7.18.2014

luxuries and entitlements…{part 1}


{well, it seems I got a little passionate and wordy about this topic and started blabbing away, so I cut this into more than one post….so maybe you'll actually read it all!}

Matt snapped this photo a little while back when the weather was wonderful and enjoyable…as it surprisingly was again this week!  We stayed outside all day, I wouldn't even let them play inside...which they didn't mind much anyway.




It may look like I'm smiling for the pic, but as I said on instagram., I was actually holding back tears trying to read excerpts from "Kisses from Katie" to my kiddos, which they eagerly waited to hear.  

We have so much in this life, yet we are missing a fullness in Christ because of all the "stuff and comforts" we find in this world instead of in Him. 

Especially with how this world has gotten more and more connected, we've probably all seen or read of poverished places all over the globe…countless times. Yet, how easily is it forgotten the next time we pick up our morning latte?

{but wait just a sec, coffee was the first luxury that came to mind, but why is coffee always mentioned as the crime luxury when people try to get us to think about money we spend on things here?!  what about hot water, cable, junk food, shoes, etc? just sayin}

Reading about lives in other parts of the world is so eye opening...so awakening.  Not only should it wake us up to what we can do for others in need, it should also wake us up to how we live our own lives right here. In two main ways, it's making me think a little harder these days about my comfortable little life in the states....

1. seeing how much we see as entitlements and 
2. letting all the "luxuries" be our comforts instead of Christ.

{I could go on and on about many more eye openers, but I'll refrain for now!}

Maaaannnn, I take SO much for granted and feel entitled to TOO much, it's ridiculous!  If I feel entitled to anything, apart from Christ, it's too much! I wish we could see ourselves in the grand picture of life and how silly we are!  how sad actually! You know, we could all probably agree on these ideas, but then how much do we really let them penetrate our lives and change our hearts?? change our days?  Our actions speak louder than words, right?

You've heard of first world problems, I'm sure.  So, yes, I'm getting better at recognizing them these days and not letting them affect me {like shower running out of hot water...puh-lease!  Seriously, how many times have I gotten aggravated at that in my life?}, but as my eyes open to them more and more…mainly as I find myself correcting or encouraging my children in them and being convicted myself,  I just feel sillier and sillier thinking of all the times in my life I've gotten my feathers ruffled by a million little things.

They are luxuries, not entitlements. This is what I'm finding myself teaching my kids more lately.  And, if we saw it as that - as luxuries, we'd just be grateful for what we DO have and not ungrateful and focused on what we don't have. Some of these instances may not seem so serious, but some are. Yet, all of them show where our hearts are. 

So…..these material luxuries, I don't even know that I'd call them blessings, as we like to say we are so blessed here.  Maybe in some ways they are, but not when they take me away from my Jesus....not when my heart's wrong in them.

like when Katie said…
"I hadn't realized what a transformation had taken place while I had been in Uganda, the spiritual richness I had experienced in material poverty and the spiritual poverty I felt now in a land of material wealth."

YES…..spiritual poverty because of an abundance of material luxuries.  

I'm not saying it's always the case or that just because you're wealthy in the world's eyes, you're spiritually bankrupt.  not at all.  I think it's just as Jesus said about it being easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  The material assets can be so stinkin' distracting and deceiving!  It's hard to see our need for God when we are blinded by so much of the world.

But, until we, even WE, who wouldn't typically count ourselves as wealthy, really open up our eyes, and pray and ask God to show us what materialism entangles, distracts, and hinders us, we will just continue to look the other way and not think this is really about us.

WHY else are so many people running to the hills these days for a simpler life???  We are seeing that these "things" are taking us away from Jesus and living for Him! I think God is waking up our generations as He connects the world more and more. We are not responsible for everyone, we can't carry that burden, but nevertheless, people across the world are becoming our "neighbors"…. we are responsible to help who He leads us to help. And when we can't help, it's still beneficial even as He just uses it all to let us gain new perspectives of the lives we live here.  He can give us right perspectives as we come to see the rest of the world and really grasp their existence.

I've been praying lately for God to show me the ways I run to little luxuries in this world or little things that make me feel better when I could and should be running to Him instead for my comfort, joy and peace.

What Katie said hit home with me….

"I thought of how, after a long, hard day in my previous life, I would have crashed on the couch with a pint of ice cream, a good sappy movie, and my closest girlfriends.  Here at the end of a long, hard day, there was nothing to do but cry out to Jesus for the strength to go on."

nothing to do but cry out to Jesus

she writes many, many touching points and truths in her book, and these are the simple little things she has said that stood out to me most.  so simple.

So, I am asking myself...

What do I "crash on the couch with?!" What comforts are taking me away from Jesus? and What "entitlements" are distracting my heart from gratefully gazing at Him and living a generous life?

And the sweetest part of it all….while Jesus basically commands us to live zealously for good deeds {after all, it's one reason He died for us! Titus 2:14!}, He doesn't force it on us….yet He blesses us beyond measure when we finally find Him as our all in all and die to ourselves….

"In my mind, these people had every reason to be despondent and downcast, but they were the most joyful human beings I could imagine.  I learned so much from them as they made my frustrations seem small and petty and taught me just to rejoice in the simple pleasures God had surrounded me with.  Once I could do this, I embraced extreme exhilaration; I felt closer to God, to myself, and to the people and more alive than ever before."
 ~Kisses from Katie, emphasis mine

xoxoxo
 



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