Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wastin' Wishes

When my husband was a kid, he would wish for things he couldn't have or didn't need--like a new bike, a designer shirt, or staying up an extra thirty minutes--and his mom would say, "You're wastin' wishes." It annoyed him then, but he has since realized that wasting wishes means wasting your time. When we are always wanting more, we miss out on what we have.

It's easy to be distracted by all the stuff. I don't necessarily want a new house, but you can bet that I want the house we have to be clean (wish #1) and I'd like it to be decorated as perfectly as the houses on HGTV (wish #2). I can wish for more money (#3) to use for decorating and maybe even some landscaping out front (#4). I can look at the clothes someone else is wearing and wish for a new wardrobe (#5). When I pull up beside a shiny SUV in my dirty van with the bumper falling off and a missing hubcap, I can feel poor and wish we could bu a fancy new vehicle (wish #6).

Our wishes could go on and on, couldn't they? Having an SUV or a landscaped yard aren't bad things. But when I'm disgruntled because our neighbor's yard looks great or I'm embarrassed to pull my vehicle out of my garage, those wishes rob me of both my time and my joy.

Have you ever been caught in the trap of wishing for things that you don't really need and can't afford? Have you found yourself irritated, finding that the source of your unhappiness is rooted in wishing for things to be different? Talk about wastin' wishes!

Again, it's not that having nice things or going shopping are bad things. It's when the nice things consume our thoughts and emotions and get in front of our relationship with God that they become a problem. When we are caught up in the stuff, we miss the joy. Proverbs 13:7 puts our wishes and wanting more in perspective:

"A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life" (The Message).

Luke 12:15 warns us to "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (or the school his child attends, or the job he holds). I have often told my children that we might not be rich in money, but we are rich in relationships--with God and one another. They believe it and have reminded me on my "wastin' wishes" days that we are rich because we have "the coolest family in the world."

We've all been guilty of comparing what we have with what others have. It is a trap. Don't fall for it today. When you catch yourself wishing for things to be different, stop and say thank you for what you do have. You are worth far more than the abundance of your possessions. When you are wishing for more things, remember that a showy life is an empty life. Instead, focus on being "rich toward God' (Luke 12:21 The Message). We've been given so much. How could we waste wishes, wishin' for more?

Lord, our society is filled with things we "need." Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between what we really need and what we want. Please help us focus on what You have for us. When our eyes become distracted by "stuff" or another family who seems to have it better than we do, remind us that we are rich because of our relationship with You. Our family members alone represent wealth beyond measure. Help us to be on guard against all kinds of greed. Thank You for not counting our worth by our possessions. Teach us not to fight having a plain and simple life but to value that simplicity. Wishin' for all You have for us, we pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

from Laurie and Sharon's book Hold You, Mommy

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