It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Or maybe I should say like 15,470 pounds of household goods.
I struggled with the impact our move to Fort Polk had on our housing situation. We went from a brand new home with over 2,600 square feet and 5 bedrooms, 3 ½ bathrooms, a 2 ½ car garage to 1,337 square feet of government quarters built before I was born.
The impending down-size left me questioning a lot of things. Where would our guests would sleep? Where the boys would play? How would I continue to grow my craft hobby into a business? How much storage would we need?
Despite learning our household goods wouldn’t be delivered for two weeks, we moved out of the hotel and in to our quarters. We lived without many of the things we generally take for granted. I did (more than) my fair share of grumbling about doing without and the size and condition of our home. I was so busy ranting on about the injustices of paying the Army more to live in this home than we pay for mortgage on the one we own in Colorado, how the couple who shares our duplex has only one child in a three bedroom home, and what I would do to improve the efficiency of the moving company holding our things hostage.
We deserve more, right?
But God was trying to teach me something.
In a bible study about needs verses wants. In the words of my husband about having a more grateful heart (that was painful). In a testimony on thankfulness during my first session of PWOC at FT Polk. And in my Bible reading.
He has been trying to reach me, to show me my sin.
Now, I have rationalized it every which way. But simply put, I failed to heed the words and spirit of the 10th Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s Exodus 20:17.” The pictures my friends posted of the wonderful houses they moved into didn’t help my state of mind, either. I wanted what so many of them had.
I tried to find an antonym for covet in the thesaurus, but none was listed. Perhaps thankfulness is the antidote for a covetous heart. If we are not constantly giving thanks for what we have, then we’re taking it for granted.
Maybe we convince ourselves we’re entitled to more than we have, that we deserve better, that we need what it seems everybody else has. If we would recognize the blessings in our lives and be delighted in them, rejoice in them, honestly give thanks for them, then we might realize how blessed we are and ultimately learn what we really need in this life.
God already knows what we need and Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat, or drink or wear on our bodies.
All the other things I missed in our accommodations amounted to added blessings: extra square footage, clothes and shoes for every occasion, fancy kitchen gadgets to prepare special meals for my family, my Keurig, beds on which to sleep and couches to sit upon, TVs to watch our shows, my crafting supplies. The list goes on.
If I am brutally honest I have to admit even when my home in Colorado overflowed with these things, I still wanted more. During this time of doing without I realized they were blessings, not entitlements.
I’m amazed by what happens in my heart when I rejoice before I request anything of God. It is not that my every wish is granted through prayer. God is not a genie in a bottle. Rather, by giving thanks I recognize all I already possess. More often than not, the things I thought I wanted pale in comparison to the things I already have. The more I rejoice the less I desire the things of this world.
Recognize real needs, by rejoicing before requesting.Recognize real needs, by rejoicing before requesting. @LizGiertz Click To Tweet
Has God provided for your every need? Have you thanked Him lately for all that He has provided for you, both needs and your desires? Have you rejoiced over all you enjoy beyond the provision for you basic needs? Are you grumbling about you circumstances despite all He has blessed you with?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”