I stand in front of my open refrigerator door and just stare as if into space. I need something for dinner and there’s nothing to eat!! I exclaim with a sigh “There’s nothing to eat in this house!!” My boys often do this . I actually learned HOW to do this from them! Yea, I did! I DID!
I stand inside my closet and just go into this blank stare hoping that SOMETHING would appear in my closet that was interesting, fun, and exciting to wear. I have no clothes!! Sigh…… out of my 5 children, the 3 who still live at home are the boys. They are perfectly happy wearing the same pair of jeans and a rotation of 2 or 3 shirts every week. I rarely hear the “I have nothing to wear” woes from them. But I bet my girls have stood in their closets and thought my same thoughts! It’s frustrating to be a girl with nothing to wear!! Geez!!!
As I’ve heard it said before “First world problems”……. “first world” or not, in the moment, they seem very real, don’t they? How about a change of perspective? (You’ll thank me for this later…..maybe WAY later. For now you may want to kick this little blog post to the curb and reconsider ever reading anything I write again!!)
On the other side of town, a little boy grabs his mommy’s hand and holds on tight. His face is smudged with dirt, as are his clothes. A baby sits in Mommy’s lap. Mommy has this look on her face that can’t be denied. She’s hungry, scared and destitute as they sit on the corner with a cardboard sign asking for money or food.
Another mommy and her little girl left home in the middle of the night, fearful , running for their lives. All they took with them was the clothes on their backs and Mommy’s purse. They live in their car.
That’s hard to think about, isn’t it?? I think I like my old perspective better. It’s easier.
I’ve recently been FORCED….yes FORCED to change my perspective. Twice a year, I pick out a great bible study that will draw me and a group of friends closer to Christ and I facilitate it. That’s just a fancy word that means I have to make sure I do my homework each week so I can decide which discussion questions to ask each week when I meet with this group of fabulous. fearless friends. This past January as I was perusing the aisles at the Christian bookstore looking for a study on the Proverbs 31 woman, my eyes were averted to something else. Just felt a nudge ….more like a giant push….towards this study that had the words “clothes”, “food”, “spending” and few others on the cover. Oh great! I like those things! We’ll do that one instead. I really had no idea what this Jen Hatmaker chick had up her sleeve with this one……but Someone who was being sorta bossy that day did. I would soon embark on a 7 week journey into cutting out the excess in my life and shifting my perspective on many different things. I wasn’t going to add clothes, food and spending into my daily routine. I was going to take them away. Thank you Mrs. Hatmaker. Thanks a lot……..really……
I’m not meaning for this to be a free advertisement for the book or bible study I’m doing right now. But I just wanted y’all to know that this new perspective didn’t just happen on a whim. God nudged me that day at the bookstore for a reason. He knew I NEEDED a new perspective and He can use any means He so chooses to get me there. This was just the means He chose for me.
Confession is good for the soul, right? So here…..
See, I have a bad tendency to compare myself and the things I have with “the Joneses”…..the wealthy Joneses, that is. The ones who live in bigger houses with perfectly manicured lawns, who have better things, nicer toys, fancier clothes , who go on expensive vacations every year. And this makes me feel…well….so underprivileged, like I surely deserve more. I rarely ever take time to consider the “other Joneses”…..those who live in true poverty, in homeless shelters, who don’t know for sure where their next meal is coming from, who wear the same clothes every day because it’s all they have. I never bother to compare myself to those who actually have far less than me. With those who might actually look upon ME…..little old me…..as being wealthy and having it all. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that, you know. But why not????
It’s not fun to think about people living in shacks with dirt floors. It’s not fun to think about people who hope upon all hope to have a single meal of anything before the day is over. It’s not fun to think about the child living with her mom under a bridge. It’s not fun to think about the fact that I have so much and they have so little. It’s not fun to think about the fact that I don’t do enough to help those in need……that I so often feel I need to hold on tightly to my stuff because those I don’t find it “fun to think about” could so easily become ME.
There are far more “other Joneses” in this world than not. And when I take a minute or even a measly little second to consider this fact, I am humbled beyond words. I become GRATEFUL for what I have and in that moment I can stop thinking about “the Joneses” with the big screen TV’s and the fancy cars and the closets so packed with clothes they really need another closet. And I can see how truly blessed I am. I can be truly thankful for what I have and stop yearning for the “wrong more”……….I don’t need more stuff. I don’t need a fuller closet. I don’t need better or even more food in the fridge. I don’t need fancy vacations, big screen TVs, Saturdays where I shop till I drop.
I just need a better perspective. One that will cure my whiny neediness. I mostly torture myself with this and try hard to hide from others that I do have a whiny neediness at times….for needs that don’t even exist. One that will help me to loosen my grip on the things I falsely believe will make me happy. One that will make me a more giving person….one who gives without fear.
The pictures I shared at the beginning of this post are real. It’s my real closet. What you see represents the 54 items of clothing I have left hanging after I “purged”. 54 doesn’t seem like a lot…..until I look at it through a renewed perspective. Then it almost seems like I need to purge some more because how can I be so richly blessed??
The fridge picture is also actually my real fridge . I’m totally calling myself out on this one. This is embarrassing because I DIDN’T purge it. But it is what it is……full to the brim with plenty of food. How dare I or anyone else in my family ever stare blankly into the face of this bountiful blessing and exclaim we have nothing to eat? Oh the shame!!
This hasn’t been terribly comfortable to share. But I think if we all get blindingly honest with ourselves, more of us than not might find that we get our desire to buy more this and more that because we’re looking to the wrong source of inspiration. If you fill your life with stuff because someone else has the same stuff or better stuff, then step back .
Count YOUR blessings….not someone elses.
Ouch!! My toes hurt!!!!