An Open Hand

by Andrea Kolber


I have a confession. My default setting is scarcity. It's the gnawing feeling that there won't ever be enough; not for me and certainly not for you. It can infect any area of life including energy, time, money or love. 

Scarcity at it's core is a continual lack. The result is I must conserve, hoard, and worry. 

To be clear, when I say default I mean it still exists in me. By the grace of God, I don't daily live out of my default, but reader...it's still there. 

                                                                             ***

I often identify as a recovering perfectionist in my writing and in my work. It's not hard to make the connection between perfectionism and scarcity. Perfectionism fits in nicely (is there a sarcasm font?) with scarcity because it feeds the fear cycle that keeps perfectionism going. Scarcity yells, "Everything is terrible! You won't succeed! You are an idiot!" and perfectionism responds "Work harder, save more, you can't rest, obsess more!"

I confess this, not for your sympathy, but because of the way this truth pushes me to stand against my default. 

Here is what I'm noticing, as I let go of scarcity my hands are opening too. 

When I believe God is big enough for each of us, I can be generous. I can be confident I am not responsible for everyone or everything, but just this small plot God has given me. Instead of giving to others out of fear or guilt, I can bless others from hope, love and courage. Allowing generosity to be birthed in me creates joy.

I am reminded again and again there's enough.  

But reader, when I act out of fear to protect and manage my circumstances, I consistently watch how quickly my joy disintegrates.

Why is that? To be blunt, I don't believe it's about karma. I don't believe it's about a legalistic God who watches my every step and rewards me accordingly.

I do believe it's because "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18); that's who God is, the perfect representation of love. 

He is the quiet to my racing heart.  

He is the afternoon light that shines across my floor.

He is the calmer of my storms. 

And when fear is stilled, scarcity and perfectionism are silenced. I can see the blessings that are already heaped on me. I can see with new eyes that God is faithful. It may look different than I thought, but He's there. 

There is enough because He is enough. 

                                                                             ***

One of the most consistently generous people I know is my husband. It's astonishing how he gives.

Airport drop-off before the break of dawn? You bet. 

Extra pair of hands needed for a project? Absolutely.

You need to switch our time around? No problem. 

Many times in our marriage we have discussed how or when to sacrificially give, and I must confess that he is typically the one who wants to lavish generosity on others. 

Want to know what else is interesting about my husband?

He has fabulous boundaries; he's really good at letting his 'yes be yes' and his 'no be no.'

Isn't that something? Generosity and healthy boundaries are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I would argue the healthiest and most open handed people I know, are aware of their limits. I mention this because one piece that scares me about generosity is the feeling that I don't have a say; I just have to give. This belief is rooted in my family dynamics and history; what a transformation to learn that God honors who He made me with all the limits included. Whatever is lacking, He will fill; either from us or somewhere else. 

So as I consider my own journey through scarcity, perfectionism and all it entails, I am encouraged by a God who is infinitely enough for me and you too. And I am grateful for folks like my husband who model this truth. Even now, I can feel the freedom that comes when I unclench my fingers and open my hand. 

 

Linking up this week at: Intentionally Pursuing, Lisha Epperson and Holly Gerth