If so, you know a little bit about Darcy. Confident, fun-loving, selfish.... Darcy is all about Darcy.
We want to hate her, you know? She has everything on the outside - looks, career, fiance - she has everything that she wants. Does some small part of us want a bit of her life...just for a second?
I've been doing some self-reflection lately. Digging deep, you know? In many ways, I am sooo much like Darcy. I have a selfish heart. It's true. I want things for myself. Lately, I've been wanting stuff like this:
Aren't these shoes to die for? So hot and on trend right now. But, these shoes aren't for free. They cost a pretty penny that just isn't in our "monthly budget." Sigh. But they are pretty. I want them.....
Or, with it being summertime, I would love to take off on an European adventure. Maybe go somewhere like this:
Raleigh and I could walk the streets of Rome, hand in hand, enjoying the architecture. When we needed to rest our feet we could taste authentic Roman gelato. At night, we could sit at a dimly lit table and eat a whole Roman pizza that literally came out of a 100-year-old brick oven....and then do it all over again the next day.
Wouldn't that be nice?
You see, lately I've been trying to distinguish between my wants and my needs. Growing up, (my parents will admit to this) I basically got whatever I wanted. My car, my clothes, trips....the list can go on and on. As a teenager and college student, my wants and needs were basically about my future - where to go to college, what to major in, would this dress be suitable for rush - pretty basic stuff in the grand scheme of things. Now, as a married gal with two babies in tow, I've had to do a bit of a prioritization.
What is really important? What really are my needs and wants?
Do I really need those new shoes or do I just want them? Would it really be realistic to jet off to Europe on a one-person family income? The answers to both of these questions clearly fall into the want category.
I don't need either of these things....or do I?
Whenever I hear people talk about having a satisfying life, they usually mention stuff like "doing things for yourself" or "take a trip with your spouse" to keep things going. Well, wouldn't buying these hot mamma shoes be something that I could do for myself? Or, wouldn't a trip to Rome make the flame burn even more in our marriage?
As much as I want my mind to justify these things into the "need" category; I just can't. It isn't the right time for those things. Of course, they would be nice but are they really what is most important in life? During my time of self-reflection, Raleigh and I have been discussing what our goals for our family's future are. We have slightly different views on this but one thing remains the same: we want our family to grow up loving one another and the Lord. All the things in between are still blurry - but we know that is the end result. During our conversations, the reality of this statement has become more clear to me. Sometimes loving one another means adding more children (in the future - promise!) instead of taking a nice, romantic trip. Or, loving the Lord means giving up my "shoe money" for something a little more important - like giving offerings above our monthly tithes or helping a family adopt. Deuteronomy 15:7 says, "When you happen on someone who's in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don't look the other way pretending you don't see him. Don't keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don't count the cost. Don't listen to that selfish voice saying, "It's almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled," and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He'll call God's attention to you and your blatant sin."
When I was younger, I pretty much just assumed that if you had a good paying job you could afford to buy the things you want in life. Now, as an adult, I see it much more of a choice. God gives us the freedom of choice; not only with our service to him but our daily life decisions. We can't cut God out of this - when we do; our choices become selfish. We are drawn into the marketing of today's society thinking that life is all about what we want. Friends, it just doesn't work this way! It's taken me a while to figure this one out but it is the truth. Sometimes we have to make the choice of sacrifice...doesn't that sound like somebody we know????
But, take heart. There is joy in the sacrifice. When we make the choice to sacrifice our wants, our needs are always covered. Isaiah 58:11 says, "The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." I also think there is reward....maybe not a reward we will see today -like the shoes or Rome - but it will be a reward that is much more gratifying. First Samuel talks about how the Lord rewards those for their righteous behavior. When we have faith that He is going to take care of us, His face shines upon us and gives us strength to make those tough choices in life. In the Bible, so often terms like "the harvest" or "reaping" are used. I looked up the definition of these two words and the dictionary said that harvest was "the time or season of such gathering" and reap was "to obtain as a result of such effort." Many men - like David, Job, Boaz - were wealthy men in the Bible. But, they all had to make hard choices and learn the process of harvesting before they could reap the rewards of their choices. In life, we go through many seasons with our finances. Some seasons are plentiful and others are scarce but I want to believe that when God sees the choices we make each day with our finances, He will provide everything we need - and more - in the future.
So, maybe I'm not getting the shoes or the trip to Rome today. But who's to say that it's never going to happen? Maybe it is or maybe it isn't - but I have to be content in knowing that either way is fine by me.
Till next time, let your light shine!