Good morning, all! I hope you had a fantastic weekend! I traveled to east Texas to celebrate my grandmother’s 100th birthday. Wow!! She’s such an amazing woman, and I wish you could all meet her and know her.
The drive to east Texas was about three hours each way, and road trips by myself are always a good time for me to think, plan, dream, contemplate, etc.
So what’s been on my mind lately?
I thoroughly enjoy writing a blog about interior decorating. Decorating is so much a part of me that I think about it constantly, and my mind is always coming up with new creative ideas.
However, there are pitfalls. One of them is this constant focus on stuff. Material things. Worldly possessions.
With such a focus on material things all of the time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming envious of others–envious of their beautiful homes, envious of their time they have to work on their homes, envious of their beautiful stuff.
I’m trying to learn to be content with what I have. Content with what I don’t have (but really, really want!). Content with where I am in life. And believe me, it’s a constant struggle, and I’m continually having to keep myself in check.
I live in a tiny condo that isn’t anywhere near being finished, and I’m doing all of the work on my own, as time and money allow. If I think about it too long, I can easily become overwhelmed and anxious. I can easily become envious of those people with the large, gorgeous houses where everything is beautifully decorated, and they have more than enough storage space for everything they own.
But one thing I’ve come to realize is that things aren’t always what they seem on the outside. Appearances can be deceiving. And those people who I look upon with envy may not have it all together like they portray. Oh, I’m sure some of them do, but not all of them.
Every time I find myself struggling with discontentment, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a man about a year ago. He was doing some work on my client’s house, and every day he would pull up in his big, nice, new truck…and the envy would creep in as I would glance from his beautiful truck to my not-so-pretty little car.
Then one day, he began telling me about his house, which was already about twice as big as my condo, and how they were making plans to add on to their house to create a bigger, nicer home with more space…and the envy grew a bit stronger as I thought about how my tiny little condo has virtually no storage space and really small rooms. As the conversation went on, and he continued telling me about his stuff, I kept feeling more envious of his situation, and more resentful of my own.
And I stewed in my envy and discontentment and resentment for a few days…and then I learned the rest of the story…
Later that week, this man told me that he and his wife were so far in debt that his wife had to go back to work. So while he worked days, she worked nights, just so that they could make ends meet. He said that they were trying desperately to refinance their home, but so far the bank was being uncooperative, and he wasn’t sure what would happen to them if they couldn’t refinance. He told me that he was working as many hours as he could, even picking up odd jobs in the evenings and weekends, just to bring in as much money as possible so that they could stay afloat.
At that moment, I felt so foolish for having been so envious of his situation, and for growing resentful of my own. Yes, I have a tiny condo that is far from being finished, but it’s a tiny condo with an even tinier mortgage that even in the most dire financial circumstances, I feel certain that we could surely pull together enough money to pay it. And yes, I have a not-so-pretty little car, but it runs well, it gets me from point A to point B, and best of all, it’s mine. A bank doesn’t own it. I own it. And while I don’t always have the ability to run out and purchase any and every thing I want, I also don’t have thousands of dollars of credit card debt weighing heavily on me. Matt and I have a very strict cash-only policy. If we want something, we pay for it in cash. If we don’t have the cash, we save up for it.
No, things are surely not always what they seem. And being envious of another person’s stuff, especially when you don’t know the details of their situation, is an exercise in futility, and will only breed discontentment and resentment.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. –Matthew 6:19-21
I’d love to learn this lesson once and for all! But I still need almost-daily reminders.