Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Do you believe you must do everything now rather than accepting that some things are yours to do now and some are meant to do later?
Do you believe you must do everything you’re asked or want to do rather than acknowledging that there are others capable of helping?
Do you worry about missed opportunities and fear that you won’t be asked to participate a second time or at a later date?
If so, it’s worth exploring how your beliefs affect the number of things on your to-do list.
We can engage in two types of thinking: scarcity and abundance. Scarcity thinking is based on the idea that there isn’t enough to go around (enough work, enough love, enough money), and abundance thinking trusts that there’s plenty. Because scarcity thinkers fear missed opportunities, they have a tendency to say “yes” to too many things in order to try to “store up” for the future. Abundance thinkers choose to believe that whatever they don’t grasp right now will be waiting for them at another time. They recognize that the opportunity might look different in the future, but they are willing to accept that.
Most of us are combined scarcity-abundance thinkers: Sometimes we believe there is enough to go around, and sometimes we fear there isn’t. Often, the things that matter most to us are the items that fall into the scarcity camp, such as the job we’ve been working toward for years or the man we’ve been searching for just as long. The fear that we’ll miss out creates an urgency that clouds our thinking and leads us to make poor choices, such as accepting new job responsibilities in the midst of caring for an ill family member or buying the house because “it’s such a great price” even though it’s beyond our financial means.
Do you believe there is plenty? Or do you operate under the assumption that you need to grab what you can for yourself in case there’s not enough to go around, or that you must grab it now while the opportunity is there? Though these are simple questions, understanding your answer can be complicated.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 assures us that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Life is a continuum of seasons, and though you may be rearing young children now and thinking you’ll never have another adult conversation or get out of the house without spit-up on your shoulder, those times will indeed come. Though you may currently feel trapped by the responsibility of caring for your husband’s ill mother, this too is a season. Some seasons are obviously longer, but in time, most pass.
Rather than feeling you need to do and experience everything now, learn to accept that you can grasp some opportunities now and save some for later. This thinking keeps us from piling so many items on our to-do lists and accepting so many responsibilities that we are severely imbalanced.
When we are way out of balance, we often created the unevenness in our lives to begin with. Of course, blaming others for doing so is much easier than accepting responsibility. We say things like, “I have to,” or “I have no choice,” when in fact we do have a choice. We just decide not to exercise it. The cycle continues as long as we let it. Only when we decide the future is going to be different can real change happen.
Jesus addressed scarcity thinking head on by asking, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27). Worrying that there won’t be enough or that the opportunity won’t be offered again doesn’t add anything to life; it takes away from it. Jesus assures us that the Father cares for us. When we rest in that thought, starting to think abundantly is much easier.
Abundance thinking makes it easier to keep life in balance. Instead of thinking, If not now, when? you think, If not now, later. Instead of thinking, If I pass on this opportunity, it may never come again, you think, If the opportunity doesn’t come again, it wasn’t meant to be.
Abundance thinking also leads you to believe that God will provide whatever you need to get through whatever you must. This knowledge, above everything, is one of the greatest weapons you have to add balance to your life.