“I am not good enough.” “I am not skinny enough.” “I am not strong enough.” “I am not fit enough.” “I am not healthy enough.” “I don’t get enough sleep” “I don’t have enough time.”
I have never met a living soul that didn’t have thoughts like these. It has plagued our world from creation. When Adam and Eve were given everything they needed, they still wanted more. What they had was not good enough, which is why the serpent so easily tricked them to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They wanted more. They wanted to be like God. It has been apart of our broken human existence ever since. Today, we experience the world through the lens of not enough the moment we wake up. Have you ever thought ‘I didn’t get enough sleep’… How about when you are getting ready to start your day and you look at your schedule. Has the thought ‘I don’t have enough time in the day today’ crossed your mind. These are thoughts that researcher Brene Brown call a mindset of scarcity. It is the mindset of worry about not having or being enough. The scarcity mindset is a dangerous perspective because it can lead to greed, lust, jealousy, and covetousness. But how does the scarcity mindset effect our decisions on health and wellbeing? How does it effect our beliefs of who we are and our identity, especially when it comes to stewarding our body in a healthy way?
In this article and in the next couple of articles I would like to explore the scarcity mindset and how it effects our identity and health decisions.
Let’s go back to the questions above. Never _____ enough. You can fill that in with whatever you want and you will still get the same scarcity mindset. At the root of all these statements are three components: shame, comparison and disengagement.
Shame is felt at the root level of these statements because it is the “feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” (Brown p69). Why do you feel you are not ____ enough? Is there a since of fear in being outcast because you are not enough? You may feel you’re not skinny enough to hang out with those people, or to work in that job. Or you may feel you’re not strong enough to be attractive to that girl. All of these thoughts have both shame and scarcity.
Comparison is another component that feeds into the scarcity mentality. It is the mental action of comparing yourself to others in a way that is self-defeating. This mental perspective is different from competing. When there is a competition there are two parties going for the same goal. But when comparing, you are trying to measure yourself to a person who is unaware. Also comparing might not direct you on a path that God wants you to be on. When you compare yourself, you are putting your eyes and focus on someone else’s achievements or personhood. As you focus on that person, you will in fact follow their path which means you are not following the path God has for you. This will ultimately hurt you in the long run. Not to mention you are not focusing fully who God made you to be.
Disengagement is the last component of the scarcity mindset. When you don’t feel like you have enough or are enough, it is only natural to conserve who you are and what you have. This is a problem because it limits you in who you are and what you can become. Think about it this way. People in the desert are going to conserve all the water they have. They are not going to take any chances or risks with their water. You are the same way when you have a scarcity mentality. Therefore you are not going to want to take risks in pushing yourself into all that you could be. So you might be holding yourself back from stewarding your health well or reaching your fitness goals. You can be your own worst enemy.
The scarcity mentality is a dangerous thing. It will hold you back from all God has for you. We will be diving into each one of these components in the next couple of articles but I would like you go ahead and start becoming aware of when you are hearing scarcity mentality statements. Aka: I am not ____ enough. When you hear these statements or even start to become aware of a level of self doubt that is rooted in these statements, try these things:
- Stewardship: Know that the scarcity mindset will take consistent awareness and work to overcome. The way to overcome the mentality of not enough is not by gaining more. It is by believing that what you have and who you are is actually enough. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Philippians 4:10-13 that God (the knower of all things) has given us what He deems enough. So we have enough, we just need to believe that for ourselves and steward what we do have to do great and amazing things with it.
- Worthiness: Now let’s talk about being enough… I am going to go logical on you. Why would God send His son Jesus Christ for someone he deemed as worthless? The act of sacrificing himself, is Jesus deciding that you are worthy enough to be saved and crucified for. Therefore you are deemed worthy and enough in the God’s eyes. Who cares what anyone else thinks. That’s my logic but here are some verses to back this up: Matthew 10:29-31, John 3:16-21. I would try internalizing this and believing that I am worthy and enough in God’s eyes. I can rest in that. I don’t need to be bogged down in shame, comparison or disengagement.
- Accountability: We all struggle with some sort of scarcity mindset, but it loses a lot of power when we talk to someone about it and especially when they can relate and walk with you through it. Do you have an accountability buddy or close friend that you can talk about your struggle of not having enough or being enough? If not, you might want to find someone. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Galatians 6:1-5.
In conclusion, be mindful of the scarcity mindset and how it might be effecting the way you think about yourself and your health. Be sure to check in for the rest of the series where we dive into shame, comparison, and disengagement and how that will effect your health journey. As always thank you for reading.
Brown, Brené. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. New York: Gotham Books, 2012.