Monday, June 4, 2007

Newness and Stuff

It has been a busy week, and I've had a couple of things on my mind...turning them over, always striving to understand myself better and then walk in that understanding.

I have many interests, and I love newness. So, I get a new thing going, & after a while, when the magic of the new is gone, it gets set aside. Addedly, there is the issue of just how much energy should even be spent on acquiring new stuff.

As far as finishing things, I'm working to change this. I have chosen one large project & am driving myself like a horse in its bridle to complete it. Saturday, I was bucking, my head yanking those straps from side to side, trying to escape what felt like iron bands, and I realized my flesh wanted newness, something to fill the emptiness, remove the boredom, escape the pure discipline of finishing a task. Do you ever struggle with something, and just plead for God to take it from you, deliver you from the struggle? From my experience, it seems He rarely does. It must be that the struggle is what builds me; it drives me to HIM, makes me realize my utter dependence on HIM, my emptiness without HIM.

I am trying to simplify life, spend less on new things, not constantly introduce myself to new educational tools & ideas, new decorating ideas, new recipes or landscaping designs,...the list could go on for a while.

We talked yesterday in Sunday school about the deceitfulness of riches. One of the guys paraphrased it "the deceitfulness of stuff." I've lived long enough to know that stuff doesn't satisfy my longing for fulfillment. I know new stuff isn't new for long. I'm tempted to think it would be easier if we could just sell or give away everything and move to a 3rd world country to do our "mission" there. (Of course, I wouldn't do that without knowing I was supposed to, and I do understand that even though that might solve this issue in this particular context, there would be other issues to work through. I know the grass is not greener on the other side in the biggest sense of those words.) However, once you set up home in this wealthy nation, no matter how much you send to missionaries and all the different charity groups, no matter how much time you give to others and to valuable causes, there is this issue that is ever before you; how much should be spent on stuff: things to "finish" the house, improve our property value, decorate the house, make our work easier with tools and machines, clothe ourselves, entertain us, pamper us?

As far as I can tell, it's not easily answered in black and white. I have to maintain my trust in Jesus, and if I make a decision that hurts that, I know I need to change. I don't give up, I keep a tender conscience about these issues, and I strive to understand what would please HIM. Ultimately, I want to be a vessel used up for HIM, not myself. I don't want the "deceitfulness of stuff" to enamor me and take me away from HIM. I want to be characterized as someone who completes the task, sticks to it, finishes the race. I'm keenly aware that I need HIS help.