In Which Vacation Erin Schools Regular-Life Erin on Gratitude

By May 24, 2013 faith 3 Comments

If Vacationing were a spiritual gift, I’m sure I would score high on the scale. I’m really good at it:

No schedule. No deadlines. Very little planning. Take in beautiful sights. Think. Read. Talk. Pray. Praise. Eat. Run. Daydream. Write. Sleep. Repeat.

Beach Retreat 2013 reminded me once again that vacationing is something I’m really good at. My personality takes to it, hand in glove. Vacation Erin is full of gratitude for the blessing and luxury of a week away.

And really, who wouldn’t be grateful with a view like this?

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Beach Retreat 2013 praise wall

Vacation Erin is quick to wonder at God’s creation and His love. Vacation Erin goes slow enough to truly see and think and feel and remember all that God is. Vacation Erin is overwhelmed at the abundance of blessing, contributing several entries each day to our Beach Retreat praise wall.

But Vacation Erin has returned to Illinois, returned to regular life.

Regular-Life Erin is too quick to feel stress and burdens and lack—lack of time, energy, peace, and creativity. Whereas Vacation Erin was bubbling over with praises, Regular-Life Erin is slow in the praise department. Regular-Life Erin is lacking in praise.

One of the books I read on Beach Retreat was Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. She speaks of this lack, calling it a mentality of scarcity:

“Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. . . . The opposite of scarcity is enough or what I call wholeheartedness.”

Yes, that’s it. Regular-Life Erin lives hyperaware of lack where scarcity rules—because it rules my heart. I hit the ground running each day, already lacking in rest and ideas and peace. I haven’t gotten up early enough or gotten enough sleep or had enough time to read all I want to read or do all I want to do or write all I want to write.

And that flies in the face of Truth, for God has blessed me “in Christ with every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3), therefore, by “His divine power (He) has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). Because of Jesus, I am able to do all that God has called me to do in this life—it’s His power, His wisdom, His energy, His love, His provision, His peace, His creativity, His words. It reminds me of these lines from a Chris Tomlin song titled “Enough”:

All of You is more than enough for all of me / For every thirst and every need / You satisfy me with Your love / And all I have in You is more than enough

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practicing gratitude in the flatlands

Regular-Life Erin needs to remember that all I have in Jesus is enough—a lesson that Vacation Erin seems to live out naturally. This is what I need to learn here in the everyday flatlands. Brene Brown gives this insight:

“If the opposite of scarcity is enough, then practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and that we’re enough.” (124)

To push back against the insidious scarcity mentality, Regular-Life Erin has decided to practice gratitude, like Brene recommends. Instead of a temporary Post-It Note praise wall like the one we made on Beach Retreat, I’m using this fabric-covered magnetic version that now hangs in my kitchen. Each day, I’m adding something that I’m grateful for, even here in the middle of Illinois, where there’s no ocean, no salt-breeze, no soft sand to prompt my praise.

Be on alert Scarcity Mentality. I’m pushing back. These flatlands are full of praise—I just have to look a little harder to find it.

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