Recently I listened to an episode of Michael Hyatt’s This is Your Life podcast, which was all about a scarcity versus an abundance mindset. As I listened to the podcast, I reflected on how much I had wrestled with these two opposing mindsets over the course of the last 12 months and how I was able to move from scarcity to abundance in my own life.
Almost a year ago I took a leap of faith and left my job in ministry to open a small business and pursue a career as a working artist. It was a tough decision for my husband and I to make—I would often agonize over the steady salary I’d be leaving behind… What would happen if my husband’s company had layoffs? Would we be able to move out of our townhouse like we wanted to? We were both driving 10-year-old cars, each with over 100,000 miles and I wondered about a host of expenses. Truthfully I had all sorts of doubts, discontented thoughts and failure fears, contributing to a scarcity mindset.
As it turns out, I made the leap anyway because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do. I was leaving a great job with awesome people, but it was over an hour from my house and balancing the commute and increasing demands of my job with a new marriage were taking their toll. In the months that followed my transition, I continued to struggle with fear after fear, even though I also had peace about this new career path I’d chosen.
The fact is, there were several things my husband and I had to sacrifice. My salary now was about half of what it used to be. We had to reconfigure our budget and most difficult of all, put dreams of moving to a larger home on hold. At this point I realized I had some decisions to make: Would I continue to live in fear each day about what the future could hold, or would I choose to enjoy where I was and see the blessings in my life? Would I focus on things I didn’t have and become bitter, or would I celebrate my present season and choose contentment? Would I worry about the what-ifs that might not ever come to pass, or would I take each day as it came and trust things would work out one way or another?
Making a choice to live each day on purpose with an attitude of gratitude and contentment gradually helped me to shift my mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Yes, I was making significantly less money, but there were so many more positives: I was doing something I loved, I was able to work from home (no commuting - yay!), and I had more time for things that were important to me, like relationships, my health and giving to others. I also developed a new appreciation for the many blessings in my life. I’d dreamed of a bigger home with more bedrooms and a larger yard, but now I was choosing to enjoy the space where I was. I even planted a hummingbird garden in my yard as a way of investing in my current townhome. I was learning to take the things I previously viewed as limits in my life and got creative about working with them.
As I think about this shift toward having an abundance mindset, I realize a big part of my ability to make the shift was shaped by my worldview that God’s got everything in His hands and is ultimately going to take care of me. This isn’t an excuse not to work hard or take responsibility in my life, but rather faith that I don’t have to worry about tomorrow and try to control everything. Even with this worldview, I still have to make a choice for contentment. A choice for joy. A choice for generosity. A choice for trust. A choice against fear and comparison and hoarding.
There are still days when I struggle with doubt and fear about what I’m doing and where life is headed, but I’m glad to say that they are fewer than they used to be. More than ever I recognize the importance of choosing to live on purpose, and making daily decisions for a lifestyle that is going to benefit both myself and those around me. As long as I continue in this path, I believe I will increasingly learn to think with an abundance mindset and enjoy the journey I’m on.