Having & Being Enough - Dee Marsden


One of the things I’ve realized about myself over the years is that when there’s something I’m interested in, I dive head first into learning all about it.

Last summer, my husband Eric and I realized our trusty ‘99 Camry wasn’t going to make it past July. We decided we needed to look for a new car when the a/c broke in the middle of June and Eric was driving around with the windows down in sweltering heat, speeding a little more than usual trying to get some kind of breeze going. Yep, it time to get a new-to-us vehicle.

I spent HOURS researching not just the car but also the process of purchasing a used car. I was determined to avoid going to a car dealership at all possible and made it my personal goal to get the best new-to-us car at the best deal. It got to the point where I was driving Eric a little nuts (ba-dum-chhhh), but eventually it all worked itself out. Here we are in the new ride with my parents whom we took on a road trip last year.


I’ve taken this approach with most things. I’ve researched for hours on what kind of mattress to buy, the best coffee thermos, the paint colors for my company’s office renovation - the sky is the limit!

[BLANK SLIDE] Lately, I’ve been super interested in personal finance. So, naturally, I’ve done a lot of reading, watching YouTube videos, scouring Reddit - all on the topic of personal finance. I can’t seem to get enough of budgeting, setting financial goals, learning about retirement options, etc. It’s helpful, and wanting to manage finances is, I think, a pretty reasonable thing, but one thing I’ve come to be very aware of has been my frame of mind when I am getting too into thinking about it - my thought goes to “We don’t have enough money and we need more!”

It strikes me how quickly my mind goes there, and I guess when I think about it, I’m not that surprised. We’re reminded all of the time of what we don’t have and what we need. Marketing at its finest. Think about the Facebook ads you see, commercials that interrupt the show you’re watching, the much-too-loud Spotify ads that ruin the vibe because you don’t have Premium (#notinthebudget) -- we are constantly told we don’t have enough of something.

Is there something that you feel like you don’t have enough of right now?


How would you fill in the blank? (Pause)

Maybe it’s that you feel like you don’t have enough money. Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough of the right connections to get that next job. Maybe you feel like we don’t have enough time to get everything we want done. Whatever came to mind for you, take note of that.

When we operate out of this feeling that there isn’t enough (fill-in-the-blank), we operate out of what social psychologists and economists name as “scarcity mindset.” At its very base level, it is this idea that our actions come as a result of feeling like we have too little and not enough.

There’s a podcast from NPR’s Hidden Brain that addresses this very idea, the scarcity mindset.


The podcast opens with host Shankar Vedantam describing the episode. Here’s how he opens it:

It's a tale about the psychological phenomenon of scarcity. It affects nearly everything in our lives and connects people who appear to have nothing in common. The story of scarcity is a story of how not having enough of what you need can become the only thing that matters to you.

In the podcast, Vendantam speaks with two guests, Eldar Shafir, a psychology professor at Princeton, and Sendhil Mullainathan, an economics professor at Harvard, who have researched scarcity and the effects it has on people. They believe that when something you desperately need is in short supply, your brain tends to focus on that thing. This focus can be so intense that it impedes your ability to think about anything else. Your mind is full of what you don’t have enough of.


That is so true for me, and I wonder if it is for anyone else too. When we feel like we don’t have enough of something, we begin to think of what we can do to get more of it. We tighten our grip and try to preserve what we do have and try and figure out how to get more.

Let’s go back to my current interest in personal finance - and when it gets to the place when I feel like I don’t have enough money. It definitely becomes all that I’m thinking of and all I want to talk about. I’m up until 2:00am looking for new ways to earn more money, with a million tabs open in Google Chrome and unable to give attention to the other things and people in my life.

I had one of these nights a few weeks ago. It was late - my husband Eric had cleared many a REM cycle by that point - and I was up thinking about our finances and if we’d ever reach goals we had set and having a million tabs open on my computer with information that was not useful to be taking in at 2:00am. Let’s be clear, this is me not at my best. I was exhausted, feeling hopeless and it felt like I was just grasping at straws.

I’d had a few these nights like this but on this particular evening (or super early morning), there was an a-ha (which I can only really attribute to God, because Lord knows 2:00am Dee does not have this kind of clarity): It wasn’t just that I felt like I didn’t have enough money, it was that deep down, I believed that I was not capable enough. I felt - and still struggle with feeling - that I was not capable enough of



When we operate out of a scarcity mindset, out of an “I don’t have enough __” mindset, I believe it goes deeper than just not having enough - I believe it affects us on a deeper level where we begin thinking not just that we don’t have enough, but that we are not fill-in-the-blank enough. I wonder if that resonates with anyone else here?

Go back to what you wrote down when I asked if there was something you feel like you don’t have enough of. Is there any way that not having this has impacted how you see yourself or how you feel like others view you?

When I have experienced not having enough or not feeling __ enough, Psalm 23 has continued to come to mind for me. It’s one of the most well-known (and probably most cross-stitched) passages in the Bible, and I think that there’s something to that - that it speaks to something so deep and core to the human experience that we long to hear and long to be true of God. I wanted to share just a few verses of with you this morning:


Psalm 23 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

What a contrast to the image I get when I think about scarcity and not having enough. When we are connected to God and experience His care for us, we are pulled out of our scarcity and into abundance. There’s a lushness, a refreshment that these verses offer that feel so much more of what I want to be experiencing on the day-to-day.


This is a photo of Lake Louise in BANFF National Park, and this is what I picture when I read through the verses.

Psalm 23 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

One of the things that also sticks out to me about this is how much of the action is focused on God doing, God taking action and meeting us where we are at. It feels true of who God is - that the same God who offered that a-ha at not-her-very best-2:00am-Dee is the same God here taking action and wanting to lead us, care for us, connect with us. There’s something incredibly freeing about that. This passage and these verses remind me that God is wanting to lead us into this Psalm 23 experience of life and connection with him.

God wants so much to be so good to us that we feel the reality of Psalm 23, and is inviting us into this kind of experience especially in those 2:00am kind of moments. God looks at us and says, hey - with me, you have enough and you are enough, let me take the load.




So sure - that sounds great and all, what do we do with that? I have a couple of things that have helped me feel connected to this:

  1. Bring your “I don’t have enough __” and “I am not __ enough” to God. Can be simple as “Hey God, this is what I’m feeling and it’d be really great to have you meet me in this.”

  2. As sort of a step towards this, be generous with what feels scarce. I know, totally counterunitive. But I have found that taking this step has been a surprising but powerful way to put myself in a position to experience God’s 23 goodness. It enables me to let go of the things I’m trying to get more of and let God into it in a super-practical way.


Invite you to stand with me and I’d like to pray for us. One of the things that comes to mind for me is that scarcity and living out of scarcity for a long time is a painful experience. And maybe for some of us, what we need today is for God to show us He’s with us in that - and if that’s you, I want to pray that God would right now come in that space and sit with you in that.

And for those of us who feel ready to say hey God, I’m feeling like I don’t have enough of this or that I’ve been living out of this identity that I am not enough and I’m done with that. And I want to experience this Psalm 23, I invite you to do that in this space. And God, I pray you would show us what taking that step towards you and saying yes to your care and your refreshment looks like.