For the past month, I’ve been reading a book that has been rocking my world. (And, yes, I said month. I have two small children and I’m basically relegated to reading while I’m sitting in the bathroom with my almost-three-year old, waiting for her to do her business. It’s a glamorous life, y’all.)
The book is called Nothing to Prove and it’s written by Jennie Allen, who is the founder of the IF:Gathering. The book delves into the idea of being “enough”, and how that lines up with Biblical principles. It’s basically a perfectionists 12-step guide to recovery (it’s not exactly 12 steps, but you get the idea). It is exactly what my soul has been needing – each and every word jumps off the page at me and I find myself highlighting the pages furiously, desperate to retain the freedom that it’s speaking into my heart.
But one of the most recent passages I read not only jumped off the page at me, it then proceeded to slap me in the face and say, “Do you get it now?!” And I do. I do get it. So let me do my best to share it with you.
In this chapter, Jennie is talking about her son, Cooper, whom she adopted from Rwanda. At the time he was adopted, he was the oldest child at the orphanage. He’d spent his entire life there and watched child after child get adopted, all the while being left behind. But Jennie says that when she asked Cooper if he ever thought that he might not get a family he replied, “I knew you were gonna come, Mama.” He always had the vision of being adopted. He always believed that his time would come.
“If you and I could hold on to a clear vision and hope of a secure home and a God coming for us, I believe it would rest and still our fearful self-protective hearts. Why do we struggle to believe that Jesus has come for us? Why do we keep checking out with distractions and addictions? Why do we hold back from all that God wants from us? Even if we are doing some of it, why do our hearts so often feel discouraged and downtrodden, worn thin? Why, if we really believe that heaven is coming and it’s not that far away?”
As I read these questions, I found myself answering them all the same: “I don’t know.”
When we look at Jesus’ miracles in the New Testament, they SCREAM the message of abundant life. When he turned water into wine, he made sure there was more than enough for everyone. When he met the woman at the well, he offered her water that would satisfy her thirst FOREVER. When he bid Simon Peter to cast his net into the sea, they caught so many fish that their net was breaking. When he fed the 5,000, there was so much left over that the disciples each had a basket full to themselves.
When Jesus steps in, there is always ENOUGH.
But, unfortunately, we’ve been trained to live with a scarcity mentality. In the natural world, we grow up being told there’s a limited amount of resources: things, money, success. Whatever it may be, we’re told there’s not enough to go around. We have the mindset that “blessing” lives inside a 10-gallon bucket, and if she gets some, that means there’s less that I can get. Or if I use up all of God’s grace today, there will be none left for tomorrow. It leads to feelings of hopelessness, jealousy, and worst of all, bitterness.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)
His grace is not only sufficient, it’s unlimited. So instead of focusing on all that we DON’T have, we need to shift our perspective that all that God DOES have. Blessings, grace, mercy, love, abundance. He is the purveyor of all these things and more, so I don’t need to try to obtain them on my own. As a matter of fact, that scripture above tells me that the more I’m willing to admit my shortcomings, the more he can display all his power in my life. I don’t have to try and beat you out for the blessings of God, I just have to beat out my own ego. That part of me that wants to be enough all on my own.
The scarcity mentality is not one that’s meant for a son or daughter of the Most High. He came to bring us – ALL of us – abundant life (John 10:10). He has unlimited blessing buckets for each of us and He’s eagerly awaiting the moment that He can cover our weaknesses with more than enough to go around.