Manna Mentality

The last week I have had a hard time sleeping.  I toss and turn.  I wake up from shallow bits of sleep.  Last night I couldn’t fall asleep until after 1am, which was killing me because I knew in just 4.5 short hours my kids would be awake.  This is unusual for me.  I love sleep and I will typically go to bed between 9 or 10 at night and sleep soundly until morning.

My mind was going and going and I just wasn’t tired.  I didn’t feel anxious or stressed for once-I have no classes to teach for the summer.  I quit my ministry job.  Just two months of lounging around in the Tucson heat ahead of me.

As I was commiserating my sleepiness with Jon this morning over breakfast he mentioned that maybe my mind and body were adjusting to not having any busyness or stress going on right now.  Like I just had too much energy or something.

“Can I come back to work, then?” I asked him, partly kidding, partly serious.

I have tried to unquit several times this spring.

Unfortunately (okay, okay.  fortunately) Jon is holding me to my decision and has denied my requests.

This morning as I gripped my hands around my mug (picture a crack addict, and replace the crack with coffee) Jon reminded me that I can use ‘all this extra energy’ for other things.

Other things?

Oooooooh yeah. I remember wanting more energy for ‘other things’.  Like writing more, training for a half marathon, and you know, raising our kids and not letting them watch so much TV.  Things like that.

So maybe I am just having a hard time sleeping because my mind, body and soul are learning to chill out a little bit.

Having more than I know what to do with seems to contrast with a familiar place of scarcity in my life.

Scarcity from having just enough to pay the months’ bills.

Scarcity from having just enough sleep to make it through until bedtime comes again.

Scarcity from lacking familial resources, living so far away from our parents and siblings.

Scarcity from lacking the faith that God would continue to show up for me.

When the Isrealites were freed from Egypt and wandering in the desert God provided manna for them to eat.   Fresh every morning.  Just enough for that day.  Except, that for some people, it wasn’t enough.  It was too little.

19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning. 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning…

God’s provision was perfect, but because there wasn’t visible, scientific or other such evidence showing that this bread would indeed show up every morning, day after day, week after week, they operated and made decisions from a place of scarcity.

Not fear that they didn’t have enough for the day – they did have enough-  but fear that there wouldn’t be enough for tomorrow.

A manna mentality can look two different ways.

It can be full of humility, abundance, thankfulness and peace because, can you believe it, God is providing miraculously and faithfully to me!!!  It looks like giving out of poverty, praying through fatigue, and celebrating a delicious meal.


It can be full of maggots.

However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.

It can look like clinging to my money, snapping at my children, and trying to hoard God for myself and my own Christian life.

A manna mentality can be a sense of fullness with what you have in your hands

A manna mentality can be scrounging for what you don’t.

A manna mentality can be freedom from worrying about tomorrow.

A manna mentality can be slavery to worrying about tomorrow.

I’ve lived both kinds.

While receiving the same paycheck, living in the same city and the same house and doing the same things, I have lived in both scarcity and abundance with the only thing setting the two apart being faith, or a lack thereof, in Jehovah Jireh.  The God who provides.

I’m excited at the prospect of having a little bit of extra energy and margin in my life, even if it means I need to take a sleeping pill tonight.

I know that God has given me what I need for today; enough to pray a little more, run a little more, talk to my husband a little more, write a little more and focus on my kids a little more.  I pray that with this bit of ‘extra’ I will have a manna mentality, able to fully celebrate the blessings of the Lord today and able to be fully faithful in knowing that whatever tomorrow has, it will be the right amount.


3 thoughts on “Manna Mentality

  1. Cindy Rhines

    Hey Kirsten,
    I enjoyed reading your post! I remember those days of little kids and hoping/praying for sleep. Now I have teenagers and although they sleep a lot later in the mornings, there are plenty things to stress about that keep me up in the middle of the night. It has been a journey of “letting go” and trusting God; many times easier said than done. Also I wanted to recommend a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. You’ve probably heard about or even read it already. She talks in it about “eating the mystery” (manna meaning “what is it”) which is along the same lines of what you wrote about the Manna moments. Taking one day at a time and taking what God gives for that day even if we don’t understand it. I’ve read the book a few times and am doing the video study with some friends now. She has a really different way of writing that is hard to follow sometimes, but I’ve enjoyed the book, and gotten something different out of it each time I’ve read it.
    I love that you are doing ministry with college kids. I have a friend that was at ASU with Campus Crusade. They now are starting a church there called Journey. Small world….
    Take Care,
    Mrs. Rhines (Cindy:)


    1. Kirsten

      Thanks Mrs. Rhines, I had a good middle school English teacher 🙂

      I love the idea behind 1,000 Gifts, I just couldn’t get through the writing style, as you mentioned. I hope you are doing well, it is great to see glimpses of you and your family on facebook!


  2. Judy

    I so understand the ability/inability to quit. I do not have this nature either and of course others can never accomplish my work without me. I am in a transition of sorts at work now, having several projects handed off which means LESS work for me but now I want MORE as that is what I have become accustomed too. Hmmm, really a mess I am! I will pray that God will give you rest in this season and that you will find your jar always full enough to meet the needs and demands of the day. We love you!


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