Attitude of Lack – Removing the Belief System
Our words have power and our beliefs have power over our lives. The bible is clear about this: “The tongue has the power of life and death…” Proverbs 18:21 and “For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7
Recently someone prayed over my husband and I about living in God’s abundance and not receiving a spirit (or attitude) of lack. While we by no means have a bottomless bank account I never think of us as being in lack. Our bills are paid, the refrigerator and freezer are full, the temperature has been in the single digits and our house is cozy and full of warmth. This is the abundant life that God has given to us! Yet when this was prayed over us I felt the Lord shoot a small arrow of conviction into my heart. This caused me to spend some time praying and seeking Him about an attitude of lack. As I asked God to search my heart in this area the results were surprising.
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” Psalm 139:1
The bible says that he who hates his brother or sister has already committed murder in his heart. (1 John 3:15) This demonstrates to us that sin is sin in God’s eyes and none of it can stand in light of His holiness. It also sheds light on the idea of principles. The principle rather than “do not murder” is “do not hate” because out of hate other sins stem such as murder.
While on the outside I do not see any way that I have invited or opened the door for my heart to be twisted by an attitude of poverty and lack, I began asking the Lord to search my heart for any beliefs that would open the door to greater problems of lack down the road. A small belief of lack in my mind now could result in bitterness, separation from God, idolatry, suffering, even poverty in the future. As I studied the topic and spent time on my knee (not yet plural!), God was gracious enough to shine the truth on my heart so that transformation could begin within.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” Deuteronomy 8:10
Lack is defined through several phrases in the dictionary. It is described as “missing something” and being “deficient in” something. When there is absence of something needed, desirable, or customary we consider ourselves in lack. Lastly, Dictionary.com describes lack as: To fall short in respect of.
Lynne Twist in her book The Soul of Money writes:
“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next tone is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of….Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something.”
“ Scarcity is the ‘never enough’ problem. The word scarce is from the Old Norman French scars, meaning ‘restricted in quantity’ (c.1300). Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. Everything from safety and love to money and resources feels restricted or lacking. We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs and wants.” (Brene Brown in Daring Greatly) Throughout this book she goes on to state how shame for not “having enough” is heaped on us and heaped on others by us through comparisons and many other forms.
One way in which I have invited an attitude of lack into my life is by worrying. Whenever I worry I am in parallel with the principle idea saying: “God is not in control of this, He is falling short in respect of…, there is something I need that I am not getting from God.” As I began to think of the different ways in my life that I worry and think about things in a worrisome state I realized that through worry and not acknowledging God’s control of those areas I had invited the idea of scarcity into my life.
“24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:24-26
When I would worry about my husband driving tractor and trailer I was essentially saying, “God you are not enough to take care of my husband as he drives”. When I would worry about the fact that we do not have our own children yet I was saying, “God is not providing something desirable to me, I am without and He doesn’t care”. On days that I had been frustrated with having one leg and began to worry about not being able to take care of myself I invited lack into my life by thinking: “God isn’t going to take care of me, He may not give me what I need.” All of these are very simple examples of ways that we can invite a heart attitude of lack into our lives.
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2
As we give up the reins and allow Jesus to reign on the throne we can surrender our worrying and accept the peace and the grace freely given to us. It is time for us to confront the fact that God is in control and we must trust Him with our concerns and not enter into suffering through worry.
As I began to lie all of these things at the foot of the cross I felt the Holy Spirit telling me there was more. That night I had a dream: I was in my home and we had company. In my dream I was telling the people everything wrong with the house and telling them that “we don’t have what we need here” and in response the people in my home were telling me what they needed in their life as well. As I was speaking this in my dream I remembered that there was an entire suitcase of money in my dining room. I remembered this but because I was scared that I would need all of that money for myself I simply continued agreeing with the company about the lack all around us. Suddenly I felt I needed to stop agreeing and start saying out loud, “HE IS ENOUGH, HE IS ENOUGH, JESUS IS ENOUGH!” in my dream and as I did this the entire conversation in the room shifted and changed as people began joining in praise about the things that we DID have to work with.
When I awoke I prayed about this dream and felt so strongly that the Lord was revealing to me the next area of my life that I had invited lack. Whenever we agree with an attitude or voice that we “do not have enough” we empowering this belief system. How many times do we voice to others or say, “If I only had X I could… (Complete this project, get this job, make this money, give to others, quit this addiction, etc.)” ?
This belief system is inviting a spirit of lack into our lives! Whenever we agree with negative and scarcity thinking that we do not have enough in our lives we are agreeing with the Father of Lies (Satan) and inviting the lie that there is not enough and God is not in control. We are agreeing in shame that we are not worth God’s provision.
“Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
The truth is everything we have is everything we need. It may not be what we want but God has given us what we need. Do you feel like we should bless someone with money? Give it whether you feel like you need that money in your pocket or not. God will bless you with replacement! No matter how little we have in materials we can still live in abundance.
When training me to help in Children’s Worship Jessica Hostetler told me that the leaders consider snack time a “feast” and refer to it as such to the children. Even though it may only be one handful of goldfish or pretzels per child, she explained, it is not about how much they have it is about the fellowship around them that makes it a feast. To me, this demonstrates abundant living in its fullest. Whatever you have around you right now you can live abundantly with. Begin to look with your spiritual eyes and allow the renewing of your mind in truth!
Chaos, Control, Codependence
Last I was shown another way in which I had invited an attitude of lack and scarcity into my life. In one of my other posts I discuss the three circles in life (Ours, God’s, Other’s) and how any time we reach out of our own circle we are inviting chaos/codependence and are out of line.
The Lord began to show me that when I try to control others by correcting or admonishing, changing people, or changing situations that are not in my jurisdiction to change I am inviting an attitude of lack. Not only am I out of line but I am empowering this belief through my own attempt to control something (or someone): “God you cannot change that person/situation I must change them/it.”
Do you have problems with your children? Don’t try to operate out of threat and fear because you are stepping out of your circle of jurisdiction to manipulate. Learn the ways of LOVE! (Bryan Post has excellent love-based discipline if you aren’t familiar.) Is your husband driving you nuts with something he does? Nagging will not help, dishonoring him to others will not help, and trying to change him will not help. Is someone you love going down a bad path of addiction and you feel it must stop? Becoming codependent and heaping guilt on them will not achieve your goal and if it does the result will be short lived. All of these situations are in God’s hands and only God can change the hearts of others! He may use us to influence in love but any time we step out of our “circle” we are inviting lack into our life.
You see, others do not exist to fill the needs within us. And we all have needs, we were created with needs of intimacy and relationship. But our children do not exist to make our lives run smoothly. Our spouses do not exist to keep us from feeling lonely. Only Jesus can fill the needs within us. Our children, our friends, our family, our spouses will never be enough to meet our needs in this fallen world. Of course God may use them in His way to meet needs for us but the source of our provision must be Jesus.
Keep God on the Throne
“ Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
It is so very important for us to keep God on the throne of our lives. To remember that we are mere stewards of all we are given and honoring God and His word accordingly is true respect. Remember, lack can be thought of as “something missing in respect of”. With the price Jesus paid on the cross there is nothing missing in respect of abundant living. There is no lack and there is nothing that we need being withheld from us.
Pray forth the things which we are called to ask for. Speak the good things into our lives and remember that what we have right now is enough for the task on hand.
“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
No matter what we have or what we need our trust is in Jesus. Jesus is enough. His sacrifice on the cross was enough. He sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven and brings provision to us, change to those around us, peace within us. Let’s shatter these false beliefs in our minds so we accept His provisions today and live in abundance. After all, HE IS ENOUGH!
“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10