To read the other posts in this series, start HERE.
After writing my last two posts, about comparison, the Lord started speaking to me about contentment and how to find renewed love with what we have already been given. Comparison and coveting come out of believing God hasn’t given us everything we “deserve” but the Bible tells us, “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV).
So if the Bible says God will meet all our needs, then why don’t we have everything we want?
And therein lies the difference – we have everything we need, not everything we want. There’s a big difference between having what we need and want.
The Lord loves to bless His children but he knows what our hearts need and what they can handle.
I don’t think any of us will ever be ready to receive everything we want in life.
I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 (NLT)
I want to share an example from my own life. For the last 6 1/2 years, while writing Ask Anna, I did countless house projects, organizing and decorating tutorials. Our home is beautiful and I’m so thankful for it, but every time I’d get a Better Homes and Gardens magazine, or a Ballard Designs magazine, I’d find myself comparing my home to the pictures in the magazines, and as my mother-in-law says, “it made me want to go kick my walls” and start all over. Every time I looked at one of those types of magazines I’d get discouraged and unsatisfied, wishing we had more money so I could make my home look like the homes in the magazine.
Blogging in that genre meant always trying to stay ahead of the trends, stay on top of the game, always having the prettiest pictures so you could get the most traffic, and it felt like I could never win. I was always unhappy when I looked to my peers and what they had in their homes, compared to what we had in our home.
The Lord finally convicted me of my comparison and coveting and told me to stop looking at decorating magazines. He reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for, and that He has provided us with a beautiful home, along with everything I need. He also encouraged me to remember back to when we picked out certain things in our home, when we redesigned spaces and how it made me feel at the time. Thinking back to that initial excitement renewed my love for my home and brought thankfulness back to the forefront of my mind.
It’s not a daily struggle for me anymore but it’s definitely one I still wrestle with from time to time. I love looking at decorating magazines but every time one comes in the mail I have to commit my heart to the Lord, renew my love for my home, and throw the magazines in the recycle bin.
The Lord is calling us to renew our love in every area of our lives where we are comparing and coveting. If you’re unsatisfied in your marriage, think back to when you were falling in love with your spouse and remind yourself why the Lord brought you together. If you’re unhappy with your car, remind yourself of how excited you were when you first bought it, and what a blessing it has been for all these years.
Believe me, I know it’s easier said than done, but what I also know is that it works. Taking ourselves back to the beginning, remembering our initial excitement, and reminding ourselves that the Lord will always meet our needs, will help us renew our love for those things. It will also help us to be more grateful for what we have.
I know I’ve said it in every post in this series but it all comes down to gratitude. The Lord tells us to be “Be thankful in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) He knows what’s on our hearts and our minds – when we are thankful, and when we are coveting.
The funny thing is that as I’ve worked through this in so many areas of my life, the Lord has continued to bless me. When I find myself completely filled with gratitude for all I have in life, the Lord surprises me and blesses me with something else (like in this post). It does not always work this way, so I’m not guaranteeing anything, but what I do promise you is as your life becomes filled with gratitude for everything you have, you will find renewed love for everything in your life. Your life will be filled with more peace and you will find yourself filled with the Joy of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.” Psalm 119:2 (NLT)
At the end of my life I want to be able to say my life was filled with peace, joy and generosity, not that I had more stuff, nicer things, or more money in the bank than everyone else. Wouldn’t you agree?
This should be the prayer of our hearts every day of our lives, so placing it at the end of each of the posts in this series –
God, empty out of my heart everything that is false – every lie, and every crooked thing. And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth – but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity that pleases you. May my satisfaction be found in you.” Proverbs 30:8-9a (tPt)