We Are So Rich

**I’ve returned from a much needed week-long computer break and I’m glad to be back! We had a very blessed Christmas, rejoicing in our Savior’s birth and enjoying special times with family. I’ll post just a little bit this week and then be more back to normal posting by next week. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday as well!**

gratituesdaynov093

It’s easy to complain about what we don’t have isn’t it?

I often find that in the fall and winter, as the stores are absolutely bursting at the seams with all sorts of gifts and goodies for eager Christmas shoppers, I notice a whole lot of things that I think I need. Suddenly my wardrobe seems more lacking than it did before, my home decor more sparse, my kitchen needing a few more additions, and on and on.

Discontentment is a sneaky thing. Just when we think that we’ve learned to be grateful for all of the abundant blessings in our lives, a quick trip to the mall brings out that ugly green jealousy monster in us (otherwise known as sin) and we start looking around with eyes that see only what we don’t have.

God has been so faithfully working away at this area of my life, chipping away the rough edges of greed and materialism and envy. Though I found that it did rise up again somewhat this Christmas season, I was so blessed to realize that (at least for the moment) the contentment side is starting to win out over discontentment.

I think that one of the main things that has changed in my heart and in my way of thinking is this… I realize now more than ever that I am rich. I’m not just saying that in the spiritual and relational sense (though that would also be true- I have a Savior who has met my greatest need, and I have been blessed with an amazing husband and children, and many, many other significant and beautiful relationships in my life).

What I mean is that I am really, truly materially rich. And most likely, so are you. I’m quite sure that most people in our North American culture would disagree with me. We don’t own multiple vehicles and the one we do own isn’t luxurious or new. We don’t live in a fancy house, and for that matter, we don’t own the one we do live in. I don’t wear designer clothes. The only purse I own is from a garage sale.

So exactly how do I define being “rich”? Well, for starters, I live in a house. With heat. And running water. It’s clean and sanitary (ok, except maybe the bathroom once in a while), with no insects or rodents to speak of. Our home has more than 1 or 2 rooms (in fact, it has 10 if you count laundry and bathrooms). Our furniture is not ratty or ugly (and for that matter, we actually have furniture). I have a closet full of clothing and much of it was purchased new. By my doorway sits 5 or 6 pairs of shoes. Even when our budget is tight, we don’t worry that we won’t eat. It might not be our favorite foods, but we have never come even close to experiencing hunger.

I live in a country where I can vote in a fair and democratic system. For the most part, the police and justice system is generally just and certainly not corrupt to the same degree as in many nations. I do not live in a war-torn nation, fearing midnight bomb raids or hearing random gunshots throughout the day. I go to sleep each night feeling safe. I do not experience the terror of fearing for the safety of my precious children. We have the freedom of attending church in public each and every Sunday, with no concern of persecution. We own more Bibles than I can count.

It is so easy to begin to swallow the messages that our culture wants to feed us… you need more, you deserve more, you should have everything you want, it’s ok to treat yourself, bigger and newer is always better. What we forget is that beyond the place that we call home are desperate nations full of desperate people. People who would consider the clothes in my closet beautiful and plentiful. People who would consider my home a palace. People who would wonder that I could ever possibly feel stressed about my grocery budget and the foods I feed my family. People who are hurting and needing so much that even the simplest of human comforts (a comfortable bed, a bowl of rice, a bath, a hug) would feel luxurious to them.

Whenever I start to look around and feel that I am somehow lacking something, I remind myself of these things. It doesn’t take long before that want or “need” dissipates and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all that we have been blessed with and asking God how we can give of ourselves more to those who are without.

Do you struggle with feelings of discontentment? How do you deal with them? And am I the only one who finds that the holiday season makes it harder?

Want to remind yourself of all that we have to be grateful for? Check out the other Gratituesday posts at Heavenly Homemakers!

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Comments

  1. I agree! My husband and I are recent college graduates renting a basement apartment and we are RICH! Though we have an income below the poverty line at this point in our lives, we have no debt, we always have enough money to get what we need, including healthy, yummy food. The fact that I am able to take a hot shower every day makes me more fortunate than millions of people in the world. We have the Lord and we have each other and we are expecting our first baby in a month or so. We are truly blessed. I often feel to say, “I am so rich.” I hope I can help others throughout my life because of the abundance I have experienced.

  2. I totally agree. We have so much to be thankful for! My hubby and I were just having this conversation yesterday, we have everything we really need all the rest is just gravy. I get frustrated when people complain and don’t cherish what they do have available. I just remind myself to keep a thankful heart and mind everyday! Thanks for sharing such a great post.
    .-= Amy Lynne´s last blog ..Goals for 2010 =-.

  3. Stephanie, thank you for the much-needed reminder of how truly blessed I am! Using this post for a devotional/discussion time with my family.
    .-= alexis´s last blog ..Family Update–December =-.

  4. Thanks for posting this! I was actually struggling with this issue this morning as I wrote yet more bills for necessities that all by themselves seem to drain our bank account every month – leaving so very litle left for any kind of “fun” spending.

    We are a family of three crammed into a very tiny one-bedroom apt. and I think at least once a day of how nice it would be to have an extra bedroom! I am a girl with incredibly expensive taste struggling to live with joy and contentment on a very tight budget! I know that the sacrifices our family is making now to live frugally and pay down our debt, etc. will pay off down the road, but is it ever hard to be patient!

    My wonderful husband works two jobs to provide for us so that I can be home with our daughter all day. As much as I miss him during the days (and sometimes nights) I am so thankful to be married to someone who is willing to work so hard for our family.

    Since we do not expect to be living in such tight circumstances forever, I believe that God is using this season to get our financial priorities in line and learn to resist the lure of materialism. I know that if we’re blessed with a larger income in the future, it will be even MORE difficult to surrender our finances to God and say no to accumulating more stuff.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  5. This was a great blog. I’m printing it out to hang on my fridge where I can read on a regular basis and share with friends and family. Thank You!

  6. I totally hear what Sheri commented. Both DH and I have been feeling the pinch in our small two bedroom apartment. My youngest sleeps in the living room at night because he would wake up the oldest. It is easy to say in my heart, “I deserve better/more than this.” But this is accusing God of not being faithful which couldnt be farther than the truth. What I deserve is the righteous wrath of a holy God, but all I will ever know is grace…regardless of what type of home I live in ;) Thanks for the great post and good reminder.

  7. It is easy to let those thoughts of what we don’t have creep in rather than being grateful for the abundance of what we have. I have to remind myself often to stop comparing myself to others that have “more” (materially) and to treasure the blessings that God has gifted me with.

    Thank you for another reminder!

  8. Great post. Happy New Year!
    .-= Sherrie´s last blog ..The party is over and I am ex-hausted! =-.

  9. I think its always ‘A Work in Progress’
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Themed Weddings =-.

  10. Well done good job of bringing focus to reality as it is not as we perceive it.

  11. I loved this post! I have had several conversations with my husband recently about the desire to be free of a materialistic drive. The society we live in marches to the beat of “more, more, more, more, more” and its very challenging to not live that way!

    One thing I have been doing is refusing to do shopping or browsing of any kind unless I know specifically of something I NEED to buy right now. That includes online browsing. I am hopelessly money savvy and love to find good deals but it just becomes so easy to fall prey to “OoOoO, it’s on sale, I think we need this…”

    1 Tim 6:6-11

  12. Beautiful Post….thanks for sharing and reminding each and everyone of us that we are Truly Blessed even more so when Christ is the center of our hearts.
    .-= Pamela @ Seeds of Nutrition´s last blog ..Nourishing Traditions and Julia Child: Part III =-.

  13. Wonderful post…well done!

  14. Truly awesome post. Thank you!

  15. Good thoughts. Something everyone deals with.

    I think women especially tend to compare themselves to others….and that’s where I find discontentment breads. It’s easy to be content but when you start comparing yourself to others…that’s a whole other story.

    I’m in the place now where I’m learning to be content. We all know that God has our lives in His hands. He knows the plan. For me, it’s time that I start living that trust out. Knowing he has me where he wants me, that I am learning to be content in Him alone.

    Sometimes, when I feel discontent I remember that I came to this world with nothing, and I will leave with nothing. It reminds me that this world is all so temporal and far greater things await me.

  16. I’ve been working on this for awhile, too. Now, when it comes to material possessions, I try to select only ones which will be most useful to me and which will aid me in living more spiritually. For example, small kitchen gadgets that would allow me to feed my family healthier food. And even then only if I don’t already have something that would work. I’m trying to select carefully, so that I don’t get caught up “must have need to have” thinking. I have never been overly materialistic, caring about things being new (my friends and I regularly raided Good Will as teens) or brand names. Which is good.

    I think it’s important to note that our culture tends to generally be negative. That is, if you walk up to a stranger and say “I am just having the best day!” they would assume you were bragging and not know what to say. Or if you said “I feel so happy, because my Lord and Savior is really there for me!” someone would be uncomfortable. But walk up to someone and say, “Ugh, I’m having the worst day!” they will sympathize with you. Our entire culture is built on a foundation of negative messages and backwards compliments.

    If you can’t tell :), the Lord has been working in my life to help me live for joy, to see the happiness and love and greatness of every day, of the ordinary. A song on the radio, a silly thing my daughter does, a smile from my son. I don’t see why we need to feel negative, when we can feel positive and be filled with hope and light.

    I think the materialism of our culture, the feeling that we never have enough, stems from this total lack of joy. Sorry for the book, you made me think. :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Baby-led Solids =-.

  17. I also have times of discontentment, and it does always creep up just when I think it is under control. We live in a very small 2-bedroom town home (5 rooms here, including bathroom) as a soon-to-be family of 5. We do own it, but that has turn out to be our biggest problem. It was always meant to be a “starter home”, but when the market crashed it became a little more long term. I struggle often with feeling stuck in a “too-small” house with no foreseeable way out. I am okay at times until I see others around me buying much larger house for so much less. We also have to remind ourselves that we are not poor by the standards of the world. There are many people who would gladly take our home. It also helps to remember that not all good things in life are material. I am blessed with almost 3 wonderful children, a loving husband, a stable income, and a wonderful extended family. We also try to tell ourselves that this cannot last forever – hopefully! Discontentment is defiantly a hard battle!

  18. Excellent post! We truly have so very much and are often tempted to think only of how “little” we have.

    Back in October I wrote a post on penny pinching that included my view of thinking I’m rich too. Here’s a link to it:

    http://farmhomelife.blogspot.com/2009/10/does-penny-pinching-really-help-much.html

    Take Care,

    Trixie
    .-= Trixie´s last blog ..Winter Sights =-.

  19. Stephanie-

    What a wonderful post!

    I struggle with discontentment quite a bit. I am a young mother trying to find my way… I often focus more on what I think we don’t have instead of what we do. I think whole-heartedly that the Devil uses this and has a field day with it in my life.

    My New Year’s goal in short is to want and take care of what I have and not worrying about what I don’t.

    God is always faithful. Thank you so much for being His messenger today.

    Jodi
    .-= Jodi aka One Blessed Mama´s last blog ..New Year’s Goals! =-.

  20. I can definitely relate! The holiday season is really the only time I do venture to the mall (after collecting a few gift cards from loving family members), and every time I go I see so many cute outfits and pairs of shoes that I’d LOVE to have. I see all of the trendy people wearing the newest style, and suddenly I feel so frumpy and discontented with my own appearance. Kids clothes really tempt me big time too! There are SO many cute little outfits I’d love to get my kids to replace the worn hand-me-downs they have. But then, I return to my humble home, away from all of the commercial influences, and am once again grateful for all that we do have. Thanks for this reminder!!