Let me just start this one off with the warning that it contains semi-zealous ranting.
I was washing dishes and got to the beaters for my hand mixer…my 10 year old hand mixer… that’s seen a LOT of action in 10 years… we’re talking Lebkuchen dough, folks. (Google it.) And one of the beaters just broke. Fun fact, my first thought was, “I could totally solder this back…if I had a soldering iron… Crap.”
Then I thought, “I’ll probably just use it like this anyway.” Which is true, and likely.
But seriously! I am so tired of broken things.
My husband came home from a financial planning meeting today, and showed me his remote car key had broken. The plastic encasement had just snapped open and *ploop* out fell the key part.
I can’t handle it. The sight of brokenness tempts me to violent rage. Chewed book binding? Broken Candy Land token? Makes me want to kick a hole in the wall… Hole in the wall? Makes me sadder than a T-rex forced to do pushups. (I didn’t actually kick a hole in my wall… That’s from the toddlers slamming doors open…)
I have two opposing feelings about this kind of thing though. The first is frustration that my temporary stuff is messed up and I can’t afford to go out and replace everything that needs replacing. The second is frustration that I care that much about broken stuff, which prompts a looking forward to the permanence in eternity.
And those two thoughts pull my brain between a self-righteous materialism and eagerness for the eternal.
But it’s not just stuff either; I get angry at the sight of a dead possum or raccoon on the side of the road; what a waste of life. It’s not right– this isn’t how it was supposed to be! How much more so the whole abortion subject. That’s a post for another time.
I did some philosophical self-inquiry to see what my actual reasoning for these reactions is. I came to several conclusions and learned a little about myself in the process.
1.) I want nice things now.
There’s an element of me being a little spoiled; this is the first time in my adult life I’ve ever needed to be responsible with money– more people depend on my self-discipline for their well-being. I’ve always had either someone taking care of me, or a decent paying job for myself. If I went over budget as a single person, eh. No big. I’ll pick up an extra shift waiting tables and make up for excessive spending in tips. I can’t do that with my kids counting on me to give them what they need. Their needs have to come ahead of the things I want. And the more children we have, the farther back on the burner Mama’s wants have to be pushed. Oh I have a sizeable wishlist, don’t get me wrong. But I love my children more than I love stuff. I’d prefer that the kids never wonder if they’ll have what they need. So far, so good; God has been gracious and faithful to provide. But there’s still that longing in me for the beautiful; for the eternal. And I’ve been able to recognize that nice stuff now can’t satisfy that longing; Only Jesus can.
2.) I’ve never really had to sacrifice
It goes along with always being taken care of and always having a job, but I’ve never really had to choose between needs or wants. It’s always been needs AND wants. Sometimes, I conceeded for slightly smaller wants, but I never actually had to prioritize them. Now, I find myself prioritizing needs over other needs! The urgent often has me neglecting the important. And some days, it feels like I can’t win. I thank God that in His mercy, he’s shielded me from catastrophe. The past year was chalk full of trials, but my family is still here, and for the most part, everyone has their health. For that I’m incredibly grateful. But I’m beginning to see what it’s like to sacrifice; to give out of my need rather than my excess. I find there’s a little fear in generosity if you’re concerned with your own financial well-being. That’s why God calls you to obedience and discipline as well as radical generosity; you cannot have one without the other…I mean, I guess you can, but you also end up with a big mess…
3.) I want to go Home
Having been mostly comfortably middle-classed my whole life, I’ve never really been pushed to desire anything beyond material possessions and comfort and ease of life. Wow, I feel arrogant just typing that. But it’s so true! How difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God! I’d never argue that money is evil; it’s not, it’s a tool. But I’ve noticed something in myself in the absence of extra cash that is only satisfied in pondering eternity with Christ in Heaven. All I have– all I’ve ever had– is a gift! The LORD giveth, the LORD taketh away; blessed be the name of the LORD! When I consider that it all belongs to God and he didn’t have to give me anything, I realize how truly blessed I am. Not only that, but the value of relationships and people has become magnified. The whole, “we ain’t got money, but we got love,” thing is the story of my life right now. But the thing is, we are being self-disciplined, we are making wiser financial decisions, and we’re living for Christ. Jesus never promised it would be easy to put His words into practice. What He promised was supernatural power to follow when you give your life over to Him. And I’ve found that to be true. It’s not easy, I struggle plenty! But I can look at the struggle as compared to eternity, and being welcomed into the arms of Jesus having lived my live seeking to honor Him first, and that by comparison makes the decision to follow Christ– no matter the cost– simple, even if it isn’t easy.
At the end of the day, broken stuff and all, I can say with confidence that in Christ, at least I’m no longer broken. And I hold fast to Revelation 21:5,
Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”
Come, Lord Jesus.
…and not just because my hand mixer broke…