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Scarcity Mentality

Updated: Feb 2

It’s the thing that screams, “nothing will ever be enough, I will never truly be satisfied, I will never get what I want!!” and leads us to be hopeless, expecting very little good and fearfully striving instead of seeking God. For me, a scarcity mentality has been an unhealthy coping mechanism used to get me through months and months of faithlessness, fear and feelings of inadequacy. It’s been a vicious cycle that really began to eat away at me when I returned home from university.

I felt completely underwhelmed by the prospect of living in my city. From the limited options of facial cleansing products in the stores (trivial, but oh-so-important), to the uninspiring employment opportunities, to the limited options of male friends who I thought had the potential to become more; everything just looked so lacklustre. I was looking for a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. A tunnel I alone was laying the bricks for.

No boy in my ministry was the right balance of godly, funny, quirky, intelligent and interesting. The average pay for a new hire was pathetic and the options weren’t quite what I had in mind for an alumnus of the best university in Africa.

Everything I wanted in the shops was either overpriced or non-existent. Things moved along too slowly. Nothing ever worked. The dust got into everything. Oh, and let’s not forget the load shedding! How was I to survive??... …Dear reader, I seek your indulgence as I sink further down into my hole of ridiculousness.

What I’ve come to realise is that, as I looked around, nothing was as I hoped. So, instead of looking at things through eyes of faith, trusting that I wouldn’t be here forever, and that I would meet someone who I genuinely liked (and who liked me back- that would be a bonus!), I focused on what I saw. I focused on the limitations. I chose helplessness over hopefulness. I chose escapism instead of doing my best with what I had been given. I chose ingratitude and comparison over gratitude and contentment.

And this is what a scarcity mentality does. It causes us to shift our eyes from what is actually important, faith and hope, onto our current circumstances. We can’t take comfort in knowing who God is and what He can do in our lives because we are so hung up on what is, what we see, and our perceived inability to change our current circumstances. Yet God is gently teaching us to make the best of what He has given to us. He is teaching us contentment, trust and obedience. He is showing us that He is indeed enough, He alone satisfies. He is beckoning us to remember that He works miracles, our desires and prayer requests are not too outrageous and that He can do ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Psalm 16 has been one of the most comforting passages for me when my thoughts have spiraled out of control in this way. It reminds me of the following:

God is my security; all He has set apart for me is secure. God is always before me; He will never abandon me. God is my delight; I have no good apart from Him.

I am training my mind and heart to reject the lies that cause me to sink into this destructive hole so that I can live abundantly; resting in God and being at peace because He is a good Father who wants to give me Good gifts. In His presence there is fullness of joy. His barns overflow with a bountiful harvest through every season.

By Mukuka Mapemba

Top Photo by: Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Bottom Photo by: Lazar Gugleta on Unsplash

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