Last week, we began The Abundant Life series, about overcoming a scarcity mindset. Today, we will discuss how gratitude is a powerful weapon in this battle against the “not enough” thinking patterns.
How often have you felt the cloud of “not enough” hanging over your life?
Here is the way the “not enough” cloud has blocked out the abundant sunshine of God’s provision on me in the past:
- Time to get it all done.
- Money for all I need or want.
- Clothing to look put-together.
- Food to keep me full and healthy at the same time (hello again, college-age me).
- Savings to cover the occasional life-storms.
- Connections to get the job I really want.
- Social power to have great influence.
- Patience to be a good mother.
And secretly, not enough…
- Faith to feel like God is on my side in this heavy-duty trial.
- Prayers. If I’d prayed more, it wouldn’t have turned out this way.
- Perseverance in long suffering.
- Performance to please others.
- Protection against mistreatment.
- Love to fill up my heart with a leaky hole at the bottom.
But now I see the lies in each and every one of those “not enough” shadows.
Now that I’m decades into my relationship with God and more acquainted with His ways, I see the abundant sunshine breaking through the “not enough” clouds. Here are the rays of truth I found:
- I see that God was always with me, even when I felt lonely.
- He was always giving me the physical items I needed, even if I couldn’t afford them, because sometimes others shared their abundance with me.
- God was, is now, and will always be available to meet my emotional needs.
- My heavenly Father sees me as more than enough. I don’t have to do or be anything else to earn his acceptance, because Jesus welcomed me into the family just as I am.
In the days where the “not enough” scarcity mindset cloud hung heavy over me, I lacked trust in God. Over the years he showed me how to build trust in him. The key to overcoming my scarcity mindset was gratitude for my current situation.
The power of thanksgiving
When I was about 18 years old, the book of Philippians changed me. I was ready to shed the depression and social struggles of my high school years, and put on a new mindset that was healthy and pleasing to God. This passage helped transform my thinking (emphasis added):
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:4-13 NIV
The lessons in Philippians
I meditated on this passage again and again. I thought about the apostle Paul’s struggles–the riots, beatings, death threats, imprisonment, even suffering without a coat for the winter. Yet his attitude was exemplary. By controlling the attitude of his heart, Paul was able to live the abundant life.
The golden thread running through this passage is thankfulness. Gratitude independent of circumstance. Gratitude for what is lovely, admirable, excellent. Even in a prison cell, Paul could be thankful for God’s grace to him. For saving him from a life of sin. God gave him the opportunity to spread the gospel to the Gentiles, and he was so grateful. Paul always found a reason to be thankful, even when his circumstances were tough.
“In,” not “for”
I began thanking God in everything, not necessarily for everything. A few examples:
- When I felt overwhelmed with chores as a mom of littles, I paused to thank God that I had clothes and dishes to wash and toys to pick up. The abundant mess pointed to an abundant family life.
- I thanked God in my painful relationship struggles, because I knew he was using them to grow my character so I could live a life of abundant faith.
- In our financial struggles, I thanked God for everything we did have, and he opened my eyes to our material abundance.
Now when I look over the “not enough” lists above, I see abundance instead of scarcity. God has helped me change my focus, and with practice, thankfulness has become a habit.
Recently my oldest son was complaining about something, and without really thinking, I pointed out a way he could show thanksgiving even in his trial. He said, “Mom, that’s easy for you. You are always finding something to be thankful for, even if it’s bad.”
His comment caused me to reflect. After decades inside a scarcity mindset, I had been transformed into a thankful person. So much so that my son said thankfulness is easy for me.
I thanked God in that moment for removing my scarcity mindset and replacing it with gratitude. The younger me wouldn’t have thought it possible. But everything is possible with God.
Join me in the coming weeks as we discuss powerful, practical ways to replace a scarcity mindset with God’s abundant truth.
Questions for you:
- Have you learned the secret of being content, as Paul describes?
- What area of your life is hardest to be grateful for? How does the Philippians passage help you?
- How has God changed your mindset to one of thankfulness?
If you liked this post, I would appreciate your shares on social media!
This post may be linked up at #momentsofhope, #dreamtogether, #glimpsesofhisbeauty, #lmmlinkup, #gritup, #tuestalk, #teaandwordtuesday, #raralinkup, #tellhisstory, #coffeeforyourheart, #coffeeandconversation, #sittingamongfriends, #encouragingwordwednesday, #messymarriage, #porchstories, #livefreethursday, #heartencouragement, #chasingcommunity, #tuneinthursday, #gracemoments, #saltandlight, #thankfulandgrateful, #dancewithjesus, #faithnfriends, #freshmarketfriday, #graceandtruth, and #faithonfire. I love the blogging community and consider these hosts my friends–please visit their sites and encourage them too!
Enter your email address to receive 5 Days to Greater Peace instantly!
* indicates required