Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"To be Content or Not Content"

So many times I hear people talking about wanting new things. Ipods, PS3's, guitars. Yeah I'm sure those would be nice and all but how do they make a person more happy?

Doesn't happiness really come from the feeling one gets when spending time with people they love or like or serving with a ministry or charity? I'm learning that for me the desire to buy something new isn't so much about the new thing. It's more about the fact I bought it. And though it seems great at the time there's no guarantee it's going to be great six months later. If it's an electronic item it may even be outdated.

So how does one decide what they should buy or not buy? Well, needs are easy. Food, clothing, shelter, etc. But what about wants? I've been praying about this and God has shown me to look a lot deeper than just the act of wanting new things. He has shown me that every desire starts with a thought. How far we take those thoughts is our choice. But if we put these buying conquests at a higher priority than God we very quickly become a slave to our “buying” and unfortunately there is no end to any of it.

I used to collect toy cars (Hotwheels) and figurines. To be blunt it was never my heart. I just desired to have something that was considered rare or sought after. God kept showing me the words of the Apostle Paul.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."Galatians 6:13-15

I was fanatical with my collectibles. Some stuff I wouldn't even take out of the boxes. I was obsessed with the condition. A scratch would bother me because in my mind my collectible had lossed value. I no longer had the pristine packaged figurine anymore. I didn't see it at the time but it was never about the stuff. It was a reflection of my worth. Deep down inside I didn't want to be known by my friends as the adult who collected toys but I was trapped.

About the middle of September I felt the Holy Spirit calling me, “Mark sell off your stuff”.

So I did. Took a huge loss but basically got rid of everything except for a gift. I'll never forget the feeling I experienced after that. Even though the world would have said I had been severely ripped off, I didn't care. A huge weight had been lifted. It literally felt like shackles dropped from my feet and hands. I was free. And the worth I had felt at that time was priceless.

Now that I'm not looking to further any kind collection of things in my life I feel quite content. God has called me to forget about the pursuit of my happiness through stuff. Instead focus on building friendships with people.

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