Don’t Let the “Stuff” Distract You from the Substance!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo here we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving Weekend with the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales ads hitting us from all sides… Distracting aren’t they?  After awhile the deals do start looking too good to pass up– even when we KNOW we don’t need that new outfit or electronic “toy”. Don’t buy into the hype!  If we had all of the stuff in the world that tempts us, it still wouldn’t come close to God’s true abundant life.

For those of you unfamiliar with my blog, God’s word for me this year was Abundance, and I’ve written several posts exploring this theme.  While mostly, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of what is meant by this “Zoe life” from spiritual, emotional, and intellectual lessons,  I’ve recently also had the opportunity to look at physical abundance  (wealth as recognized by the world).  Now here’s the fascinating thing– money and possessions do not, in and of themselves, make a rich, full life. Those who experience God’s true abundance “get it” no matter how light or heavy their wallet.

I took this picture in the Hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles.  Can you even imagine what it would have been like to actually LIVE in this unforgiving environment? Talk about being constantly reminded of our flaws, hmm?  On the tour, guides told stories of the unhappy queen Antoinette.  Despite her uncaring reputation, she sounded like a really good mom who fought to raise her children with some privacy and sense of normalcy in their lives. While I snapped pictures, gawked at the paintings, the gold leaf furniture, and the crystal chandeliers like everyone else, I also couldn’t help but think of a certain English princess not too many years ago with the same sadness, and desires for her sons.  Life in a palace with priceless treasures might seem to be the height of elegance and prestige, but how many of us would really want to live in a glorified cage?

Americans (yes pretty much ALL of us) are very wealthy by the world’s standards.  Travel makes this so clear. So how come so many of us look around at this time of year and think we’re missing out?  It seems when someone places all of his/her attention on enlarging the bank balance and acquiring the stuff of life, they will never feel that it is enough… I was amazed at how many well-off travelers complained when they compared their “poor” circumstances to those with even greater financial fortunes. REALLY??  Where I would expect gratitude and joy at being able to visit all of these amazing sights, there were those who chose instead to be unhappy and bitter the whole time. You know there’s more to “abundance” than you once thought, when you find yourself feeling sorry for the wealthiest traveler on the tour.

Another way that our stuff can get in the way of living the full life Jesus promises is when we get so focused on the minutia, we miss God’s blessings.  Picture a tourist constantly looking through her camera lens.  While she concerns herself with aperture openings in low light, and how to keep her camera steady while we’re moving, she completely loses sight of the fact that she’s on a glorious moonlit gondola ride. In my book, capturing images of living abundantly is nothing compared to experiencing it!

Wishing you all a wonderful time of THANKFULNESS this holiday weekend! (and shopping experiences that don’t pull you away from the true, rich life God has in mind for you.)

I have so enjoyed learning about abundance this year from the Holy Spirit!  I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me next year!