Focus on Your Blessings, Not Your Troubles

The scarcity mindset is the ultimate deceiver. It wants you to dwell on everything going wrong in your life, causing you to miss out on all the blessings God has placed before you. 4word founder Diane Paddison shares her thoughts on the scarcity mindset and how you can train your brain to be positively grateful.

What is your definition of the scarcity mindset? Where do you think the scarcity mindset came from?

Scarcity is the desire for provision that is in short supply. The scarcity mindset came from the sin of the “love of money” versus a focus on God. In the United States, our basic needs and provisions are widely available, with many not-for-profits like The Salvation Army filling in where there are gaps.

What can the scarcity mindset look like in your personal life? In your work life?

Scarcity mindset manifests itself in always wanting more materially. Americans in general are huge consumers. At work, a scarcity mindset focuses on the lack of resources versus the abundance of resources God has provided. It is a lack of trust in God’s provision. Since I spend a lot of time on the fundraising side of 4word, I have a chance to see those with generous hearts who always give and never see it as a burden and even give before I ask. On the other hand, the opposite concerns me. I am so grateful for those generous people. It is really discouraging when I experience those who say they are passionate about our work and have been blessed financially, however, they have a hard time being generous. I really see a need for budgeting by person or couple so you are proactive about your giving versus SCARED to let go of what you’ve been blessed with. I think about the three wise men and how far they traveled to see Jesus instead of worrying about their safety, livelihoods, and keeping their gifts.

What is the opposite of the scarcity mindset? 

Those who see that all that they have is God’s and they are blessed to be given the opportunity to share God’s blessing are the opposite of scarcity mindset. I love it when people share their homes as if they are just stewarding God’s house. At work, I see it as those who see the opportunity to do what they do as God’s work. 

My daughter Annie, wishes she could “go to a job” each day, but her health condition keeps her from having one. When people visit and complain about their work, she finds herself thinking, “I wish I could have a job and you are complaining about things that aren’t very important at your work.”  The mindset of generosity that humbles me is a story found in Luke 21:1-4 about the poor women who gave a large portion of what she had . . From the offering of this poor widow, learn that what we rightly give for the relief of the poor, and the support of God’s worship, is given unto God; and our Savior sees with pleasure whatever we have in our hearts to give for the relief of his members, or for his service.”

How can we train our brains to operate in an attitude of gratitude, especially at this time of the year?

I have learned a lot over these past five and a half years with Annie being sick. I look back and realize that I took my family, my work, and my health for granted. In times of sorrow, I realize how blessed we are each day. I started writing a gratitude sentence on my computer each morning, so I could look back over time and see all of the blessings God has given us. Annie recently went for a month without being able to keep any nourishment in her body, and then we miraculously got into The Mayo Clinic in a week, got an accurate diagnosis, and she quit vomiting within four days of receiving the diagnosis and medicine. I was so grateful! Today, I count each day since October 1st as a blessing. I don’t know if she would be alive if that miracle wouldn’t have happened.

In everything, try to think about your blessings—not your troubles—and share your blessings this holiday season. It could be just spending time with someone who is alone like my friend, Norma, who I lost in May at 94, whom I was blessed to have dinner with every other week. You can help someone with something you are gifted at that they aren’t. For example, my son, Opie, blesses me by cleaning my espresso machine when he visits me. He and his wife, Laura, bless me by giving me time to be with my new granddaughter, Opal, almost every two weeks. Expressing gratitude doesn’t need to involve presents or money. Giving your time and talent are always huge gifts that are greatly appreciated by those in your life.