This month I reached out to a friend who has a great story and lives a fun life! Caroline has some great insights that I believe we’ll learn from as we head into this holiday season.
Often times we hear the phrase, “You were made for more” and in a godly sense, this can be completely true. We were made to love more deeply, give more often, speak more kindly, and pray more wholeheartedly. But in a worldly sense the word, more, means something totally different. Our culture today is telling us we deserve more, we need more and we can’t be happy without more. More stuff that is. They are also making it easier and easier for us to “buy” into that lie. With one click, you can have everything you’ve ever wanted to be delivered to your home in 2 days… FREE shipping too! But what happens after the little brown box shows up on your doorstep? What happens when the excitement wears off and that, once special, item ends up in the back of your closet never to be seen again?
For many years my oldest son begged us for a gaming system but we kept pushing his insistence aside. We didn’t want our child to spend his days playing video games and shoving his face into a screen. But we finally gave in and for his birthday we surprised him with a Nintendo Wii. It was used. Ten years old to be exact, and only had a couple games, but to him, it was the BEST THING EVER!!! Now fast-forward one year and my son is already wanting to save up his money to buy the newest and coolest gaming system on the market. Don’t ask me which one that is?! It seems like every year there is something bigger, better, faster and everyone has to have it. Don’t even get me started on iPhones.
Too many of us these days believe that contentment can be found in possessions. But in all honesty, the list of items we truly need in life is pretty short and you probably already have everything you need in your home right now. Jesus tells us in Luke 12 “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” What if contentment really is found in the opposite place you’ve been looking? What if contentment was found, not in accumulating possessions, but in having less of them?
In the coming months and years, we as parents, need to be mindful of what drives us to make certain purchases. Is it for security, acceptance or contentment? These things are not bad in themselves to desires but when it comes to materialism, they have limited ability to satisfy us long term. Solomon was a great example of such a life. He was the wealthiest King in Israel. He built houses and vineyards, he owned more livestock than anyone in Jerusalem, and he also had gold, silver, and female singers. He denied himself nothing. But at the end of his life Solomon wrote these words, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:11. He was disillusioned and learned that possessions and money didn’t bring happiness.
So, what does bring contentment and happiness? The bible tells us in 1 Timothy, to put our hope in God, the one who provides us with everything we need. We are supposed to be good, do good, and be generous with all that we have. By doing so, we will lay up treasures for ourselves. But they are not earthly treasures. In Matthew 6 it says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
There are more valuable pursuits in life than accumulating material things. I like to tell people, remove everything unnecessary and improve the purpose of what’s left. If you remove all the distractions, all the unneeded things in your life, what’s left? Possibly God, family, friends, nature, and lots and lots of purposeful and intentional time together. And like my pastor always says, “Love God, love others, and teach others to know and love God.” It’s that simple. That is where you will find true contentment and happiness.
This holiday season try to focus on the most valuable things you truly “need” in life. Spend more time in the word and more time with the people around you. And as for presents this Christmas, my son will NOT be getting that gaming system that he wants so badly. Instead of all toys and gadgets, our kids will be receiving gifts of experience, adventure and time. Things like season passes to the zoo, aquarium, museum, theme park, rock climbing, fishing, eating at their favorite restaurant, etc. The list could go on and on. See how your kids react to getting tickets to their favorite sports team or admission to a trampoline park for the day instead of a toy. You might be surprised at how well they handle it!
In what ways could your life improve if you and your family owned fewer possessions? Who could you invest more time in if you had fewer material distractions in life?
Caroline Hay grew up Indiana but now lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Kevin. She is a Homeschooling mother of 3 boys, Photographer, Instagram Influencer, and Former Blogger. You can find her most active on Instagram @cnhay5