A person’s life does not consist of his or her possessions. This is definitely a counter-cultural statement. Jesus taught this long ago, but it is very much applicable to today. He said that for a reason, too. Life is not about stuff. Our identity is not in our assets, bottom line or net worth. And it hasn’t been making us any happier, has it?
We basically have this whole thing reversed. We say our relationships are priority, but we take them for granted time and time again; our health is slowly but surely deteriorating as we deceive ourselves into thinking that processed foods won’t give us a heart attack one day. And it might not, but we might be feeling like crap right now from eating too much of x, y and z. You know what I mean.
The truth is we seriously believe our reality is so far from this or that person’s Instagram feed; our savings account is nowhere near where we’d like it to be, in fact, it might be non-existent at this point; we don’t see the change in our bodies after 3 whole months of going to the gym at the beginning of the year and we have just lost that beloved pair of jeans to an increasing waistline; we’re not as popular as some of our friends and co-workers; we don’t go on trips overseas as we see our Facebook friends do all summer long. And. we. feel. so. miserable.
Why? It’s quite simple: because we are discontent.
We compare and we covet. We complain and curse. We are lured away to pursue temporary things so that one day we can have that ideal result, that American Dream we were promised, all so we can feel fulfilled. Well, how’s that working out for ya?
This is not a strange feeling and the younger generation got bit by it as well. So many toys, but they’re never enough. They cry over the one thing they didn’t get for Christmas, but fail to see an entire room full of expensive and pretty toys that they once played with and have accumulated over time.
I don’t think we’re bored of our stuff, I think we just don’t know what it is we want. Think about it. Always striving, but never arriving. We want more when we could and should desire less. Why can’t we recognize we have gone beyond the ‘enough’ point?
I remember when we were younger, we never cared to finish dinner, because all we really wanted was dessert. So my mom would say something along the lines of, “you have plenty to eat, while many poor kids don’t; they would love to have what you have.”
Over the years, that instilled in me a thankful heart, not just because I had food to eat, but because I had many other things that many other people did not have the privilege to enjoy.
Maybe that’s the source of the problem: we are way too privileged. So much so that we feel entitled to more than we possess at this very moment. That is a downward spiral leading to more than just discontentment, but impatience, meanness, anger, bitterness, resentment, and depression. That’s the perfect recipe for a miserable life if you ask me.
Whenever I feel unhappy with life or circumstances, I have to catch myself, stop, and remember how blessed I am. I have a roof under my head, AC/heater, a car, a job, food, clothing, friends & family, health, and the list goes on. We lose touch with reality so easily, even more when we get sucked into the endless vortex of our social media feeds. Remember, social media is not perfect behind the scenes even though it shows a lot of green grass on the front yard.
If you currently believe your grass is not as green, then by all means water it. But I’ve learned that after genuinely giving thanks throughout a season of discontentment, I begin to notice that my grass was green all along, but the acute case of dissatisfaction had obviously made me colorblind to it. Such a simple cure to live a more meaningful life.
As the holidays approach, I challenge you to take 5 minutes everyday this Thanksgiving week and list 5 things you’re thankful for in your life. Because the cure to discontentment will always be gratitude. And we have plenty to be thankful for, don’t we?
Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of joy and contentment!