“There’s just no pleasing you,” he said half joking, half serious.
And what’s terrible is that I don’t even remember what I did to earn that statement. That little sentence hung with me the rest of the evening. What had I done to communicate discontentment? Am I really someone that can’t have their needs met, who sends the message of “almost, but not quite”? Or even worse, do I communicate “that’s not enough”?
It was then I realize I had once again begun the pursuit of “more”, the pursuit of that bottomless pit of desire that leaves me unsettled. The pursuit that makes me put pressure on those around me to meet my ever changing, ever moving target of needs (read: wants).
More is an epidemic.
It’s an infectious disease that leaves even the most content of people craving. Wanting. Desiring. Wishing. Bargaining. Buying. Obsessing.
How did I end up here again? I thought after the last time, this time would end differently. I thought after I had received “more” and realized it didn’t satisfy, that the next time my cravings started I could talk sense into them. Logic. Rationality. (If you’ve met me, it’s okay that you’re laughing. Logic…ha…).
Why does contentment seem so elusive?
When is “enough” REALLY enough?
My sweet boyfriend, Adam, said to me one day (after a probably unnecessary Meijer run), “you really just like to own things, don’t you?”
I don’t know, do I? Do I have a general need for stuff, a need that surpasses function and goes straight to hording? Do I feel security in the things I own? This really got me thinking. I had never heard it put like that (or I had, and simply chose to ignore it).
I look around my room in slight embarrassment. It takes 4 different types of closets and dressers to hold all of my clothing. My craft corner is spilling out into the middle of the room. My scarfs have outgrown their 6-hook wall hanger. My shoes…oh man, my shoes! But the desire for more extends past a variety of clothing and cute scarfs.
The desire for more becomes a heart posture.
It becomes a way of living, in envy or entitlement, with a heart that can’t be satisfied.
I used to make the joke that I had “shoppers bulimia”…that I could justify my purchases because I would inevitably be returning at least one thing in my cart. I would let myself continue to buy with the promises that I would bring some back. And usually I did. I would continue to indulge in more, bargaining that later I would chose less.
The problem wasn’t that I bought two dresses and returned one later; the problem is that I was missing the point of self-control and contentment, or even the pure enjoyment of simply buying a new dress. It’s a limitless and surprisingly (or maybe obviously) unsettling feeling, convincing me that what I have could be better. Bigger. Numerous in quantity. More.
“Discontentment can be a battle with gratitude. A grateful heart is a restful heart.”**
When we look at what we have and don’t chose gratitude, so begins the feelings of discontentment. The unrest that tells us something is missing, that we have unmet desires and wants, masquerading as needs, convincing us to fulfill them. Our hearts are no longer at rest.
More even makes its way into my social calendar. It forces me to plan one more event than I actually have the time and energy for. It makes me greedy for fun, never knowing when to say “no”. It tells me that one lunch with a friend is fun, but three would be better. I surrender control of my week to the desire for more, leaving me tired, restless, and still feeling like I’m missing out on something.
More hijacks the time that should be given to my “home team”. Those closest to me are instead forced to claw and fight for my time, or just go without, when it should be set aside as a gift to them, the first-fruits of what I have to offer as a friend.
What would it look like if instead of owning things (materials, time, relationships) we chose to steward them? How would life change if we believed in a God who promises to take care of our every need (Matthew 6:31-33), and gave Him the opportunity to do so?
What does it feel like to live with a heart, calendar and home full of peace and contentment?
How will you tell yourself that enough is really enough?
How will you battle the temptation of more?