Sometimes though when I am expressing thanks during my personal prayers I create little footnotes in the back of my mind.
I am thankful for a roof over my head….but I wish it had hardwood floors and a bigger kitchen and a more accessible backyard.
I am thankful for warm clothes….but I wish I could buy those new shoes, sweater, etc.
I am thankful for a full belly….but I wish I didn’t have to cook it myself.
I am thankful for the love of my family…but why do I feel so worn down by the end of the day?
I kick myself for all of those little footnotes. I don’t want to just acknowledge my blessings but I truly want to be grateful for them, for the imperfectness of them, within each circumstance I find myself in.
Over the past couple of years I have become more and more disillusioned with our culture’s constant push towards more and more stuff. I have been caught up in it for too long feeling like those basic necessities aren’t enough and that I deserve more. I have dreams and hopes that I have mentally turned into essentials for my personal happiness.
We are a young family and as such are dealing with issues like paying off student loans, saving up for a home of our own, budgeting for extras like snow pants and family outings and it is hard to be patient through this time period and wait to accomplish personal and family goals. I found myself growing bitter and exasperated that the effort that I have put in so far towards these goals still has us moving at a snails pace. I am impatient, I want to accomplish everything RIGHT NOW!
I started looking more closely at my efforts and the smaller details. I started realizing that my daily pursuits did not match my long term goals. I have busied myself with stuff that eventually become clutter. Stuff to clean, to sort, to organize, to move from pile to pile, until finally it finds its way to the thrift store. My true goals and passions have nothing to do with this stuff that for so long I have accepted as a part of the daily grind. But I don’t believe it has to be, or at least not in such a massive way.
I had a friend introduce me to the blog becomingminimalist.com and since I have started reading I have come to many quick realizations. Realizations about the amount of stuff I am drowning myself in and how unnecessary a majority of it is. As I have made small changes to where I invest my time, my money, my thoughts, and my efforts, I have found peace. I feel as if I am not wasting the day, wishing it away but rather taking advantage of all the opportunities for special moments. I feel as if I am the best version of myself, the version God sees in me. I feel myself practicing true gratitude, doing away with excess and soaking in that which matters most. As a result, those footnotes have quieted and there really is more joy to each day.
I probably sound crazy but I cannot express how good it feels to pursue love, family, and personal growth rather than clothes, furnishings, and things.
Of course, I am not perfect in this pursuit, I still want many things, but I have seen the difference enough that it has lead me towards challenging myself more seriously (more on this later). I have felt a shift for the better and I truly believe that taking all the superfluous away has real and lasting benefits.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
I want to follow this admonition. I want to invest in that which cannot be corrupted. I want to treasure that which lasts. I know that as I do, I can be confident that I am living the true life I have imagined, I can be more thankful for what is before me, because in reality there is so much.