I grew up knowing and learning the ropes of lack. There was never enough of anything. Money (always the biggest one), healthcare, food, things…there was “never enough.”
And it was always the other person’s fault. The reason why we never had anything, that is. Other people were richer and had limitless opportunities handed to them. They wronged us just because they were them.
So we filled in the holes with complaints, bad decisions, and bitterness.
After I grew up and had (I thought) undone many of the habits of lack from my childhood, I experienced lack in a new way.
It was a lack of time, attention, and “love.” There was “never enough.”
I did not know this lack because it was impossible to know. It was impossible to learn. Because it was impossible.
But I tried. And I gave and gave and gave. And I continued to fail and fail and fail. So I gave more. And quickly became a giving workhorse that never got the job done. A beast that could never give enough.
Neither places of lack worked. Lack never does. But lack does create a wealth of pain, disappointment, and fear. And lack can quickly become the identity of our life’s value if we submit to it.
And oddly enough, lack feels safe. There is little accountability in lack. Minimal effort is acceptable. Blame becomes a wall we can easily hide behind.
But there is no authentic joy in lack. Or gratitude. And we cannot know joy without gratitude.
Lack doesn’t mean ignoring toxicity or avoiding a problem. It also doesn’t negate the challenges of hurting or being pushed. Because it’s DAMN HARD to be grateful in those situations. It can actually be quite comforting to fight back and blame in the moment to cope. But there is no real joy in those fights. Not the kind of joy that sustains, anyway.
When we practice gratitude, more opportunities will flow in.
When our work is done in gratitude, our careers excel.
When we love with gratitude, we will never feel empty.
We will struggle. We will hurt. We will have major challenges. That’s unavoidable. But we will know what joy is.