All the snow and ice from Christmas Day brought with it power outages. Those were less than delightful. Seventy percent of Little Rock suffered some kind of outage. By some weird fluke, we never lost power.
I am plagued with an overactive sense of guilt. I was sure that if we didn’t share our good fortune then God would take it from us. Also, more than once, my family has been left vulnerable to the elements. Without a safety net of friends, I really don’t know what we would have done. We have a home today because friends helped us after a tree fell on our house. Charlie and I feel compelled to pay it forward.
So we began reaching out to friends we knew were without power, starting with those who didn’t have family nearby, offering our home with its’ fancy power sockets and functioning heater for them to use. Some friends took us up on the offer. They agreed to ignore my poor housekeeping.
We explained to Jackson that people would be staying with us because they didn’t have electricity and we did, so we were going to share. He was a little confused, “How many electricities are we going to give them?” We explained that power is something you have or you don’t. So the “share” would be just letting them be in our home and making them comfortable as guests.
At that moment I had a huge revelation. I struggle with what fancy academic researchers call a “scarcity mentality.” It’s a fear of not enough: not enough sleep, not enough time, not enough money, not thin enough, smart enough, funny enough, NEVER enough. I try to tap dance fast enough to be what I think other people need and want for me to be. It’s exhausting. Every few months, I give myself a good talking to. I remind myself that I am enough and pledge to stop the “Please love for all this stuff that I do” shuffle. But old habits die hard.
I read a quote from Lynn Twist recently. While it rang true to me, I also had a hard time wrapping my brain around what it really meant in my life.
We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.
And it all finally clicked. I couldn’t understand sufficiency in any context other than quantity until we talked about how many “electricities” we would share. Sufficiency isn’t in kilowatts. It’s in clean sheets, a hot shower and the ability to relax for a few hours.
Sufficiency is all around me. It’s been granted to me over and over again. It’s in the faces of my family and friends who show up when I need them. It’s in the worry lines on Charlie’s face when he sees me pushing too hard, and fussing at me to go to bed because it really doesn’t matter if some of this stuff gets done. It’s in the laughter and imagination of my son, who puts toys and trinkets under my pillow as treasures for me to find. I just have to sit still and rest in the sufficiency. It’s always there. It’s always enough.