I love the world. Truly. I love to travel to new places and eat foods I’ve never tried before. I love cramming my hard drive with pictures of all of my experiences. I don’t necessarily love the art of shopping, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of wearing new outfits for the first time.
Pop culture used to draw me into its arms in a big way and that’s something I’ve had to mindfully back my way out of the last few years. The convenience of air conditioning is brilliant and I’m just as much in love with the furnace during winter months. And that tea kettle that tells me what temperature my water has reached? That just makes me giddy because I no longer accidentally burn my green and white tea leaves.
Yes, I get a lot of enjoyment out of the things in life that are “worldly,” so to speak.
Is that wrong?
Sometimes I don’t think so. And then…
I look at Christians in other countries who are being persecuted for their faith, and I see them standing firm. They’re losing limbs or baring scars that make me turn my eyes away. It’s devastating.
But there’s a little part of me that has to confess a tinge of jealously.
Jealous that it’s so much easier to build strong, unshakable faith when I’m not surrounded by…stuff. Jesus is truly enough for these people so why is He not enough for me?
All my life I would become fixated on the newest and next best thing, getting incredibly bored if I waited too long to jump on the bandwagon. And, even now, I have yet to shake it off like I should. I actually remember writing on my “list” of things to do earlier this summer a note to myself that consisted of these words:
Buy a pair of Sperry’s
Yes, you read that correctly. I had to remind myself to go out and purchase an $85 pair of shoes. Ironically, they are the most uncomfortable shoes I have ever owned, but they were cute and in style and lots of women have them. *end sing song voice*
I have to shake my head now as I stare at those shoes on the rack in my closet. The million dollar question inevitably follows… “Jennifer, is this what brings you joy?”
A little bit. But only temporarily.
And at the end of the day I feel as though I’ve just pulled on a pair of Spanx. On the outside it smooths everything out, making it look nice – but underneath it all it’s suffocating the life out of me.
I can’t move because I fill my life with more than what I really need. And I can’t breathe because of the pressing on all sides to be someone other than who I was designed to be.
I’m rubbed raw by the fabric of what I tend to idolize.
Stature. Job titles. Material possessions. Smaller jeans. Overpriced shoes…
And I like it that way because I’ve allowed myself to become captivated by it. It becomes a craving for that tangible thing to feed my senseless pride.
But God knows this about me. And he continues to chisel away the wants of a girl trapped in the body of a thirty-seven year old woman. A girl who wants to be quietly recognized for her achievements. A girl who wants to blend in with the world. A girl who just wants to know she did okay by everyone else’s standards.
Yes, He came right into the middle of that closet with the expensive pair of shoes and laid a message on my heart that I so want to ignore. But I can’t. This is uncharted territory for me, you see. And it’s only through His Words that I am learning how to let go.
Do not love the world. <–Go ahead – click that right there. Read the entire thing slowly.
I don’t necessarily believe God calls us to give away all our possessions or achievements. Perhaps some of us. And maybe even more of us than we’d like to admit. And I don’t necessarily believe that we are never to own something nice or expensive.
But regardless of how much He asks us to give up I think it’s clear that we must be careful in how much we invest in the world. Not the people in it, but the objects…the titles…the prestige.
Those very things carve caverns between us and the rest of the world that we need to be reaching. Because I know that when those individuals do come to Christ and live in Christ it’s not because there’s a thing that keeps them going all day long. There’s a He.
And suddenly everything else is meaningless…
What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. (Ecclesiastes 1:2-8)
Linking up today for Faith Filled Friday at Missional Women. Come and learn how you can join one of their discipleship groups that begin on September 8th. You may choose from Foundation, Growth or Action groups. Please follow the link to read more about these groups that are back by popular demand.