Coveting, comparing, and Christ

It’s been a LONG time since I have fought the sin of covetousness or have felt sucked in and drug down by comparing. I have other issues but those haven’t seemed to crop up in awhile. I figured I just didn’t struggle in that way, that I was simply “content” with the things God gave me. It’s hard not to be, he has given us so much.

And then it happened.

We were invited to a birthday party for my new friends daughter. And my new friend was a gracious host. She doesn’t live in a huge house but her home is very beautiful. Her decorating taste was very appealing to my eyes. Fresh paint, clean carpet, gleaming hardwoods, beautiful fabrics and accessories. Not over the top but tasteful. Everything was in its proper place, inside and out.

The order, cleanliness, and tastefulness of her home surfaced that old familiar temptation to covet and compare.

Our home is beautiful. I love our home and am so grateful God has entrusted it to us. It’s interesting though how something as simple as someone else’s clean, pretty home potentially can create feelings of inadequacy , or discontent, or wanting more in your own home. I found myself with this “decorating itch” that HAD to be scratched. And scratch I did! I started making a list of what we needed; new area rug, new bedding, more flowers, (because flowers are cheery and bright!) new paint, recover a few things, etc etc. I went to Hobby Lobby, TJmaxx, Walmart, and Home Depot. And then there was all the time spent online,….scrolling.

And more scrolling.

But I was struggling. Not only could I not justify spending the money, I was convicted over the amount of time the whole process of decorating was taking up. This itch was becoming an idol. And my gracious, glorious God will have none before Him.

In His mercy, the Lord kept putting truth before me.

“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.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I know that a pristine house is not only unrealistic for our family (Today, thanks to Jake, we have dead animal limbs strewed about our yard) but it’s also not going to be the thing that makes me happy. I think that is the core lie that Satan wants us to believe. That this will bring forever happy feelings. This will satisfy me. This will be the thing that does the trick. But I know in my heart that’s not true. I know it is impossible for me to find true joy in the material earthly things. I may find temporary happiness but it’s just that. Temporary. Fleeting. Lasting joy is found in the Lord and being surrendered to Him. My deepest joys have been found in reading and obeying His Word, in honoring Him in my marriage and parenting, in gathering with the body of Christ, in serving children in foster care,…… but buying new throw pillows? No. That joy lasts all of 24 hours and then they become rocks to jump on to escape hot lava and I’m torn between wigging out on my kids and being caught up in the nostalgia.

Today we sang Forever Reign and I had to ask myself if I meant what I was singing.

“I’m running to Your love. The riches of Your love, will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace. Light of the world forever reign….. my heart will sing, no other name, Jesus.”

If I’m honest, for the last week, that hasn’t been true for me. I have desired an immaculate and well decorated home over Jesus. This past week I have desired what the world deems rich over the riches of Christ love. But the conviction of those lyrics, confessing my misplaced worship, and the power of the Holy Spirit have rightly aligned my heart to His again. I know this is not the last time I’ll fight this battle. Fortunately, I only bought a few fake flowers that were on sale! :-/ But I truly am grateful that, even in my struggle, I’m aware of this truth. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Christ and His Kingdom are the only lasting treasures.

“But seek first the Kingdom of God…” Matthew 6:33a ESV

I deserve it!

People, we are so funny. Me. I guess I find myself funny. I’m sitting here having a wonderfully quiet moment. Caleb is toddling around, while our little gal, lets call her “Hope”, is napping. Hope seems fitting. We hope a lot of things for her future and we trust in God, the One who our hope comes from.

Anyway, “why do you think you’re so funny?” you might wonder.

Well, my wheels have been turning lately. And as I am having this peaceful moment where I can actually hear and sift through some of my thoughts I have this one in particular that made me giggle at myself. I thought, “you know what me? I would love to have a facial. No I need one. I mean I’ve NEVER had one. My skin needs whatever it is that they do in a facial session. I think I might even deserve one.” Well when that word comes in to play that’s when the laughter begins because one thing is for sure, if I deserve anything it’s a sack of rotten potatoes. Which just this weekend I discovered is the most disgusting smelling thing you could ever have happen in your pantry. Ever. I didn’t even know potatoes could rot. Just quit. I can hear your thoughts way over here. I went to cook some and they had produced this fowl smelling liquid that could only be compared to cat urine. And then I felt like the filthiest homemaker ever because “how on earth did I not know this was going down in my pantry?!”

What’s a post with out some funny truth 😉 that really happened and I’m not exaggerating even a little.

This idea of deserving.

de·serve
dəˈzərv/
verb
1. do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment).
synonyms: merit, earn, warrant, rate, justify, be worthy of, be entitled to, have a right to, be qualified for more……

I think generally when I consider what I believe I “deserve” in conjunction to life’s daily choices and grind it’s in the rewarding sense not so much “man I really stunk at having patience today, I deserve to be punished! Will someone please put me in the corner?”

Because of the messages the world bombards us with we have to fight extremely hard against thinking we are deserving of or are entitled to said thing. Practically everything, every where, caters to what people think they should have. I notice this now more than ever as Jason and I are trying to raise these little precious children into healthy followers of Jesus. Lets face it, we can more easily look at another human and see “wow you are so entitled! where on earth did you pick THAT up from?” To add to our flawed parenting the world keeps feeding them “you need this, you need that, satisfy your hunger, desire, craving, want! need! AS SOON as you possibly can because you deserve it!!! And if you are told wait or no you are deprived maybe even neglected!!!” I mean seriously our kids can barely make it a car ride with out us showing them real life photos of what starving children actually look like. “You are not starving!” And I admit, we are part of the problem as well. We live in and are fighting against the worlds subtle seducing lies and sometimes words like “starving” and “I need a chickfila sandwich immediately or I might die” have possibly come out of my mouth.

I really need to work on the whole “stay on point” writing characteristic.

What’s really had my wheels turning is the topic/phrase our pastor has been preaching on which is “Jesus is enough”. I really do believe that. So much that I want to put it into practice with, like, everything. I have been asking myself a lot lately “is Jesus really enough for you?” I have been evaluating my life, particularly my possessions, or activities I can engage in and thinking “if you didn’t have all this would Jesus be enough for you?” In moments of weakness, pain, sadness, anxiety, frustration, when my initial response is to fill myself with something worldly (shopping, pedicure, running, a girls night out, a phone call ect) I keep hearing in my head “is Jesus enough for you? Can He satisfy this longing or relieve this ache for you?” I admit I can be co dependent on a lot of things and people at times. Sometimes I look to other relationships before looking to Jesus. I look for something to distract me before turning to Jesus. It’s not that having people to talk to in your life is wrong, no we need the Body of Christ! And its not that doing things for yourself is wrong but sometimes I do stuff for the wrong reason, justifying it with my “scale of deserving” with out even laying it over to the Lord. When I do that I miss out. Often I’m only briefly relieving my ache/void because ultimately Jesus is enough, in fact He is IT. There is absolutely nothing in this world that can satisfy my soul like He does. There is no one that can offer words like His Word! (Unless of course they’re quoting scripture which is the best advice/encouragement we can give each other) 🙂

I have been really content lately. And it has caused me to wonder “if you were elsewhere, didn’t have “xyz”, if things were not this way….. Would He be enough?” The fact is I have absolutely no reason to be discontent. I have FAR more than I need or “deserve”. On a serious note I know what I really deserve. I know that we are not given what we deserve (Psalm 103:10) that Jesus rescued me from the eternal death I wouldn’t have been able to save myself from. I know God has given me more than I need, for reasons I will never be able to explain. I wonder all the time “how on earth did I end up here?” Ultimately when I reflect on my life, childhood to now, every single moment, I am on my face with gratitude for the privileges God has given me. But a lot of our focus can be more toward the “material” blessings. The tangible items. Because that’s what the world considers being “blessed”. Right? When you have a big beautiful home, nice car, money, nice clothes, taking vacations… All those things ARE a blessing but if someone doesn’t have them that doesn’t mean they aren’t blessed.

Phillippians 3:7-8 But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ…

In context Paul is referring to people putting all their stock in the old testament law. But so often I define myself, my worth, my value, on WHAT I have not WHO I have and Him being Jesus. I agree with what Paul says “all I want is Christ.”

Day by day Christ is revealing to me that some of the things I put a lot of value on, actually have no value at all in the scope of eternity. And that IS what matters. In fact I just had this thought: the idea that a bigger house with beautiful aesthetics, flooring, counters, painting, decoration, stainless appliances, nice cars, lots of shoes, clothing, accessories,….. Seriously I’m examining the contents of my life and thinking “wow, this is a lot to maintain!” Cleaning this big house, all the floors, all the laundry, keeping track of stuff so it doesn’t get lost, picking up, putting away, mopping, on and on and on…… What a distraction. Wow. Seriously this just happened in my head. I spend a lot of time trying to maintain things that ultimately don’t hold any weight in heaven.

I am not saying that stuff is bad. I just am wondering, “Could I possibly be missing out on even more of what He offers because I’m distracted with cleaning my oversized house and folding way.too.much.laundry. Because 7 days worth of clothing isn’t enough?” I know that I have more than I need but I don’t think I had considered that it could be a means of distraction. Could my energy and focus be on something more kingdom worthy? Instead of vacuuming this big beautiful home, that I am more than grateful for, could we downsize to what truly meets our needs and spend that time elsewhere? Could we be maintaining something that serves as a ministry? We can’t avoid maintenance! But I would rather be investing my energy maintaining a ministry than just the extra stuff, which we have a lot of. For crying out loud my husband has a vehicle sitting in our garage that is a beautiful piece of machinery, would be a hot ride for date night, (which then would qualify it as a ministry in my book!) but yet it just sits. Seriously a waste of space. Funny how I just threw him and his Camaro under the bus. I love you babe! 😉 Am I still typing?!

Y’all know I love that song, Jeremy Camp has a beautiful rendition as well as Fernando Ortega, Give me Jesus.

The lyrics are:
In the morning when I rise
Give me Jesus
When I am alone
Give me Jesus
When I come to die
Give me Jesus

But my favorite line is:
You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.

Jesus is enough. I want my life to be evidence of that. I think it may be time for a change.