There is a time to avert your eyes. And a time to take notice.

(*this post was originally posted November 19, 2007)

This past weekend I had several errands to run, so Saturday I loaded up the kids and we headed to the stores.

We first went to lunch, because frankly, it was like Old Mother Hubbard’s house around here. The cupboard’s were bare, short of a bag of leftover Halloween candy. That would have been a viable option for me, except that I had already eaten all of the candy that I like…

After lunch we hit some of the local stores. I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I needed to get.

When we lived in Wisconsin, this would have been no quick trip. We lived in a very rural town and had to travel 2 hours to the nearest mall and 45 minutes to the nearest Wal-Mart. (but no walking barefoot through the snow uphill both ways…) Any shopping had to be planned or done online.

The lovely part of this was that I learned to be content with what I had. Honestly, there’s not much I can think of buying that a 2 hour trip in a car with kids won’t cure me of. I did most of my clothes shopping online.

When we moved to Maryland, I stayed away from the malls because we didn’t have the money to get by each week, let alone do any extra shopping.

But recently, I’ve had to go into REAL stores, with real items I can touch! and smell! and they are displayed so lovely. And the desire for “things” has had to be stuffed aside repeatedly. I was amazed at the things that I began to think that I “needed”… things that before Saturday, I didn’t even know I could buy. I went into BabiesRUs to use a gift certificate that we received for Declan’s birth. I knew just what I wanted… but walking to the right aisle led me past digital baby scales for making sure your baby is the perfect weight in between doctor’s visits. Sterilization kits. Gadgets for increasing your baby’s IQ in utero. Luxury strollers. I had to keep my eyes averted just to keep from passing out from the panting.

Even our local Wal-Mart is fancy, with its wooden floors and track lighting. Shopping at Wal-Mart is hard enough without having to deal with every thing screaming from the racks for you to take it home.

It is hard to be content.

There is so much that we think we must have.

That we think will make us happy.

That will fill a void.

That we think will make us popular and well-thought of.

If only we had could have it.

Then life would be be complete.

But that’s not how its supposed to be. Not when there are people who have to do without basic necessities each and every day. When people are suffering from diseases that are treatable.

I love beautiful things. And don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with beautiful things. But there is when we ignore the suffering of others while we bask in “OUR” things.

My prayer for each of us is that we will be content with the things we’ve been blessed with and that we will remember and help take care of those who have been blessed with little.

Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
~ Deuteronomy 15:11

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Comments

  1. Laryssa Herbert says:

    You have spoken what's in my heart. Things don't, can't and won't make us happy. We all need to do our part, live simply so we can give generously. (as Lindsey from Passionate Homemaking would say.)

  2. Jenny86753oh9 says:

    Wow…you were right. I did need to read that. I actually said these words this morning, "I feel like the boys just take, take, take. I need to focus on ME for once!"

    Yes, kids can make moms feel very used up, but that doesn't give me the right to overlook the best perspective.

  3. There is much need in this world for contentment and responsible living and giving to those without. You are definitely right about that!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a blessed weekend!

  4. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins says:

    This was lovely. I'm currently struggling with my position as a working Mom…I've always struggled with it…and I've come to realize that I *can* take a chance at staying at home. We live very conservatively, so while I worry that we'll be poor I'm starting to think that we might not be. So long as we don't fall victim to that feeling of false need. ;-)

  5. A spot on post! Loved it and took it to heart!

  6. Tabitha in Bliss says:

    I loved your prayer. My family and I learned the hard way how fast you can lose everything (Hurricane Katrina). But, it also taught us that all we need are the necessities and one another.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a GREAT post! I have been trying to "simplify" my life for the past few months and trying to tame the urge to buy things unecessarliy. It is hard because we have become conditioned to think that our homes must look like homes we see in magazines and that we all must buy a whole new wardrobe every season! The mass marketing campaigns for retailers has skewed most people's view of a normal standard of living. I am ready to get off that train and begin to appreciate what I have and give to those who are truly in need.

  8. Thanks for obeying that "gentle nudge". I really needed this today.

  9. I just got through having a discussion with my 6 year old about wants vs. needs and how we need to be grateful for what we have. It was just as much for my benefit as hers. Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) says:

    A beautiful, blessing of a post. :)

  11. Darcy @ lwm3b says:

    Very touching. ;)

    xoxoxo

  12. Chrissy says:

    I guess I need to look up, instead of focusing on the fact that we are (most likely) selling our house to move into an apartment and hubby is ill and we both need different jobs….I don't know Karla, I really don't think I've been coveting or thinking that "things" would make me happy. I came to terms with that several months back when we began to pack. And I embraced God's healing touch when hubby's extremely serious lung disease returned. I'm glad you headed God's nudge, though; I'll meditate on it.

  13. Thank you , thank you, thank you. That is always so needed to help us refocus on what IS truly important.

  14. Don't know why that came up as John… weird. It is really me.

  15. This does strike home with me. We are downsizing to head into orphan ministry. It is a difficult, constant battle with 'things.'

    BTW, I found you through A Woman Inspired. I may just need your help when I'm ready to get our ministry blog/website underway.

    Blessings,
    Laura

  16. Very true. And my hat is off to for on the delivery of the message.

  17. Oh wow! Very true. I believe I was slowly walking to my own pity-party this morning and happened across your blog {thank you Jesus!!} (I heard you at AWI—thank you!!). Point being the further my morning went, the deeper I got sucked in…I'm climbing out, I'm done!

  18. I love your blog – love the name of it and what you stand for. Sara Groves is one of my favorites – she came to our church in MN – she had just gotten back from her trip to Rowanda and had written that song and sung it for our women's group but I hadn't seen the song put together with the video – WOW – the words and the message from the video are so impactful – so is your blog so thank you!

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