On the one hand I’m generally willing to give the shirt off my back to someone in need, or just to make somebody smile.
But on the other, I’ve always had some trouble sharing certain things, because what if this is all I get? What if I won’t get any more? What if this is my one chance to feel loved this way?
I remember one time when I was little my mom asked me if I wanted to get some ice cream, and at the moment, I really didn’t want any – I think my stomach already felt full. But I thought about it and thought I should just say yes because what if this is a one time offer? What if she doesn’t offer again? I’ll have missed it. So I said yes and got the ice cream.
This was not logical. There was always more ice cream. It was something deeper than that.
This is why I hesitate to get rid of things I don’t even like. What if I give away that piece of furniture that I hate? What if I’m never allowed to replace it with one I do like? What if I give away those clothes that I really don’t wear? Can I go buy more without guilt?
This is what’s known as a scarcity mindset. Fear of scarcity causes us to hoard – and I don’t just mean newspapers and trinkets. Sometimes people really are living in scarce circumstances, and so it makes more sense for them. But, outside of true lack, a hoarding tendency makes no sense.
I had this thought: I wonder if I’m hoarding grace. I’ve needed so much and I’ve drank it down like it was water in a desert. And I suppose, in a sense, that’s exactly what this is…because I’ve felt like I’m living in a wilderness for some time now.
Recently I was reminded of these words, which God spoke about Israel through the prophet Hosea,
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope.
After a time of cleansing discipline the Lord would speak tenderly to her. That’s always the goal of our trouble or discipline – to open our hearts and ears to hear His tender voice again. I’m not sure my wilderness was disciplinary, per se, but it’s sure been troublesome.
I think the problem is that as I’m drinking in grace, and tenderness, it’s leaking back out somewhere. I’m cracked (no jokes here, haha). Somewhere, there’s a leak.
If I can’t get my fill how can I pour it out for others? If I sense I’m a failure or that my weaknesses outweigh the good God can do in and through me, how can I respond in patience and kindness to my kids, who need that? How can I give grace to my husband?
How can I live with an open heart? How can I speak tenderly to those closest to me even when they’ve failed?
There’s no wrap up to this with the Big Answer. I know the answers, generally speaking. It’s the application that’s at issue.
I’ll say this, though. I’m thankful that the well never runs dry, because I’m never totally without a sense of His nearness and care for me. His grace doesn’t end. He keeps pouring it out as long as I keep coming back.
Maybe that’s the point: that I keep coming back. And the more I go back, and repeat the act of receiving mercy and kindness, the easier it will be to give it away.
As I learn in the deepest parts of me that it doesn’t run out, that it isn’t scarce, I will be free to pour out what I’ve been given, knowing there’s more where that came from.