I think one of the greatest struggles I have as a grown-up is living without! I am always thankful that I live in a country where there is so much abundance. If truth be told it’s over abundance which tends to lead to over-indulgence but in all fairness it’s hard to keep from wanting more and more and more when that’s the world we live in and it’s available.
As a child I never wanted for anything. Sure I THOUGHT there were things I REALLY, REALLY needed and I’m sure I laid the guilt trip on nice and heavy at times but my every need was met and without going overboard I got many of the thing I wanted too. My parents didn’t go crazy with name brand clothing, they didn’t take us on really extravagant holidays every year, we didn’t get the latest and greatest toy the moment it hit the shelf but we were happy. The memories I have of my childhood are fresh and pure. The kind of memories I hope my own children have…playing in the yard, learning to ride a bike, camping with my family, etc.
Now that I am entering the years that I know my children will remember I battle the same things I’m sure my own parents did when I was my kids age. I will place a disclaimer here that I DO NOT in ANY WAY regret the choices in my life…I’m happy, I love who I am, where I’ve come from and where I’m at right now BUT I do sometimes lay in bed at night wondering how my life would be different had I made different choices. What if James and I had waited just a few more years to get married? What if I had finished my degree completely before I had Sam? What if we had just stayed in the townhouse a few more years? What if we only have two children instead of four? What if I didn’t make being at home with my children a priority and decided to work fulltime? So many what ifs you might say. Then after I reconcile the choices I’ve made with the firm belief that my God is in control I move on to living in the here and now. Unfortunately there are many questions that plague my mind in my reality as well. What if Sam feels forever scarred because he’s missing out when he doesn’t get the latest and great video game system, or to participate in ice hockey (as he so desperately wants to)? What if I missed a really big opportunity by not putting Jake in dance, since he has such great moves? What if Lanae could have been a really talented musician but we just couldn’t do the music lessons, the sports, the educational extras? What if by the time Annie gets old enough to do these things we can manage it and the older three are bitter because they didn’t get the same chances? All this in the name of not enough money!!!! You see where it just never ends. And yet I know I can’t change where we are. James has a great job that he is super happy at. I have a great opportunity at the job I’m at and hopefully it will help me as I continue towards a teaching position. My kids go to school where they can learn, they have more than two changes of clothes, they eat more than three square meals a day, we each only share a room with one person, they sleep in warmth and safety, and the list goes on for days. If I tried really hard I could make the list of haves three, four, five times as long as the have nots. Why can I not daily live in that place?
To answer that question I have to go back to the basic roots of my upbringing…another area of my life that my parents blessed me with. To the basic fact that God created a desire in each of us for MORE! He intended that desire to be filled with his Holy Spirit, with his peace, with his understanding, love, patience, and goodness, but in the world that we’ve created for ourselves we seek to fill that desire with STUFF. I recognize this is a great insecurity in my life. I’m not sure where it came from and why it holds me but it does. In my times of quiet I lay it at the cross but pretty much every time I get up from that place I take it back. Do I fear he won’t carry it for me? Do I fear he’s incapable, do I brashly think I’m MORE capable? Again I can’t answer that question but I have to trust that in the grander scheme of things God is GREATER than all these things and whether I chose to embrace that or not he remains just that GREATER…
Greater than a new house
Greater than a new car
Greater than ice hockey
Greater than the latest toy for my kids
Greater than the latest technology released by Apple
Greater than the most fabulous vacation on earth
And definitely GREATER than my desire to have all of the above!!!
GREAT post, Elise!!! Thank you. Oh yeah, I totally enjoy the music…especially Fran B (can’t remember the spelling!)
Amen! Way to preach it sista! I completely agree with you and I’m thankful for the reminder that He is GREATER.
Do remember Elise, that our God is amazing and he so often gives us the desires of our hearts, if we are truely seeking his will. His fulfillment of our desires doesn’t always match our imagination, but when we look back, what he has in store for us is always better than what we can even ask for.
I love your volunerable spirit, the Lord will use it in amazing ways.
You’re so right Tillie! I think sometimes I get lost in wanting what the world wants and what I realize is that I need to refocus my desires on what I know is best for our family and where I see God leading!
I can so relate to your thoughts! I know we live in a culture that relays a message that in order to be successful we must have ‘things’…the world is constantly striving for more. The world does not seek contentment.
I’m not sure it was quite so extreme when we were being raised. There seems to have been a bit of a technology boom (: From what i see in our kids classes, they seem to have more than I remember.
Your Sam is a driven, confident young man with loads of vibrancy. I see him encourage others at baseball and I think, ‘wow, he has good parents…’ I doubt he’ll feel scarred…I think you’re doing an amazing job at exposing him to new experiences and opportunities but keeping him close in ways that are important and invaluable.
I feel so blessed to be getting to know you and I’m grateful Tyler has found a friend who shares similar values.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts…it’s an honor!