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The Spirit of Lack



This is one of my favorite little lectures right here. It’s a bit of a soppy read, but man, if you can get a hold of these truths, you’re well on your way to creating the life you truly want and deserve.


There is this concept I call “the spirit of lack”. That’s a holdover phrase from my evangelical Christian upbringing, but I believe the concept holds true as a life principle.


In my family or origin, worrying was a badge of honor. If we weren’t worrying about something, usually financial security as chief focus, we weren’t doing our job. It was drummed into us that worry led to inner turmoil, which transformed into motivation, which manifest in action, which resulted in the planning and preparation needed to ensure a financially secure future.


What “financially secure” meant to my grandparents, who’d lived through the depression, was a great deal different than the messages I received growing up during the consumer and credit driven 1970s and 1980s. I was confused. I was troubled. Mostly, I worried I wasn’t worrying enough. That state of worry and living in that spirit of lack persisted for the better part of my life.


Anxiety became such an issue it negatively affected every area of my life, including my career. And I just could not have that. I was an adult, a single adult, and I had only myself to depend on. I loved my work. I was very successful and determined to continue that trajectory.


Despite my best efforts, I eventually worked myself into such a hard stuck place, I realized a major change was in order or I wasn’t going to make it. I mean, I wasn’t only going to lose my career, I might not be able to continue on living. The anxiety had turned to suicidal ideation, which I fought for years and years. Dark dark times I’ve walked through. But here I am. Still here. Do not be discouraged! My story does have a happy ending!


Here’s what I’ve come to learn: If I am always thinking about what I don’t have, I create a world of scarcity for myself, where I live in constant fear I may not ever have what I think I want. But that is a lie from the pit of hell! (Another holdover phrase from my evangelical Christian upbringing. I hang on to that one, because it’s ludicrous but it sure packs a punch!)


Beginning earnestly in my 40s, and stepping it up aggressively in my 50s, I began to systematically deconstruct those false, ineffective, and downright dangerous messages written on my very soul. I either rejected them across the board, or I reformulated them into healthier strategies.


This isn’t a one and done thing. I’m constantly checking my thoughts, monitoring my self-talk. I continually evaluate whether a belief lends well to a situation, all the while making continuous, real-time adjustments to ensure I’m acting and reacting in effective and healthy ways.


It’s akin to project management, the work I did in software systems for thirty years. I use tracking and trending techniques to determine how effective my performance is in relation to the constraints inherent in whatever circumstances I’m managing in that moment. Pretty antiseptic way of describing it, but tools are tools are tools! Build your own tool set and use it!


The result of all that incredibly hard work is that it finally made it into my head and into my heart I live in a world of abundance. I own that I am, right now, right this moment, and every moment, ENOUGH.


That shift in how I saw myself prompted my commitment to a new way of living. I decided I no longer wanted to live and act out of fear; I no longer wanted fear to rule my mind and drive my decisions. I now choose, as best I am able, to live and act from a place of openness, authenticity, truth, and love. Oh my goodness what a terrifying decision that was. But it has made all the difference.


I Persevere. And each day, I am freer than I was yesterday.


*An excerpt from my book How To Do Single With Dignity & Grace, available on Amazon.

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