abundance, trusting we will have all we need and more.
In the conservative christian culture, it’s acceptable for ministry workers to live on the edge of poverty, in fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s favorable. Starting Restore One within our first year of marriage we unconsciously bought into the notion of ministry beggary. If we bought something of worth or took a trip, we felt it must be hidden. If we took time off, we felt that we had to explain the means by which we paid for it or the deal we received to be able to travel. Despite our best efforts, we still felt criticized.
Chris and I realized that no matter how we paint the picture, someone will always have a problem with how we spend our time and our resources. While I wish we took our realization into deeper consideration, our contempt and shame surrounding rest and delight slowly grew. Only in recent years have we been able to break away and truly enjoy the blessing of money.
I’ve realized, if we live out of scarcity our relationship with income is characterized by the fear that there will never be enough to supply our needs and wants.
Scarcity is not generous nor joyful, it hoards and hides all residue of assets. Its partners are shame and greed. Living in scarcity generates pride for the shortage of reserve and shames those who live in abundance.
I’m reminded of John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Scarcity is a stealer of life and killer of freedom. I’ve learned in various seasons of life that one can live with minimal assets, trump scarcity and choose abundance.
Abundance does not imply wealth, rather it’s embodying a spirit of open resource. Recently I was writing a poem to read in my yoga classes surrounding this concept of abundance, and the opening line stated, “abundance wraps me in a golden cloak, drowning the scarlet letter on my chest.” This statement is redemptive. As I read it back to myself I feel a physical lightening, my heart opening up to goodness and joy. As I exhale breath, the shame of scarcity lifts and I am drawn to greater faith.
I’m learning to cultivate a life of abundance by celebrating and sharing the time and resource that is mine. I’m desiring to live like the widow in Mark 12 giving away her last two copper coins and embodying the lavish tale of Jesus feeding the five thousand in Matthew 14. These examples invite us into the miraculous expansion of the Kingdom in the face of the impossible. They provoke our hearts to delight and wonder, urging us to know more of the goodness of God and drawing our spirits to live in abundance.
Anna is passionate, a lover of God and sunrises. She is a wanna be poet and pour over coffee connoisseur. And in her garden she grows Drift Roses (of all things). She is a Master Level Social Worker and a 200 Registered Yoga Teacher. In 2012, along with her husband Chris, she co-founded Restore One, an anti-trafficking ministry that serves men and boys. Journeying through her own recovery process, she understands that healing is a painful yet beautiful path we must take to receive freedom. Anna believes healing is possible for everyone. Anna enjoys throwing pottery, writing and teaching yoga and spending time with Chris.
I once believed that to be a true follower of Jesus, I had to live in scarcity–no air conditioning, no vacations, etc. John 10:10 helped me change my attitude, too, and to see God as the God of abundance. Now I try to see how big God is, how abundant and generous, and say “yes” to living abundantly. Thanks for posting this. It is a lovely reminder to choose abundance and generosity.
Hey Madeline, this is truly a truth that I believe God wants us to live into. I’m so so grateful for your own freedom and letting your heart say “yes” to living abundantly! Blessings sister!
Thank you for sharing such encouraging, honest words.
Thank you Tammy. 🙂 Blessings to you.
Bravo! I choose to live in a “more than enough” mindset rather than “never enough” . The amount of income does not dictate our attitudes. Freedom!
Yes Ruth! 🙂 I believe this is the truth of the gospel! I’m urged on by your comments!
Thank you for this. I have struggled with this issue for years and years. I have hope in Christ to live from abundance one day. Blessings.
I’ve struggled so much too. I’m believing, also for your heart grow in the freedom of resting in God’s abundance. It’s such a journey, one in which we have the privilege to walk alongside one another in. Blessings to you!
Amen! Thank you for sharing this! I’m a firm believer that living abundantly (and within our means) cultivates joy and provides income to others in the Kingdom. Thank you for daring to be counter cultural.
Thank you Sharon! It is a glorious truth!
Once as a little girl I found a $20 bill blowing in the church parking lot. I thought I was rich and blessed. My dad told me that the right thing to do was to place it in the offering plate, not keep it for myself. I felt like I didn’t deserve to have money or nice things because God would be unhappy with me if I didn’t give them to Him. I want and choose to believe God is a LAVISH God. I think of how I want to bless my children and grandchildren at Christmas and then multiply that many times over to think about God’s generosity and lavishness towards HIS children. For me, it is a slow un-doing process of things I was taught – the strict, frugal culture I was raised in – and my own self-talk. I’m so glad you were able to feel JOY and GRATITUDE as you paid the bills. Thank you for your writings – I always enjoy reading them.
Barbara, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so grateful for the awareness you have of the deep love of God and such a great parallel to that you have for your own children and grandchildren. It’s a battle to grow out of the mindset in which we were raised in. Often I’ve found it’s a forward and backwards walk. I’m encouraged to hear your own process and again to see that so many are still learning the nature of God’s abundance. Peace and care to you!
Reblogged this on Anna Marie Smith.