Here we are into the month of thankfulness. A month set aside to express our gratitude for all the blessings in our life, and yet my heart is in a completely wrong place. Lately, I have been struggling with the Lord concerning all the excess in my life. God has been dealing with my selfish desires for more within my heart more than ever, and has finally gotten my attention.
We live in a society that preaches more stuff brings you happiness. The bigger house, designer clothing, perfect car, and high paying job equals success among many. But truth be told, God cares nothing for excess. He does not care about what I have, instead he cares about my heart. He cares about what I do with what I have been given, and to be honest I have not been a very good steward with what I have been given. Instead of helping those in need, I often seek to fill my own needs. In the area of excess I have given into the world’s standards. I have forgotten Romans 12:2 that states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I have conformed to this world by feeling like I never have enough. Instead of having a grateful heart and thanking God for providing for our needs, I pray for financial stability so I may be able to have more. I could not be more wrong. How dare I forget God’s many blessings and only seek to fulfill my own desires! I am truly selfish.
In order for you to have a better understanding of what I am referring to, I will list out my desires for excess. This is keep me accountable for future reference, and maybe it’ll speak to your heart as well.
How I feel: I often times have a feeling of disdain for my home. It doesn’t have all the amenities I want. It’s “only” 1300 square feet. It’s old. The master bath can’t even hold one person comfortably. It always needs something to be done to make it better. I don’t even have a laundry room, and my closet can’t even hold all my clothes.
Reality Check from the Holy Spirit: I need to be grateful that I even own a home, especially at 23. While I may not have my perfect garden tub, I have everything I need. I have clean fresh water, shelter during storms, a cool house for summer and a warm home for winter. I have a place to wash my clothes and I have a closet full of clothes to fit any and every situation. Plus, Jordan and I have worked hard to update our home. God has given us time to dream and create together. At times this home has been a test in our marriage, but we have made it through and are honestly happier than ever. While I may not have a bunch of storage for my things, maybe it is best that way. Less storage equals less room for more things. God has placed me in this home at this point in life to humble me. He has me here knowing that someday I will look back and be so grateful for this time in my life. Ultimately, God has given us something that is no longer being produced. He gave us a little piece of land to call ours. Our small acre and a half is much more than many others have. It gives us space to call our own. We don’t have neighbors right on top or beside us. And on a crisp fall morning or warm summer night, nothing beats the breeze we feel on our back porch as we watch our animals graze and play.
How I feel: My camera for my photography is not what the best photographers use. It won’t cut it because it doesn’t have all the perfect settings that a $2,000 camera would have. I don’t have enough lenses and some of the ones I do have are not good enough.
Reality Check: God has used my camera to provide extra money when we have needed it most. He has allowed for me to take my camera to different countries and locations to capture some of our sweetest memories, and many times God has allowed for me to bless others with a free photo session when they have needed it most. I remember when Jordan bought me my camera right after we got married. He surprised me by taking me to the store and got everything I needed so I could get started photographing as soon as possible. My Rebel was something I had desired for years, and my husband had finally given it to me. That is a day I will never forget, and yet I often diminish the beauty of that memory with my desire to want the bigger and better option. A new camera does not make me a better photographer, it makes me a more expensive photographer. My desire to grow and learn all there is to know about my field makes me a better photographer. I do not need a bigger camera to tell me my worth as a photographer. The look on people’s faces when they see their photos for the first time gives me more satisfaction than a $2,000 body ever could.
How I feel: I never have anything to wear. Nothing fits and everything is outdated.
Reality Check: I have too much!!! I have 2 closets filled with clothes. One closet is so full that my clothes literally broke the bar that held them up. Nothing fits because of my eating habits, and outdated clothing means nothing anymore (hipsters have made retro cool!). I have jackets to keep me warm for winter, shoes to cover my feet, t-shirts that are comfortable for everyday wear, that perfect pair of jeans, and my treasured Michael Kors bags. I have everything I need and then some.
I could go on and on listing so many areas of selfishness. The truth is that I have allowed for my desire for more to become an idol in my life. I obsess over having a “Pinterest worthy” home. I seek for new ways to beautifully organize my things instead of just having what I need, and our master bedroom is a constant pig pen because I have far too many clothes. Instead of having an attitude of gratitude towards the Lord, I have taken him off the throne of my life and replaced Him with my selfish desires for more. I have coveted my neighbors things, I have idolized the financial success of the world through the accumulation of things, and I have failed and forgotten my First Love. I have failed to recognize that everything I have is a gift from the Lord.
Unfortunately, my selfish desires have not just affected my relationship with the Lord. I have placed a huge burden on Jordan to give me more. I have acted as though his hard work and provision is not enough. I have treated our first home like it has never been good enough for me. My selfishness has caused Jordan to feel inadequate at times and ultimately I have hurt Jordan.
I am done living this selfish life. I am done asking for more. I am done being ungrateful for what I have been given. I am done hurting my husband. I am done placing material things above my Lord and Savior.
Now that I have identified my problem, I must act. Throughout the next few weeks, I will purge my life of all that is unnecessary. I will rid my home of clutter, extensively clean out my closet, only eat the food I have at home, and spend time in prayer thanking the Lord for what He has done. Instead of blogging a few posts here and there, I will bring you along for the journey. You will hold me accountable, and I hope in some way that God will speak to you as well. This won’t be a
“Pinterest: how to declutter your home in 30 days series”, this will be my way of being vulnerable with the world, showing my flaws, and taking the actions I must take to get my heart back into the right place with the Lord. My desire for more has only left me feeling inadequate. Today I choose to change.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)