I’ve heard it often as of late. I knew it was unavoidable. But it’s still hard.
Questions and comments in regards to material possessions. I’ve heard the following over the last few weeks, some from my children, some from the kids I take care of after school, and some from neighbor children…
“I went to a playdate at Jack’s house. He has the biggest house I’ve ever seen! He has a creek in his backyard, and big screen TV’s in almost every room. I wish I lived there.”
“Jackson got to invite all of the kids in our class to his birthday party. That’s like 28 kids! Can I invite everyone in the class to my birthday party?”
“I got to ride in an expensive car with heated AND cooled seats! It had a DVD player, too! I wish our car had cool stuff like that.”
And I began to wish that my children were little again…little enough to be oblivious to the possessions of others. Little enough to not understand the tug their heart might feel when jealousy creeps in.
But then I stopped myself dead in my tracks. No…I would not be saddened by their questions or comparisons. I would, instead, use these opportunities to teach. To teach what my mom and dad taught me when I was little. To teach what the Bible teaches.
1 Timothy 6:6-8
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
Contentment. What beauty is wrapped up in that one word. And godliness on top of that contentment? Great gain indeed! Those are the types of riches I want to claim for my own, and for my children.
And so we press on together. Striving toward godliness and contentment. I desperately want my children to see and treasure each gift they’ve received. While they may not be large and expensive gifts, they are no less important.
Gratitude. It’s something God has been teaching me lately, and raking me over the coals about it. Over the last two years, I’ve been deeply challenged by Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. In it, she teaches the reader to deeply see and appreciate the daily gifts that God gives. She challenges the reader to physically record in a notebook the daily blessings, both big and small. I have done this (off and on) for a while, and am so thankful for how it changed me. My outlook on “gifts” changed dramatically. What was once just a pretty sunrise now feels like God’s “good morning” to me. A gift. What was once a simple supper with my family has become a time of fellowship around the table, sharing in the great bounty that He provides. A gift. Grocery shopping, once a dreaded chore, now gives me great joy, knowing that the money to purchase the items comes directly from God. A gift.
And you who read my blog? You’re a gift to me, as well. Thank you for taking your time to read my words, which directly reflect my heart. I know that not all I say will resonate with everyone. You probably won’t experience what I feel or think, or necessarily agree with what I say. And that’s okay. The fact that I can openly share what God teaches me is a great blessing to me. And I hope it is to you, as well.
For those of you who might understand my words in this post today…those of you who have children asking hard questions…let’s press on. Teach. Encourage. Pray. And maybe even open a gift or two together. Write that gift down on paper, or have your child draw it in a journal. These gifts are all around us, just waiting to be found, opened, and appreciated.
And maybe, with lots of practice and prayer…this act of recognizing gifts both big and small will not only encourage us, but those around us, as well. Maybe that pull toward comparison or jealousy will lessen, knowing full well that we have all we need. And anything above and beyond that is just icing on the proverbial cake. A gift, as well.
Do you have a story of a gift that you’ve opened? I’d love to hear it!