From time to time I like to get out at lunch. Stretch my legs; breathe the fresh air. My outings tend to have a purpose; a letter to post, a present to buy, a cheque to cash. But en route I always end up gazing in the windows of the shops I pass. The lovely shops, the shops that I will buy clothes from one day when I can afford them, the shops that lovely ladies buy clothes from. And here begins the resentment.
I don’t know why, but when I wander past these windows my mind wanders to a place where I am unhappy with myself, unhappy with my current situation, and unhappy with how I dress.
For some reason I believe that the day I can buy my clothes from these shops I will have ‘made it’. I will look better, be happier and have a more satisfying life. I mean, that’s what the women who buy from these shops feel, right? It only makes sense that when I can afford the more expensive clothes I will be in a better place in my life, right? Because I’m obviously not there yet, am I?
As I wandered with my feet and my mind, I caught myself defining my life and myself by what I was wearing, or rather, what I wasn’t wearing. I wasn’t wearing the things in those shops, the lovely shops, the shops that I will buy clothes from when I can afford them. So therefore I wasn’t there yet…I hadn’t yet made it…I wasn’t content.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I have seen first hand those who are in need, real need. And I know that whatever little I have in my world is more than plenty compared to what I need. And yet it is so easy to see and long for more. To be defined by things, possessions, gadgets, fashion.
Too often I give excuses for my life as if to apologise for it not quite being the life I dream of or the life I think others expect of me. The picture perfect life I see in films and magazines. The life that will show the world when I’ve ‘made it’. The life that I imagine when I go window shopping.
But what is it like to be truly content with what I have, and who I am? To be truly content whatever the circumstances? To be truly content right now, right here?
I still don’t know, but I know that God is helping me to understand. Slowly I am beginning to see when I let my mind meander along the road towards insecurity and discontentment. Slowly.
I pray that God will help me to catch these thoughts and hold them up to His light before just accepting them. That He’ll help me to see my life and myself the way He does. To know the true value and significance of the things I have, and to recognise the importance of how He defines me. To realise the fleeting nature of material things and possessions. And to strive for treasures that will impact on eternity. Whether I’m wearing clothes from the lovely shops or not.
Photo from flickr