sure, i have to buy toilet paper and shampoo, but those are clear on the other side of the store. i try to give myself a pep-talk before i go in, yet somehow i always end up in the little girl's clothing section at Target. and every single time, i find about fifteen things that my daughter absolutely needs to have. and every single time, i walk away with nothing but an ungrateful and disappointed heart.
why do i torture myself so? good question. i really don't know why.
i do buy clothing for my daughter at Target. but it's when she has absolutely no clothes in her size for the new season, and it's after i budget a certain amount for the month to buy her new clothes. the weekly trips into Target for baby food and toothpaste? as much as i want to throw in a few extra things for her, i just can't do it in this season we're in right now. we're comfortable, we have plenty, but we don't get to buy everything we want. [i know. grow up].
i'll often tell my husband how lucky he is that i'm so cheap. and by cheap, i mean how i accept the season we're in the and the budget that we have to keep, and how i don't blow money we don't have. only because i know wives who hide shopping bags and run up secret credit card debt to finance their shopping. i know that's a yucky thing to brag about, but somehow it makes me feel better [for a few hours] that i didn't get to buy the darling purple and tangerine cardigan with the coordinating sparkly skirt. at least i'm honest about it, and don't actually indulge... right?
well no, actually.
the truth is, just because i don't actually purchase the items we can't afford, doesn't mean that the ungratefulness and disappointment and greed in my heart are acceptable in any way. and let's not even mention the prideful and judgmental spirit that fuels the bragging.
sometimes i feel like i'll never have enough. and then i remember how my standard and definition of "enough" is ever changing. the more i have, the more i want to have. such is the life of a consumer. [and all of us Americans are consumers].
so i wandered over to the little girl's section last week, just after the new fall line was released. from every single rack, articles of clothing calling out to me. the colors, the patterns, the sparkles. it was just too much. as usual, i pulled about $60 worth into the cart and examined it all. i spent way too much time admiring and wishing, when i knew there was no way i'd be buying any of it. i put myself into a funk and walked out discouraged, but also proud of myself for not giving in, but also upset with myself for even caring so much. a nagging sense of entitlement bubbled deep in my heart.
the next stop was Trader Joes. i pulled out my list, grabbed a cart, and began to fill it up with everything we needed. the last items crossed off, i headed to the register and pulled out my envelope marked "groceries". tucked inside were four crisp twenty dollar bills and a ten dollar bill: the ninety dollars that we budget for food each week. it was more than enough to cover what was in my cart.
as i walked out of that Trader Joes, all of a sudden it just clicked for me. right there in that parking lot, right there in the warm sunshine: all of this. this is lavish blessing.
i could've cried as i pushed three bags and two healthy, thriving girls out to my reliable [and, by some standards, really nice] SUV which transported us safely to our relatively large home in our beautifully kept neighborhood.
maybe the closets aren't filled with Target's new fall line, but they're filled. maybe the furniture is 99% hand-me-down, but it's cozy and well-appointed. maybe the bathrooms need updating, but they work properly.
most of the time, if I can just open my eyes for a split second to see what i have, i find that it's more than enough. it's lavish really. we have so much to be thankful for. a simple shift in perspective shines a spotlight on it all. i want to live my life from gratitude instead of greed. why do i waste my time coveting what i can't afford, when there are priceless gifts right in front of me that i'm given the privilege of sowing into? and even these earthly and temporal blessings could be gone in the blink of an eye.
here's the thing: the God of the universe loves me, died for me, set me free, ordained a purpose for my life, and wants me to know Him.
THIS. is lavish blessing.