Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
Colossians 3:1-2 (NLT)
It’s 8:30 at night. My husband has been home for just over an hour, enough time for him to change, eat dinner, and get settled with CNN or Shark Tank. I pop out of our bedroom, fully dressed, rushing towards the door, saying something to the effect of “I’ll be RIGHT back.” I’ve got 2 things on my mind — clothes and candy. I go to one of my favorite late night spots. I peruse the aisles, thinking and planning, and stumble upon something I HAVE to have. I need it in order to survive and be happy. At least that’s how it feels in the moment. So I pick it up, and two of it’s best friends (wouldn’t want my new dress to be lonely…) and I head towards the checkout line. I drop one on the way (I AM a responsible adult, after all) and I stand and wait to pay for my new favorite items in the whole world. I feel like these types of stores are MADE for people like me. How else did they know that while I wait in line I would want a 3 lb. bag of gummy worms or perhaps a new pair of headphones?! So I settle on the worms (I get the much smaller bag…because it’s 10 o’ clock at night) and munch on them happily on the way home with my new dress and shirt. As soon as I get home, I excitedly explain to my husband how ecstatic I am that I found the most AMAZING dress and shirt and how I only got it for $15! (A few dollars and the gummy worms always get shaved off the story. Always.) He patiently gives me a soft smile and says “I’m happy for you babe.” (He checks our joint account frequently and knows to round up from the number I gave him.)
This process used to happen about once a week. Sometimes twice if it was a particularly rough week. I love spending time alone (a lost commodity with 2 young kids) and I love shopping. I like seeing what’s out, I love getting ideas on styling my clothes, and I love feeling the different types of materials and designs. And if there is anything made of any kind of sugar around, I’ll eat it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that (the shopping part at least). Lately, however, the problem has been in not having enough. Even if I have things in my closet, or food in the fridge, I’ve been wanting something else: going after something else.
I spend a lot of time on my phone and on the computer, writing, learning and trying to improve the site and blog. In this time, I’ve been exposed to so many different bloggers and writers and amazing people. Again, I love being inspired and being exposed to new people and new things. Unfortunately, however, this has caused me to start to want more things as well — the more I see, the more I want! While material things may make you happy for a while, it never lasts. It’s only a matter of time before the next new shiny thing will grab your attention and you forget about the last thing that brought a sense of euphoria and happiness.
In Matthew 6:19 Jesus tells us
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…
and in Luke 12:15, Jesus warns us,
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
It’s useless to focus ALL of your time and attention on attaining material, earthly things. Our lives are not measured in the amount of things we have amassed over the years. Is it wrong to want and get things? I don’t think so. I think the problem lies is not being grateful for what you already have, and in forgetting yesterday’s blessing for today’s freshness. In order for me to learn to be more content, I’ve come up with a couple keys.
Change my thoughts!
I find myself wanting more and more things when I spend unlimited amounts of time on social media and online. Because this is the nature of what I do (blogging), I can’t always avoid it. What I can do, however, is fill my mind with more and more of God’s Word. For the last week, I have been meditating on Colossians 3:1-2 (see above) and it has dramatically changed my thought process.
One of my favorite passages of all time is Philippians 4. SO MANY GEMS in those 23 verses. Verses 11-13 says:
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Of course everyone always quotes verse 13, but in reality, Paul was speaking on the state of being content. If you go back a few verses to verse 8, you can see HOW Paul is able to do that:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
By fixing our thoughts on eternal things instead of temporal things, and relying on Christ’s strengths, we are able to be content in any situation — whether we have a little or a lot.
Use what I have!
We are so so blessed. The sheer amount of things we have compared to most of the rest of the world is insane. And still, we seek to add more. What would happen to our lives if we just learned to use what we already have? How much more grateful would we be if we stopped comparing our lives to others and just thanked God for what we already own? Guys, my shopping has been out of control. I’m not spending crazy amounts of money (you know your girl likes to ball on a budget!) but the fact that I am adding to my closet while I have so many items with tags still on them is not right, so for the month of June, I will not be adding anything to my closet. That’s right. I said it. No shopping for me for the whole month. Maybe it’ll even extend to July? I know my hubby would be happy, haha! Also, I am not eating any sweets (cookies, candy, ice cream, cake, etc.) for the next 21 days. I’m honestly more nervous about the sweets than the shopping! But God has really been speaking to me about controlling my body and not have it control me and I know I need to learn to fill myself up with what I already have!
I know that once I fill my mind with God’s Word and through Christ’s strength, I can learn to stay in this state of
C O N T E N T M E N T.