Sufficiency

When you nurture and nourish what you do have and begin to make a difference with it, it expands before your very eyes. In other words, what you appreciate appreciates. This is true prosperity.            –Lynne Twist

In an attempt to bring my financial life in line with my beliefs and values, I’ve been reading The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.  Twist posits that the mentality of scarcity is a modern scourge affecting rich and poor around the world; when we believe we don’t have enough and act from that place, we damage our souls, but when we recognize the wealth of our resources, be they internal, relational, or financial, and act from a place of sufficiency, our generosity and health ripples out into the broader world.

Early in her book Twist tossed out a side comment:  Our scarcity-mentality around time is just as damaging as that around money.  Her words jolted me awake.  I know my perpetual feelings about not having enough money have no basis in reality.  They’re the result of being steeped in a culture striving for more.  I’m confident that with hard work and some financial planning I can move into an attitude of sufficiency around money.  But time?  I never have enough time.  For every activity I find time for in a day there are ten that go ignored.  For every project I accomplish I’ve ten ideas that never get developed.  For every friend I visit ten get neglected.  No, I don’t lust after my neighbor’s Camero.  I lust after time.

So what began as a plan to straighten out financial priorities has become a major personal challenge.  How do I—how does anyone—live from a place of sufficiency?  How do I trust I have enough time to create the changes I envision for myself and the world?  How do I rechannel the energy I currently spend on longing into appreciation for what I have?  “Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day,” Jesus teaches.  Really he’s saying, “Have faith!”

Jesus and Twist both invite me to inhabit the time I have, the money I have, fully, right now, without allowing myself to be distracted by longing.  What I appreciate appreciates.  Perhaps one day my sense of sufficiency will become one of abundance.

–Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew