If you live in fear of not having enough or you fear you are not enough, you have a poverty mindset. Sadly, I think that’s most of us.
The Good Old Days and Gas Cans
If you could choose, which would you do… Go back in time to any point in history or go into the future?
I don’t have to think twice. I’d go back in history to any number of times… I guess the one I’d choose right now is the Victorian era where I’d be an interior designer for gorgeous home. My little HGTV dream… (Did they let women do that stuff in the 1800s?) Anyway, I’d choose backward 99 out of 100 times.
What about you?
I know for me I assume the future is bad… And with good reason. The book of Revelation paints a picture of the end of the world with world-wide disaster, horrific death, and unprecedented persecution. The current political climate makes this picture feel very near. The apocalyptic movies keep coming.
And so there’s fear. Fear and hunkering down to care for my own.
Wikipedia cites no less than 14 different types of people groups who follow some sort of survivalist mentality. These preppers are collecting supplies in case of a natural disaster, an economic collapse or food shortage. The recent economic downturn in the economy created what some are calling a Third Wave of survivalists in the United States. The first two were apparently during the Soviet Arms Race of the 1980s and Y2K (1999.)
I get it. In 1999 I bought my husband red gas cans and balloons for Valentine’s Day… You can’t make this stuff up!
Pinterest is full of ideas on how to prepare for disaster and become self-sufficient. Collecting rain water, canning, living off the grid…
We live fearful that what we have will be taken from us.
Maybe we think if we cogitate about the future enough and plan enough we can avoid pain.
Just One More Thing…
The poverty mentality leaks into our homes through a precise plan of (media) attack.
We spend so much time with media. It is something we value highly and in exchange for using our media we watch advertisements… Lots of them.
For every one hour of TV we watch we sit through 14 minutes of commercials. Of course there’s the DVR, but still there are ads when we watch Youtube videos or that free game we downloaded on the phone. The ads show us what we are lacking. We get the idea there are things we are missing and if we had these things we could be happy.
In this case, just like the preppers there is the idea spending money can help us avoid pain. But here it’s more… this thing is needed so we can have pleasure. If we don’t have this thing that others have there is pleasure we are missing out on and we don’t want to miss out. We want to be included. And being included means we have what they have and have the pleasures we see others enjoy.
We are fearful if we don’t have this thing we will fail at having the level of happiness we see others experiencing.
Show Me the Money… In the Bible
The Bible has well over 2000 verses about money and here are a few. It talks about Christ being our treasure and the Gospel being our treasure and yet we are stuck in fear of the what ifs… and spend our money in ways that show we are simply trying to avoid failure or disaster. We spend our money in ways that show we are trying to buy happiness.
Our attitudes show our things own us when we bristle at our things being used by others. We don’t want to share. We don’t want to live generously because we are afraid we won’t have enough.
That’s a picture of the poverty mentality that’s readily visible. A picture that is not so easy to see is how the poverty mentality seeps into other areas of our lives…
I am Enough
Professor and author Brene Brown explains in her book Daring Greatly, “Scarcity is the underlying feeling that there is never enough money or success, but also love, security or peace which leads us to believe the lie that I am not enough. It’s what drives us to perfectionism and causes us to strive…”
We are afraid we cannot be active enough in church or volunteering at our kids’ school. We are afraid we cannot make our spouse happy enough. We are afraid we never clean the house well enough and our productivity will not please the boss enough.
We compare ourselves to others and find ourselves wanting. Occasionally it’s simply paralyzing.
“If you would only…”
“If you don’t do _______ the ladies at church will be disappointed in you…”
“You didn’t complete your to-do list, did you?’
We are clawing for assurance, driven by haunting voices in our heads.
We are hoping for acceptance by trying to avoid some vague label, “Not enough.” We live simply to avoid failure.
No Fear in Love
In our relationship with God we struggle to accept His grace and hear His voice instead of the voice of slave-driving-fear pushing us forward. Spiritual fruit may be poisoned by worry and complaining.
But as always, I believe love is the answer.
God is love and in Him we have no fear of punishment. Love can and should replace our poverty mentality.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. -1 John 4:18-19.
We do crazy wonderful things for love. We’re not worn out by love. We give and don’t hold it all for ourselves. Love buoys our attitude and motivates us because of a higher purpose. It encourages, not discourages us. It is content.
Are you ready to let love be your motivator and replace the poverty mentality? It’s a radical mindset shift, but let’s do this together!