Not really. What could be wrong with any place that has a high probability of a good shoe sale? Can I get an “Amen,” somebody?
I’m not much of a shopper, mostly due to a high aversion to crowds of people, but I went to the mall a few weeks back to pick up a few things. It was during the middle of the day, so I hoped to steer clear of the imaginary angry mobs that I tell myself congregate at the entrance.
I was a woman on a mission. I knew what I was looking for and where to get it. But as I passed one store after another, it wasn’t long before my tunnel vision was interrupted. I spotted a window display with this great plaid sweater that would have gone perfectly with a pair of ankle pants I had at home. Next, I zeroed in on a pair of distressed skinny jeans that I felt like I really needed to have. Then, I couldn’t help noticing the absolutely cutest pair of black ankle booties! I decided that my quality of life would diminish by at least 25 percent if I didn’t purchase them immediately.
I did the math and realized that a) none of these little gems were in my budget b) not-a-one of them had anything to do with my reason for taking this little field trip.
That’s when it happened.
Before I could object, something ugly, unsightly and downright grotesque welled up inside of me.
I was so upset about all the things I just had to have but couldn’t get. I also became royally annoyed at all the other shoppers, who held hands and skipped around me, singing at the top of their lungs and buying up all the stuff that was supposed to be mine! (That last part may or may not have really happened).
Ever been there? The place where the cup is always half empty. The place where you can’t be thankful for what you have because you’re consumed with all the stuff you don’t have. The place where you can’t celebrate what’s right because you can’t stop thinking about what’s wrong. The place where everyone else has “it,” while “it” always slips from your grasp.
It seems that no matter what we have, there’s a tendency to yearn for more and be unsatisfied with some facet of our current situation.
I think that’s what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Although this woman had paradise at her fingertips, she lost sight of the big picture and began to focus on the one thing that was off limits to her. She could’ve had her fill of “all kind of trees” that were “pleasing to the eye and good for food,” (Genesis 2:9), yet she allowed herself to be deceived into thinking that something God clearly told her would bring pain (Genesis 2:17) would bring great benefit. Eden, as God intended it, wasn’t enough. She wanted more, and she wanted it on her terms.
Do you have an area of your life where you can identify with Eve? Have you ever faced a situation where your status quo just wasn’t good enough and you were tempted to blaze your own trail in an effort to get ahead, even though you knew God would disapprove?
Let’s make a deal, you and me. The next time discontentment bubbles up in our hearts, let’s resolve to do something different, something radical.
We might make the evening news for this one. You’ve probably noticed that thankfulness seems to be the antithesis of the contemporary American mindset. Nonetheless, God instructs us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18). When we’re overwhelmed and feel like our minds are clouded with thoughts of discontentment, we can pray and ask God for help – with an attitude of thanksgiving! (Philippians 4:6)
What’s one thing you can do this week to cultivate a heart of thankfulness?