Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Parking therapy

Were I ever to open a life-coaching practice, the first question I would ask of new clients would not be where they feel they are stuck or what long-held dream they want to fulfill. I’d want to know: “Where did you park when you came to see me today?”

This psychological profiling tool of mine has yet to be widely embraced, but I have found it to be a helpful gauge of one’s attitude to life. It’s certainly an accurate reflection of the way my wife and I tend to look at things.

She’s the Tigger in our Milne-Pooh Personality Type profile: “This is gonna be great, let’s have a party, woohoo!” I’m the Eeyore: “It’s all going to end in tears, and probably mine.”

So, take a mid-December trip to a fashionable downtown community not far from us. It’s a popular sidewalk dining spot at any time, but add Christmas shopping and a free concert on the adjoining park, and you have one very business Saturday morning.

The minute we enter the zip code, I am already looking for somewhere to park. It’s only going to get busier the closer we get, I figure, so why not give up now and grab a spot where we can? We’ll just walk the rest of the way. Go any further and we’re only going to get stuck in traffic and be late.

Meanwhile, Marcia is urging me from the passenger seat to keep going. Let’s have fun and see just how close we can get is her approach; maybe someone will drive away from a spot just as we arrive. So I keep going, knuckles white on the steering wheel―and, sure enough, a car pulls away right in the middle of the main street just ahead of us, and we glide into a curbside space four vehicles from our destination.

It’s as though the universe saw Marcia coming, and decided to part the traffic like the Red Sea. Now, admittedly, Marcia’s sunniness is one of a kind that would defeat LifeLock, but there’s something else going on here.

Her view is expansive and expectant: something good could happen at any moment! Mine tends to be narrow and negative: something bad could happen at any moment!

Thankfully, she is beginning to rub off on me. After all, while a certain amount of caution and circumspection can be good, and is even commended in the Bible, Scripture affirms hope, trust, and faith. Fundamentally, the world is good—or, at least, was until we got our hands on it.

It’s all about our orientation to life, living in abundance rather than with what one wise counselor calls a scarcity mindset—that there isn’t enough, that I am not enough, and that, when it comes down to it, God isn’t enough either.

This isn’t just a setting in your head that you change, like flicking a switch. It’s something you have to weave down into your life through everyday practice—like driving closer for a parking spot when everything inside you is screaming to abandon the car here at the side of the road and continue on foot.

It’s believing that there may be room out there somewhere for me.

Scarcity thinking? Enough, already!

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