Never Enough: Thoughts on the Art of Scarcity

As the beginning of 2013 approached, I was feeling some internal pressure to write an obligatory New Years blog post… stating all the beautiful and not-so-beautiful moments of 2012 and then conversely all that I look forward to in 2013. And though I think reflection is incredibly important, I didn’t quite get that written in time. So in typical drive thru fashion, I’ll quickly state a few things that stuck out for me (and I’d love to hear some that stuck out for you too), and then move onto a topic that’s been heavy on my thoughts: scarcity. More to come on that in a second.

2012 Highlights (in no particular order):

1) A trip to Asheville, North Carolina: A city of activists… a place I’d love to end up.

2) Chopping off my hair: Having short hair is the most economical decision I’ve ever made. Saves time and hair product expense. And it helps me to not look so nerdy all the time. I can use all the help I can get.

3) Writing for BioLogos: A organization that explores the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith.

4) Shaking Anne Lamott’s hand

5) Hearing Ani Difranco sing “32 Flavors” live

6) The Our Emptying Church blog series, which has brought more joy to me than many other things in 2012.

7) Exploring the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with two of my favorite chicas in the world (and getting to reunite with a long lost friend).

8) Meeting the very cool and talented Chris Adams at a conference and later joining in on a Lifeway Women’s Generational Discussion, which taught me how productive graceful dialogue can be.

9) First reading Rachel Held Evans blog and then getting to have a conversation with her. What a beautiful, beautiful woman. I’m so thankful for her voice, which has given dignity to folks… especially women, encouraging and empowering them to love God and love people. Eshet Chayil!


10) Sitting down to many coffee dates with ministers who are working towards justice, peace, and love. And then having the privilege of sitting under their instruction.

So there’s a couple highlights for me though the list could go on and on… I have met some absolutely beautiful people in 2012.

Now I should probably dive into the obligatory New Years Resolutions, but I’d rather talk about something a little less discussed, but that I’d like to focus on big time in 2013. Scarcity. The feeling of never having enough. Enough money. Enough love. Enough time. Enough security. Enough success. Enough power. Enough perfection. We live scarcity everyday.

I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s new book about her research on vulnerability and shame, called: Daring Greatly.

Dr. Brown quotes Lynn Twist, a global activist who writes about scarcity:

“For me and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it…. Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something…. This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life” (The Soul of Money, p. 43-45).

We are very aware of how much we lack. Our culture, via the media, perpetuates unattainable visions of perfection and those pervade our thoughts and dictate our worth. I love what Brene says… which is, that we are comparing ourselves to fiction!

I think worrying about scarcity can take many different forms. Most obviously, we worry that we don’t have enough money. Maybe just as frequently, we worry about our physiques. But I think the elephant in the room may be that we worry about power. Does our church have enough power and political influence? How can we control culture? Will my children listen to me? How can I control the people in my life? How can I control my significant other? We relish control because it gives a false sense of security. Control makes us worried and scared and frankly, at one another’s throats.

Dr. Brown’s research shows that the counter-attack on scarcity is not abundance, but rather, wholeheartedness. The idea of living with vulnerability and worthiness, facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks while knowing deep down, that I am enough.

I want to make a clear distinction between fighting scarcity and being content with the status quo. There are some things in this state, this country, and this world that I am not and will never be content with, most of which include inequality, patriarchy, discrimination, and injustice. Regarding these things, I have no excuse to remain silent or content. However, I completely identify with Brene’s research. In 2012, I tried to cut out a majority of time spent on TV, news, the radio, and even movies because I felt a little bit angry about the images I was being fed. I was angry about the way the media portrays women’s bodies as objects, about how the news channels frequently feed hysteria, hype, and fear about anything and everything you could possibly imagine, about how video games and movies are incredibly violent and portray war as something glorious. I was angry about receiving subtle messages about how I should think or vote. Isn’t this my obligation to research, reflect on, and decide for myself? I was angry about the amount of time I spent listening to someone else’s fictional life.

It turned out to be a good decision for me. I plan on cutting back even more media in 2013 because I want to live. I don’t want to salivate at fictional representations of perfection and then claw my way through life trying to match them.

To define my worthiness by how I love, how I treat folks, how I listen to people who I disagree with, how I give up power and invite in vulnerability… these are the things I am interested in. I want to be able to accept that I’ll never be extremely wealthy, the most trendy chica on the block, or the best statistician in the bunch. I want to be content with that.

And I think it’s possible, with great intentionality and discipline, to slap scarcity in the face.


What are some of your beautiful 2012 moments? What are you resolved to do in 2013?

**If you’d like to check out Brene’s new book, Daring Greatly, here’s the link. I’d highly recommend it!

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Again We Defiantely Sing Alleluia

Tonight we are grieving the loss of brothers and sisters in CT. I don’t have any words to write, so I am reposting a piece that I wrote in July in response to the Aurora theater shooting. It is as appropriate today as it was that day.

LORD have mercy, Christ have mercy, LORD have mercy on us.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Defiantly Singing Alleluia

A week has gone by since the shooting in Aurora/ Denver Colorado and yet, I am still hurting. You see, I’ve spent the last week in Colorado… and the state and its people kind of grew on me.

I began to feel like the murders that occurred actually took place in my own backyard because when it comes down to it, I think Coloradans are my brothers and sisters too. And it still really hurts.

I came across a sermon from Nadia Bolz-Weber who is the pastor of The House for All– Sinners and Saints, a Lutheran congregation in Denver. She gave this stunning sermon two days after 12 people were killed in a theater. You can hear her sermon here.

She called the act “horrific, evil, senseless violence without a thread of anything redemptive about it.” And that despite the violence and fear, that it’s still always worth it to love God and to love people and always, always, it is worth it to sing “Alleluia.”

The night after the massacre, Nadia’s congregation gathered in a Denver bar to sing hymns to the Lord even as they were grieving. Amongst the singing, she heard a defiant tone in her congregation, a defiance that was the sound of a people who do not believe that violence wins. Their singing was an act of defiance against evil. Singing praises to God amidst violence and destruction. Putting evil in its place, saying it was here and it goes no further. That death and evil are not the final words. They sang alleluia.

If you listen to her sermon, the last seven minutes are of her congregation singing “Alleluia.” A group of Coloradans defiantly singing that evil does not win. Love does. God does.

It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in a long time.

Defiantly Singing Alleluia

A week has gone by since the shooting in Aurora/ Denver Colorado and yet, I am still hurting. You see, I’ve spent the last week in Colorado… and the state and its people kind of grew on me.

I began to feel like the murders that occurred actually took place in my own backyard because when it comes down to it, I think Coloradans are my brothers and sisters too. And it still really hurts.

I came across a sermon from Nadia Bolz-Weber who is the pastor of The House for All– Sinners and Saints, a Lutheran congregation in Denver. She gave this stunning sermon two days after 12 people were killed in a theater. You can hear her sermon here.

She called the act “horrific, evil, senseless violence without a thread of anything redemptive about it.” And that despite the violence and fear, that it’s still always worth it to love God and to love people and always, always, it is worth it to sing “Alleluia.”

The night after the massacre, Nadia’s congregation gathered in a Denver bar to sing hymns to the Lord even as they were grieving. Amongst the singing, she heard a defiant tone in her congregation, a defiance that was the sound of a people who do not believe that violence wins. Their singing was an act of defiance against evil. Singing praises to God amidst violence and destruction. Putting evil in its place, saying it was here and it goes no further. That death and evil are not the final words. They sang alleluia.

If you listen to her sermon, the last seven minutes are of her congregation singing “Alleluia.” A group of Coloradans defiantly singing that evil does not win. Love does. God does.

It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in a long time.