I’ve never been one to hate on social media. I think it’s great that I can see my college friend’s babies and get ideas for recipes and look at beautiful images when I’m on hold with the internet company. But lately I’ve felt my chest tightening a little every time I scroll through Instagram or Facebook. I see all the people succeeding at what I wish I could do. I see all the bodies that are in better shape than mine. I see all the people who are in the life stage I wish I was. I see all the places I wish I could be instead of where I am. Comparison, envy, discontentment, the creeping sense of scarcity. These have been coming up far too often these days.
But the worst of it all? I see a beautiful post, I read marvelously crafted words, I see exquisite art, I hear captivating stories, I witness abundance in someone else’s life, and instead of it inspiring to live my own life well, or write my own words or take my own pictures or explore my own adventures, or love my own people, it whispers the lie of scarcity into the depths of my soul.
- “Someone already has written what you wanted to write.”
- “Someone already took a good picture of that mountain.”
- “Someone beat you to getting published.”
- “Someone is sharing the message you wanted to share.”
- “Someone is already her friend.”
- “Someone already ran that marathon.”
- “Someone already made a difference in that life.”
As if there was a limit to accomplishments in this year. Books on the shelves. Words on the world wide web. Beautiful pictures on Instagram. Hilarious stories on Instagram. Friendships one can cultivate.
As if one person’s abundance takes a chunk out of my own.
I just arrived at four years of living in a small town. And it took me every one of those years to feel like there is space for me here. Its funny, coming from the suburbs of a major city you would think it would be the opposite. There’s no traffic, no fight for parking spots, and a whole public national forrest’s right out your back door. But I no longer blended into a crowd. I was noticed at the coffee shop, grocery store and library. I recognized most people I saw. And I felt very much on the outside of a group of best friends, peering in and wanting to find a seat at their table, but not feeling like there was room.
I even felt awkward walking down Main Street. Like people might see me and wonder what I was doing and why I was taking that space on the sidewalk.
Of course this is silly, and not grounded in reality at all, but when you wake up every morning feeling like there is not enough, when you approach each day with the mentality that resources aren’t plentiful, scarcity begins to tint how you see everything and everyone.
It’s ridiculous, but when you’ve been deceived by the the myth of scarcity even the open sidewalk on a small mountain town Main Street starts to look crowded and stifling.
I combat the lies with the truth and I set out down main street, one foot in front of another, because I’m invited to experience the abundance of this beautiful town just as much as those people on the other side of the road are. I’m allowed to be here, I’m allowed to take up space. There’s no limit to how many feet can touch this soil, how much air we can each inhale, how much pleasure every human can take in the bright blue sky above them or the touch of the warm sun upon their skin.
Abundance only multiplies. It is never divided.
So take up your space, put out your words, take those beautiful pictures, share your posts and stories and art. Plum the depths of this world, throw all your colors out for us to see and take in every ounce of beauty that you can. Your capacity to encounter and receive all that God has for you in this wild and enormous world is limitless. The abundant life is ours for the taking.