Saturday, September 24

Lessons Learned: Seasons of Lack

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When Jerry and I moved back to NYC in the Fall of 2009, we had no idea that we'd be literally living out of our car, and at the grace of good friends for the first whole month. We had spent the last year and a half completely oblivious to the very real struggles that the dwindling economy were causing people in places outside of Southern Louisiana.

We were reading the articles and seeing the news about millions of Americans being jobless, but we weren't feeling the effect at all. We were in a bubble, making above average and paying below average, in the small community where we lived.

When we knew it was time to head back to NYC, we just packed up our car, made arrangements with a friend to stay for what we thought was going to be a week or so, (just until we got an apartment and jobs) and hit the road. It was a complete shock when finding an apartment became a nightmare, and jobs were few and far between. It became less about choosing a career path for ourselves, and more about just finding a job for some income.

After about 3 weeks at our friends house, we knew our welcome was wearing out, and we headed to a hotel in New Jersey where we reflected on the absolute madness of our very miscalculated plan to just "wing it" when we got back in the city.



While we were both distraught and full of doubt about our situation, we knew in our hearts that God was leading us back to NYC, we had prayed about it, and felt the peace to go. Thanks to God (and Craigslist), Jerry was able to take over a lease on a studio apartment in Harlem that didn't require proof of income, just good credit.

Shortly after that, I ended up connecting with a former co-worker who was able to hire me almost right away into a billing position, that I didn't want, but knew would ultimately get us back on track. One of our main reasons for going back to NYC was Jerry's desire to continue his acting career, building on the foundation that he had already laid there, so he began to pursue that immediately.

Despite my job and Jerry's business income, we were in no way making enough to cover all of our expenses. We were feeling the burn of the economy, and now could understand just what the majority of Americans had been feeling for some time. So, as Christians, who are determined to live our lives - not seeking to be blessed - but seeking to be a blessing, what could we do?

Probably one of the more humbling experiences a person can go through in life is a season of lack. Lack as a noun is defined as "The state of being without or not having enough of something." Having to constantly decline invitations from people for social outings, or to choose between paying credit cards or eating, can be incredibly damaging to the ego. At the same time, it can be extremely helpful when put in the right perspective.


There is something worthwhile to be found in seasons of lack. For one thing, in America, what we feel as a lack, would still often be luxury to people all over the world. We are quick to lose perspective of just how blessed we are to live in our country. But beyond a compassion for the billions of people living in a perpetual state of poverty around the world, beyond the deep gratitude that comes from realizing all that we have is truly a gift, is the development of true selfless and sacrificial giving.


Despite the hardships we faced during that first year or two back in the city, we developed into people who truly thought constantly about how to be a blessing with what did have, and became grateful for what we had instead of focusing on what we were missing. We continued to give a percentage of our income to our spiritual family, and when we couldn't give financially, we gave of our time, and what we did have. We fought our tendencies to judge the less fortunate, and instead strove to give to any who asked of us.


Radical generosity is one of our pursuits in life. Jerry and I have always dreamt of being able to "reverse tithe." A tithe is simply 10% of what we receive, so to reverse this, we'd give back 90% of what we receive. As we have finally begun (by His grace) to move out of a long season of lack, we are incredibly grateful for the eternal perspective we have gained through the trying times, and we encourage anyone who is currently struggling in a season of lack, to not miss out on the priceless treasures that only this season can give you.

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