I walk empty streets a few blocks from my home to sit on a funny wooden bench tilted back and shaped like a barrel at my daughter’s school. The seat is angled so my feet dangle off the ground. It makes me feel small, younger than I feel most days. The bench is in a garden recently weeded of tall bushes of lavender and mint that were growing out of control. It is calm here. Quiet. I swing my feet.
The sun is warm on my skin, the air a blanket of fragrance the breeze breathes this way and that. I let it cover me, drape over my shoulders and face and neck. I imagine the scents of heaven–of flowers and water and earth and rock. A biting sweetness. A fragrance of a million colors, a million voices composing one song.
My heart knows this song. And in this extravagance of beauty–of light and color and spring–I feel my heart pose a question: What if, right now, I lack nothing and live as if I believe it?
What if we lived believing we have everything we need? Even in our pain. Even in our discomfort. What if our view of our present circumstances, no matter what those circumstances are, has the power to propel us toward hope rather than despair?
The mindset of lack is dangerous. It produces fear, and it keeps the focus on ourselves rather than on what is true.
What is it we believe we lack? Personality? Beauty? Peace? Money? Good health? Fresh air? Love? Friendship? Joy?
When I remember that Jesus never felt fear–His trust and hope were completely in His Father–I remember He also never felt lack. God held nothing from Him. All His love. All His power. All His hope. All His joy. And Jesus knew it.
What I forget, by my attitude of wanting to trust in my own strength rather than in God, is that through the gift of Holy Spirit, God gives us these things too. In Him, we lack nothing.
Jesus prays, in the presence of the disciples:
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.John 17:20-22
Living with an attitude of lack produces fear. Living with an attitude of love produces fruit we are desperate for: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Here are questions I want to ask myself: Is my mindset one of lack or of plenty? Do I believe I have everything I need, despite my circumstances? Even if there are things that bring me sorrow? Even if there are things I wish were different? What do I believe I lack when things feel like they are not going my way? Do I believe God is holding out on me? Do I believe He isn’t enough?
Share a few words, in the comments below, describing your thoughts about the mindsets of lack or of love. And consider joining the kind poets of the Loop Poetry Project community this week and write a poem on one of these mindsets.
Share a story, flesh out a conviction. Use images to describe your mindset of lack versus a mindset of abundance. Talk about fear, worry, anxiety. Have a conversation with your heart and share it here. Listen close–praying for deeper awareness of your convictions as you write.
And then share your poem here, below, or in the Loop Poetry Project private Facebook group, or on social media, using the hashtag #looppoetryproject. I can’t wait to read what you write!
joining with you in hope,
*Here is a great resource you might want to check out: an on-line class I am taking with friends, taught by Jan Johnson, on ‘Living Without Lack.” A lot of my thoughts here were inspired by Johnson’s teaching–combined with the conversations about lack and fear that I’ve been having on Zoom, with dear friends!
Tell me your stories beginning
with the day you were born
and I am not talking about your physical birth,
the moment your wet body slid from
your mother’s womb—
but the moment you realized you were alive,
(whether or not you were wanted
whether or not you were held in trembling arms
a magical miracle of soft skin and boisterous cries),
but the moment you walked right out your door
beating heart and all
and realized there was no place you could ever go
wouldn’t follow you, swallow, you, turn
you inside out so you were always new and
dazzling and beautiful.
And this happens
every day, each birth: this being ravished
by a love that takes everything—
each birth a death more painful and
perfect than the one before.
There is no more crawling now.
No halfway/slipshod wondering
about your purpose
or your talents or if you are worth
much of anything at all
for you can’t be measured now,
your broken places sewen up with needles
or patched up with glue.
You are what freedom is,
bright star blazing blazing
fearless and wanted by you.
jennifer j. camp