Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Combating the "If only's" and "Never enough's"

I just read a very interesting book for a freelance assignment. It's called Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by BrenĂ© Brown. She explores the United States' culture of "never enough," which I found fascinating. She hypothesizes that people in this country are suffering from a culture of scarcity, which is a culture "never enough." No one ever has enough of anything: never enough time, never enough sleep, never enough money, never enough power, and the list goes on forever. We just never have enough, period. 

The idea resonated with me because I catch myself trapped in the same cycle. I wake up tired and think "I didn't get enough sleep" instead of thanking the Lord for the sleep I was able to get. Many of my "never enough's" creep into my thinking as "if only's." I think to myself, "If only I made more money I could..." or "If our house was bigger I would..." Again, the list can go on forever, but the idea at the heart of it is the same. Nothing I have is enough. Why is that? 

I think if I look deeply it's because at times I lack faith and gratitude. When I forget that God provides me with everything I could possibly need, and then some, these feelings of not enough like to creep in. When I remember that he's the fount of every blessing, I don't struggle with these thoughts as much. 

Isn't it interesting what that loss of focus does to us? It's such a simple thing, too. We think it's harmless to dream about bigger houses or better cars, and it can be. But, when our heart is coming from a place of jealousy, envy, or discontent, those simple wishes become destructive. They can eat away at our peace of mind, cause dissension in our marriages, and make us short with our children.  

One passage helps me regain focus when my mind wanders into "never enough" and "if only" land. 
It's Matthew 6:31-34: "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." 

These verses have helped me through many a rough day, especially when I'm caught up in the "never enough" mentality. If we can simply remember that God provides all of our needs, we really don't need to worry so much about keeping up with others. He has never let me fall, and I have to trust that he is providing for my family's needs in all things.