Back in 2005, though I was living paycheck to paycheck in someone else’s home, yet all I was asking for was a restored marriage – for my husband to come back, to love me, to be willing to partner in life together.
Four years later, on my own with a dream to buy my own home, abundance would have looked like a savings account stashed with $40,000 so I could put a downpayment on a house with ease. I wasn’t wishing for a better-paying joy to afford the mortgage payments but rather the resourcefulness to think of creative ways to bring in payments.
Other years I would have asked her for the art of authentic persuasiveness so my ideas and red flags could be taken seriously – because I knew I could save my team a lot of grief if they could connect with what I could share..
Maybe you’d ask for your business launch to go well so the cash flow proves you have something valuable to offer the world – and so that you can finally be overflowing with generosity.
Or maybe you’d ask for inspiration and discipline to finish writing your book, or the resources and freedom to provide for your kids without sacrificing time enjoying them.
Abundance and scarcity mindset are buzz words nowadays, but what exactly are they?
I thought it was all prosperity gospel jazz or wealth attraction. But have since discovered so much richer and holistic than that.
You know what scarcity feels like. It feels like panic when the bill comes in that there’s no way you can pay in time.
It’s the punch in your gut when the one you love says he’s leaving… and then the tsunami of unpredictable emotions that come with rejection, loss and fear.
It’s the stress of juggling #allthethings to make life better for those you love when you’d rather live at peace, able to be generous with your time and resources.
It maxes out your margins, invades your dreams, undermines your self-worth.
Scarcity or lack simply means there’s a situation or perception of not enough of something.
Not enough love.
Not enough clients/customers for you.
Not enough worth.
Not enough time to get everything done.
Not enough room.
Not enough profitable ideas or content.
Much like the tiny mold spores emerging on homegrown tomato, scarcity in one area of our lives often affects all other areas of our lives. It affects who we are and how we show up in every area of our lives and relationships. It affects how we envision our future.
Since who we are and how we show up for others and ourselves is the very essences of your purpose, this is a crucial thing to figure out!
Abundance simply means there is more than enough of something.
Though I didn’t recognize it as abundance then, what I learned the hard way in my twenties set the greenhouse for blossoming in my purpose — authentically and intentionally through any circumstance.
During that first year my first husband left, some days it was just what got me through hour by hour, day by day. And some days I could smile as I saw hope building. Now I have the clarity of looking back and seeing it shape the way I lead, serve and grow as a mom, wife, entrepreneur, coach, small group leader, ministry team member.
If you’re feeling the darkness and stress of the valley of scarcity it’s probably not fun.
But I know you’re stronger than you feel or think. And you CAN be strong and resolved even while you feel weak, vulnerable and a mess. If fact, others might even see that strength and resolve before you do.
So let’s look at how to blossom in purpose so you can expect beauty and abundance along your #madeformore journey.
1. Consider What Abundance Means In Your Life…because your present doesn’t have to be your future
When my first husband left me at age 26, a dear mentor kept quoting a Bible verse to me. It was something God spoke to the Israelites when they had experienced complete devastation of crops and livelihood in their country four years in a row.
With faith and fervour, she told me, “I’m praying that “God will restore the years that the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).” At the time I was grateful for her prayer because I needed her faith for what I couldn’t see. All I wanted was my marriage to be the restored. I wanted life to be fixed. I wanted to not feel the pain of rejection or the shame of a failed marriage.
Thirteen years later, she smiles as she hugs me when we see each other in the church lobby. “I prayed that God would restore the years that the locust has eaten, and look. You have a new loving husband who takes good care of you. And an adorable, healthy daughter.”
I’m so grateful for them, too, but I’ve been enriched with much more than that from those valley years. I have deep empathy for anyone who’s been rejected or unloved. I have the resolve and strength to walk through pain and crap with dignity and grace.
Instead of being quick to judge when someone hasn’t met their own or others’ standardsI’m moved with grace and curiosity to understand how they got there and how they might be willing to use it to blossom their purpose. I value love and understanding so much more. I take myself and my mistakes much less seriously. Without those qualities and deepened values, I would not be able to make the impact through what I’m called to do.
Do you need to receive the promise of what “restoring the years that the locust has eaten” might mean in your life? This beautiful article might help you understand the scope and hope of what you can believe in.
2. Master Your Emotions… because they sure want to manage you
I understand the deep pain and shame of life not turning out the way I had wanted. I also experienced how quickly the downward spiral of emotions can slide you into despair and depression.
The pain of rejection slips into the reminder that you weren’t loved, which twists into the lie that you aren’t lovable or worthy of love, which descends into a dark pit of anger, resentment, hopelessness.
Anger turns into resentment which descends into bitterness – and becoming an ugly version of yourself you never wanted to be.
Jealousy over other peoples success (their marriage, their kids, their flourishing business, book or ministry) distracts you from your own story and success.
Shame of failure or not measuring up slips into covering up, hiding or loss of momentum, which slips into self-betrayal, which slides into self-hatred and hopelessnes.
The emotions of a valley are very real and it won’t help to ignore them.
But as exhausting as it is to lot let your thoughts and emotions take you for a ride, it’s way more exhausting to dig yourself out of the pit. If landing at the bottom of the pit is where you’ll get your wake-up call, by all means, get there as soon as possible so you can deal with what you need to experience abundant life again.
If you want to save the emotional detour, there’s a better way. It won’t be easier or less painful. But it is simpler. It means filling your heart with the what you what the overflow to be.
Back then abundance in my leaky cup meant constant inflowing of love, hope and truth.
I craved love those first few months of my unexpected separation. Not in a typical unhealthy escaping way. But there some days I didn’t want to socialize but I did feel a deep need to hang around people who I knew were loving to each other or who I knew accepted me. I consciously chose to be around them instead of isolation to show my brain truth when it wanted to believe lies.
When you’re at the top of your game, self-care is good maintenance. But when you’re feeling the desperation and haunting of scarcity in anything, it’s a darkness that easily spreads if you don’t protect your heart. A manicure for a little self-care isn’t going cut it. You’re going to need soul-care to movee from surviving to thriving.
3. Redefine What Your Circumstances Mean …and save years of regret and wasted energy
You’re thinking, “Nice thought, Emily. But my emotions have a mind of their own and trying to master runaway thoughts and emotions is exhausting.”
I get it. It’s definitely not a quick fix.
It’s a daily discipline. Sometimes an hourly discipline. There were days I didn’t get anything done because all my energy was spent distracting my thoughts with books and rewriting the story in my head just to master my emotions.
The emotions of scarcity still sneak up on me as I write, juggle the important things in my life, and reach out to people I feel called to help. But with practice, I’m quicker at shifting into an abundant peace of heart because one one secret I’ve learned:
Our emotions are attached to the meaning we give events and expectations.
Here’s an example: When I was single, living in an apartment, every summer I needed to put in a window air conditioner. It was too heavy to lift on my own. And every summer it was a reminder that my marriage had failed because I had to figure it out on my own. The first time, I moped for a week, wondering all over again, “What is wrong with me?” Resentment and anger built up. But then I shook it off and asked a different question: “How can I make this an adventure? How can I be proud of this moment.”
So I grabbed a stool and my favourite sturdy old desk chair with wheels. I lifted one corner of the AC unit onto the stool, tipped it up, and leveraged the next corner onto the chair. Then I wheeled the chair over to the window, and used a few more leveraging tactics to heave it into the window.
And I was dang proud of that moment! Especially when my friends came over and thought I was nuts for doing it all by myself.
So where can you start shifting the meaning you are attaching to situations and events in your life? At first, you might not recognize it. But your clues are…
1. Look for peaked emotions. What roused that emotion?
2. What was the thought or expectation behind that emotion?
Examples: “It should be this way…”Why can’t they just…?”, “I can’t believe…”
3. Ask: what are the facts? What’s the truth here?
If you have trouble recognizing it, think of a few very different people you know well. How would see see this? Or how would you see this in different circumstances? If they would see it and respond differently, than the situation itself is neutral but the meaning that’s been attached to it has made all the difference.
4. Then brainstorm 5 ways you could see this differently by asking these questions:.
If this situation is an exercise preparing my character for my calling, how can I change/grow in this?
What can I learn from this so I can respond or manage it differently next time?
What would I want my child/loved one to learn from this and respond?
How do I want to see this as an adventure story I’ll tell someone later?
Who can help me see this or respond differently?
4. Determine Your Fruitful Focus…because where you focus progress flows
What you focus on matters. How you focus on it matter.
To be ready for abundance means on some level you’re living off faith and hope, but only if you choose something wise and fruitful to focus on.
You end up where your focus is. My daughter is learning to ride her bike. When she heads towards a tree or the deck or off-course, she doesn’t steer away. She keeps moving towards it because her eyes are fixed in it, as she tries to coordinate the messages her brain is telling her.
You’ll get somewhere new in your #madeformore journey by carefully choosing the people who surround you.
By choosing your path and getting off the couch and getting started. By putting one foot in front of the other.
By creating a plan, marking out your baby steps, celebrating your wins.
By filling your heart with the things you’re already grateful for. The little moments, memories. Your beating heart. The people who have loved you. The skills you have that have helped some. The smile you have that can make someone’s day.
If your focus is your struggle, you’ll stay stuck in your struggle. If you focus on your new destination, the details of how you get there can shift and change to facilitate the best way forward.
So how do you get started?
Begin by focusing on and taking action in these core questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you stand for? What will you not compromise, no matter what?
- Whose are you?
- Whats the bigger story you’re a part of? You are part of a family legacy. You are a part of God’s story – something much bigger. You are part of a generation that will one day pass on the baton to another generation. If this is your current reality, where can you go from here? And how will you get there?
Rise up, #MadeforMore Dreamer.
There’s more for you. There is abundant life waiting for you.
To start preparing for your abundance, join me in a 4 Day Dare to Blossom Challenge to create your growth plan that will increase your capacity for abundance. We begin Aug 19 – learn more here. I hope you join us!