The contrast is bold as I’ve heard stories told. Families staying in shacks and then the homes filled with silver and gold. One with not much, but grateful for everything. Then others with plenty, but who are drowning. Not saying that all who are poor are grateful and all who are wealthy…aren’t. But it is something to take notice of, to stop, and peak in at their perspectives. Maybe even ask questions and walk around in their mind a bit.
“Society” shows success to be equated to that of large homes, the newest model of vehicles, and name-brand everything. But having those does not decrease the rate of suicide, drug addiction, and depression. For some, it exasperates the void. What is that void?
I’ve spent time within the last 10 years conversing with those of poverty and homelessness. I’ve sat with them and asked some difficult questions. What I discovered, shocked me at first. Now, I see that those people have tapped into something far greater than themselves. Far greater than self pity, far greater than a home, and far greater than worldly security.
So would I be bold to say that money isn’t the answer to emptiness? Sure, it pays bills, buys clothes, and provides a home. But, it isn’t substantial enough to fill a void. We could have it one day, and it could all be gone tomorrow. If so, is what’s in you greater than what is or isn’t around you? Would you last?
Growing up all the while comparing, I always felt as if I fell short. And that’s before social media. I felt if I had X, Y, and Z, then I would succeed. I became frustrated when it never seemed enough. I began to question myself and my beliefs.
God has been so gracious enough to have blessed me with many experiences within and outside of myself to help shape my view on what matters. Even within the past 2 years. My husband and I made a move 2 years ago across country to be closer to his parents. I was homesick and very depressed. I tried to get comfortable, but only found comfort in the far off goals I set for myself that would equate to success once reached. I felt good, felt like I would soon be on the track to success and happiness. Then God. He is so good.
He gently started to work on my lonely heart. I remember this one day, as I was picking up infant toys when He kindly asked me, “what are your priorities?” I recall being caught off guard by that question in my spirit, and it stopped me. Literally. I stood there, thinking. Well… a family that loves God first. Children that know without a doubt that they are loved by God and by us, their parents. I want my children to be clothed and fed. I want us to travel, even in an RV one day (so I can make coffee while my husband drives ;), I want a big backyard that changes as we all grow older, a home that’s welcoming and cozy, that invites you to have a cup of coffee or tea and feel loved. A chance to teach my children to garden and take care of pets. Time to play in the mud and splash in the rain. A home where hugs and I love you’s are endless and even annoying. To have my kids grow up knowing the importance of sharing their love with others. To know that the world is much bigger than the name on their jeans. To have more than enough income so that we can help others in need as we have been helped. To be grateful for everything and anything. All these things, God. All these things are priorities to me.
So, he gently nudged me and asked, “so what about those goals you made. Do they really matter?” I smiled and said, “no, no they don’t matter.” He replied, “then why are you chasing them?” Silence followed as I felt relieved. I felt I had permission to desire something different than what we tend to believe is success. And I thanked Him as I resumed in picking up the toys.
It then pieced together. All the headlines I’ve read, the people I’ve visited with, and the stories I’ve heard. Gratitude. Gratitude for the now and what is. Gratitude for the simple and the present. Gratitude for the difficult and challenging. For we can go through fire and come out without a scent. We can be in a lions den and not be devoured. We can allow all of the remnants of our experiences be weaved into a beautiful tapestry. A tapestry that has been seasoned with time and trials, and hemmed with gratefulness. A resilient piece of art that could only have been molded by the creator Himself. Molded, to allow to be shaped. To be soft at heart and eager to listen. Hungry to learn and quick to serve. Nothing else matters, not to me anyways. This life is a gift, no matter how ugly moments have been. You can become better or bitter, but you can’t be both. I don’t want to strive to become what I don’t ultimately want to be.
I challenge you today. To write down on paper what your priorities in life are. Then take a moment to gage where you are right now and what direction you are going in. What could you do different to be more effective in the journey set ahead for you?
You deserve it.
Be kind to yourself today,