One of the other recurring themes during prayer at my silent retreat in Demontreville last month was scarcity versus abundance. This time of year—with summer winding down, school and activities ramping up, days getting noticeably shorter and cooler, and trees suddenly changing color—it’s easy to slip into a mentality of scarcity.
Not enough time.
Not enough money.
Not enough help.
Not enough of me to go around.
Of course, when we are feeling stressed in this way, it is appropriate to turn to God in prayer for help—but when we start with a mentality of scarcity, it is easy to slip into a spirituality of scarcity, in which our prayer is focused on what we lack and forgetful of all that we have. We become anxious about the present, worried about the future, and instead of asking for the peace, patience, wisdom and perseverance to get through the present moment, we beg for relief or escape.
I fall into this trap often, and this August has been no exception. On the home front, I knew I would see less and less of my children as school, University of Mary and NET Ministries took them away from home—so I wanted to spend as much time around them as I could. Of course, we are moving into the busiest time of the year at work, as well, requiring me to be at Saint Andrew multiple evenings and weekends each month. We are now two weeks out from the start of Faith Formation classes and still looking for additional volunteer support, and this week I learned that certain of our materials for this year had not yet shipped.
I can feel it as I write this—the pressure in my chest as the calendar constricts around me. I can’t possibly do this. Not enough time. Not enough help. I want out.
But the truth is that I still have two full weeks of work, and new materials and volunteers arriving daily. And it’s not as though I am sitting here with nothing to do. In fact, I am busy enough that I would not have had time to sort materials over the past two weeks—and yet I had just enough flexibility in my schedule to visit my folks in Michigan, see my sons off to college and NET, and see my younger kids off to school yesterday.
A wife, five kids and a dog.
A steady job and a roof over our heads.
So much I’m called to do.
So many interests and ideas.
So many people to meet.
So many opportunities to bless and be blessed.
I’m dealing, not with scarcity, but with abundance. I am, as Chris Stefanick says, struggling to manage my blessings—and that is a great problem to have!