"sometimes simple feels more complicated" - yes! i screamed. finally, someone put words to the floaty thoughts that have filled my mind since our downsize. we sold our house almost exactly one year ago, along with all of our furniture (except for a bunk bed and a black file cabinet - things with zero sentimental value but for some unbeknownst reason, were the two things that made the cut), we live on the smallest income we've ever lived on, no retirement fund, with no assets (unless a 10 year old car counts?), and guess what? i have the exact same problems i had when we had all the stuff. i still think the grass is greener on the other side.
and so goes the human experience of depravity - wanting what we don't have. "we were made for contentment, but ever since Adam decided that God wasn't enough, contentment has been a problem for us all (-Trent Hunter, for The Gospel Coalition)." the good news is that Christ died for our discontent hearts, and one day, they will be made perfectly content again in His presence. so how do we live in this world, while longing for the next, and grapple with the discontentment that often fills our minds and lives?
we need to train our minds to believe that God is enough. one of the ways this plays out, is where our joy and happiness's lie. i think Christians (myself included) have exchanged the greatest of all joys, (JESUS!) for the lesser gifts he gives. Jonathan Edwards says, "every taste of beauty in this world is a drop from the ocean of divine beauty. every pleasure is an arrow pointing back to Him." so if we are living in a way that delights more in the gifts than the Giver of the good gifts, we are inevitably never going to be content. let's think about how we give thanks.
anyone can give thanks. sometimes it seems like we have adapted it as some form of salvation, or at least, the secret key to living life well. it's good to give thanks, don't get me wrong. the psalms are full of thanks amidst much lament. anyone can give thanks for their delicious hot beverage of the morning, for a pretty bouquet of flowers, a new house, a new car, health, happiness, new outfits, children, spouses, the whole gamut. because of common grace, silver linings can be found by anyone, anywhere.
however, only believers can give thanks for the greatest gift of all, the Cross. not everyone can be grateful for eternity. not everyone can look to Jesus and know that whatever grief we're trying to cover by being thankful, will really be made new and no tear will be wasted. this is real hope. this is an eternal hope. i am afraid we're forgetting the riches we have in Christ and are instead trading them for the riches of this world, and really, there is no comparison.
i'm not saying to quit being thankful for the good earthly gifts God gives. i'm just saying there's much more to the story. and that bigger picture is what carries us through anything.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” - C.S. Lewis
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. -Colossians 3:2 ESV