Giving Up the Scarcity Hustle

As we approach the year mark of the pandemic changing our lives and shutting down schools and churches, I’m reminded of the reflection from Bronnie Ware a palliative nurse who shared the regrets and wishes of her patients. There were no mentions of having more or having bigger houses rather her patients’ number one wish was: “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Our thoughts and our decisions race throughout the day as soon as we wake up. Beneath those thoughts are core beliefs and understandings about the way the world works that drive our decision-making. For a long time, one of my core beliefs was that there wasn’t enough. This belief drove my decisions to save or buy more when I already had enough, more than enough. This core belief drove me to ignore the call to help my neighbors in need because there were other people who had more resources than I had and could help them more.

This is a scarcity perspective and capitalism thrives on it.

I’m giving up the scarcity hustle.

I’m giving up the idea that there isn’t enough to go around when in reality the amount of storage units Americans pay for each month is three times enough to house all of our nation’s homeless populations. I’m giving up the idea that what I can give is not enough to make a difference in someone’s life when $5 or food can change a person’s entire day.

Sarah Bessey in her book Out of Sorts says:

Scarcity tells us to work until we drop. We’ve got to hustle, hustle, hustle to get ours and then to keep it. But in the liturgy of abundance, we can practice Sabbath. Exhaustion and burnout are symptoms of our fear of scarcity, but wholeness, joy, and rest are hallmarks of a life lived within abundance.

Not only does scarcity lie to us about how we can change people’s lives but it also wears us out because we are trying to work ourselves to death and don’t have time or energy left over to think about our neighbors in need. We don’t have time to reflect and set intention about where and how we are spending our time and resources because we have to hustle, hustle, hustle.

When we slow down and rest, reflection quickly follows. We reflect on the number of people who are food insecure in our country, our neighbors, children, single working mothers. As we reflect, we choose rather than react. When we choose rather than react, we realize there is more than enough and we begin to reach out. When we reach out, we begin to connect people to resources.

And rather than spinning our wheels hustling, we start to spin a new way to live and a new way to be community together.