Wednesday, May 5, 2010

keeping up appearances

photo from: Shery

Appearances are a funny thing. They can make you think that something is one way when it may be something else entirely.
I've been thinking about posting on this topic for a little while but for some reason, God has just really laid it on my heart this morning.
Do you ever feel the "keeping up with the Jones'" pressure? If you've never heard that expression before it's a lifestyle of having things bigger and better than another person. I see it all the time, even in our small town. Why aren't we happy with who we are and what we have? Why has our culture become a "I HAVE to have this now!" or "This will make me feel better if I have it!", "I'll be more accepted (or popular) if I have this." I'm talking about all people here, not just fellow Christians. God tells us Christians that we are to be satisfied in Him, but even other non-believers should re-examine their needs and wants.
What is it about someone's self-esteem that makes them feel as though they need the big house, and the expensive furnishings, the new trucks and the toys (oh, the toys! the boats and the quads and all the other un-necessaries?) And what example are we setting for our children??
I get a lot of people that say things to me like, "How do you do it all?" "I wish I could do all the things you do." but let me say that appearances can be deceiving. What you see on my blog here is me; there are no made up people, or animals, or ways of life. What you don't see though is the stack of laundry on my couch, the sink full of dishes, the used mini-van that seriously needs to be washed, the grass that needs mowed, the clutter on the kitchen counter. I'm a normal person with a normal life. Those things just aren't fun to blog about! :)
My husband and I live on one acre but are constantly dreaming of more. To get there though we need to keep our priorities in check. Hubby's truck is 11 years old. My van is 6 years old. Our home is small and old. We've never owned a new couch or a new vehicle. We live by the sweat (literally) of my husbands brow. Along with trying to save for something bigger though, we also have to remember that everything in the here and now is just a material possession. Nothing here is eternal. I don't need to have this and this and that to feel good about myself or my family. I am satisfied. I know that we love each other and that God loves us. And like the Beatles said, "All you need is love." Well, you do need a couple more things than love but not all the excess that we see nowadays!
How do you feel about this? Do you sometimes feel as if you don't measure up? Well guess what? You DO! Maybe not in the eyes of your boss or your neighbor but in the eyes of our Lord. He loves you, thinks that you are wonderful- yes, wonderful, and wants to give you the true desires of your heart.
Know that when you look at someone else and think, "Wow, I wish I had a life like theirs," that they have their issues too and most likely the more "stuff" they have, the less happy they truly are. Be thankful for what you do have, the things you've been blessed with, not what you don't have.
I think that if we could all take a step back and realize that all the "junk" lacks meaning that we'd be a happier society today.
**Can I also add that, to what degree are you willing to go into debt to have all these things? We're in over our heads in our homes, our counties, our states and our nation!**


Islay said...

What a lovely post. People often say to us that we're 'so lucky' to have the lifestyle we have (I'm a SAHM and we grow some of our own food, although not nearly as much as you clearly manage!), and I always try to point out that we're able to have this 'lucky' lifestyle because we've chosen not to have exotic holidays, new cars or even, usually, new clothes. It's all a matter of priorities, and I'm pretty darn happy with where our priorities are at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Heather, what a great and thoughtful post. There have been times that I have read other blogs and felt like my life doesn't even compare to the woman who writes that blog. Like how does she have perfect kids, sew, cook amazing meals, and have a weedless garden?!!

But I also have come to realize that people don't always put real life on their blogs. I think one of the reasons I was first drawn to your blog is because it's real life. Your kids get dirty. You live a simple, family life.
I admire you for that. Thank you for being real and honest with us.

One of the things I now strive to do with my blog, is keeping everything honest. I'm not going to straighten up the magazines and remove the dirty coffee cup if they so happen to end up in a picture. If there is laundry in the background, who cares!?

I think we all have to remember that every mom/wife has faults and imperfections. I am who God has made me to be... dustbunnies and all!

Have a great day, my friend!

CyndeJo said...

This is a wonderful blog post, well thought out
and said.

Kim said...

I love this post! When our house was broken into, the deputies made the comment that "from the road this looks like a good hit. Big house must mean big bucks." I was mortified when he started taking pictures of my very messy house! My house IS large, but so are the repairs. I haven't shown pictures of our downstairs bathroom that is gutted due to a leaky toilet pipe from upstairs.(It's been gutted for almost 2 years!) I haven't shown the mold growing in the other bathrooms, or our couch being held up by bricks. Our "boat" looks like a refugee boat (especially when there's 4 of us in it)and our vehicles need more maintenance than we can afford. I don't mention how difficult it is to homeschool 4 special needs kids at one time because I want to encourage others in their own journey. Looks can be deceiving and I'm guilty at looking at other people and wishing my life could be as easy as theirs! Since that's not going to happen anytime soon, I just have to practice contentment. And practice, and practice, and practice...;0)

allsewnup said...

Thank you for came to me at the right time. :o)


ktquilts said...

Amen and amen. Thank you for the timely reminder!!!


Mary Grace McNamara said...

How very true! I always love and often quote the line from Mary Poppins where she says "Enough is as good as a feast" and I truly believe it. Why do we need more than enough? What's the point? We can't take it with us when we go, and those left behind won't want our 'stuff' anyway! It's just baggage that comes between us and God.

Thanks for the reminder!


Mountain Home Quilts said...

Great comments everyone! :)

Sunday said...

Here, here...I heartily agree! We are country souls living on a postage stamp in the suburbs and sometimes the difference between us and our neighbors is very striking (such as my son playing in his patched up jeans as the neighbor pulls into his garage with his BMW). I pray that as our children get older that they will understand the difference between things and time. We try to very intentional in our lives, spiritually and physically, and I pray that they see the joy, love, and peace found in storing your treasures in heaven.

Thanks for the read, friend!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing post...I just blogged about this very thing the other week!

I think that things take our focus off from what really matters. I don't mind second hand...that was how I grew's how my children do. We don't want debt, so we save. Society lacks self-control in every area and it is detrimental to the future generations.

May we be those who teach contentment and practice it in our own lives as well. Thanks again for sharing!

Anonymous said...

What a great post Heather, especially in this tough economy! We all need to be reminded that what we have here on earth will pale with what God promises in eternity.

Unknown said...

Great post, Heather! I wish I had practiced more of this when I was younger, but over the years God has clearly revealed more and more to me how little physical things matter. It's a process for some; to let go more and more; to find satisfaction in Him and the gifts He chooses to give us; and to live in the present moment, not always looking ahead to something else.

I think the current financial "crisis" that America is finding itself in will serve to cause people to re-evaluate priorities; which would be a blessing within the trial! (Rom. 8:28) Too bad some will still miss the lesson.

FabricFascination said...

Great post Heather, and fitting with our national day of prayer today.

We can do without all our S-T-U-F-F, and in fact probably would be better off without a lot of it.

Pokey said...

Well said, Heather, this is a constant challenge in the world of today. I try to practice "in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content".

Laura Lane said...

Yours is a new blog to me, but I'm really enjoying your honesty as I look at your posts. I've written on this theme also.

Perfect I'm not.

My Jesus, well, He's absolutely perfect!

Your new blog friend,

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