Several years ago, my colleagues and I read and discussed the book, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. Among other things, this book introduced me to the concept of scarcity and abundance.
With regard to money, I immediately recognized myself in the model of scarcity. Despite the fact that my husband and I are very employable and we manage our money well, two of my greatest fears in life are related: Job loss and running out of money. Questions like these haunt me: What if we both lose our jobs? How will we survive? What if one of us gets sick? How would we pay the medial bills? What if Doug dies? How would I ever manage our mortgage alone? Regardless of how much money we make or save, I feel as though it's never enough.
As it turns out, however, this scarcity model also shows up in other areas of my life. Take, for example, my very well-stocked pantry. I buy food as if tomorrow, there will be none left in the grocery store. Sometimes this happens inadvertently: I buy items for a dish that, due to an unexpected schedule change, never gets made. The problem is, rather than make the dish the following week, the items tend to linger in my pantry and die a slow death.
Other times, this happens more intentionally. There are certain seasonal items that I adore like pumpkin. Each fall, when pumpkin returns to the shelves, I begin intentionally restocking my pantry. Now, perhaps this is good sense. It insures that even in July, I can make pumpkin cake, bread, or soup whenever I crave it. The problem, however, is that no matter how much pumpkin I have, in my mind, it's never enough. As with money, I worry, What if I my supply were to run out in August even though it won't be back on the shelves until October? Then what would I do?
More recently, I even noticed this way of thinking on the ski slopes. While vacationing in Canada over the holidays, my husband and I skied at Lake Louise. It snowed the night before, so when we arrived, there was freshly groomed powder on the trails. The crowds were the lowest we saw all week. The weather was perfect and the sky clear, allowing us to stare in awe and wonder at the mountains surrounding us. We both skied well and I was smiling and laughing like I haven't in a long time. In fact, at one point, I felt like I was Billy Crystal in City Slickers , when he finally finds his smile again while herding cattle across a river in Colorado.
The day was so perfect I didn't want it to end. Yet, the reality was that after several runs, my midwestern legs turned to jello. Even so, I struggled with stopping. I wanted to milk the day and the experience (as well as my costly lift ticket) for all it was worth. Saying “I've had enough” felt like failing.
But eventually, I said “Enough.” After I did, I walked around taking photos. I people watched. I sat in the lodge and read What Alice Forgot . We walked across Lake Louise, frozen over in all its winter glory. We ate at a fabulous restaurant called Tapas .
And you know what? Even though I stopped skiing before the lifts closed, before I got “my money's worth”, it was enough. More than that, the day was, in every way, perfect.
In reflecting upon these experiences, I finally settled on my one word for 2014: Enough.
This year, I want to learn to trust that even on the busiest of days, there is enough time.
I want to relish individual moments, even when they don't go exactly as planned, trusting that they will be enough, or maybe, as with Lake Louise, they will even turn out to be more than enough.
I want to bravely admit “I've had enough” whenever I've actually had enough.
I want to practice extravagant giving, trusting that even then, I will still have enough.
I want to grow in my self-confidence so that I can honestly confess, “I am good enough.” And on the days when I feel weak and overwhelmed, I want to draw closer to God, who is always enough.
In short, this year, my prayer is to learn to live as though who I am and what I have is enough.
This post is part of a synchroblog on “New Beginnings."