There is something special about living in a third world country. I truly do miss it. As strange as it may sound–I miss seeing third world. I miss seeing tin shanty’s that people call home. I miss seeing children playing in the streets with their most prized toy–an old rubber tire being rolled around with a stick. I miss the sights, the sounds, the simplicity that make up my beloved home continent–Africa.
Sounds a little strange, I know.
Why in the world would I actually miss those things? Yes, they’re sad. Sights that break your heart in two. Visions that make you ache till it hurts because you know there is no possible way you alone can end poverty…you wish it would all just go away.
So why the longing in my heart to see these things every day?
Because seeing it every day keeps things in perspective for me.
I feel blessed to be living in the USA. It has become my home away from home. But, oh my word, dear friends, we are so spoiled here! Having an abundance is part of every day life–it is so normal.
So, you may wonder, what’s my point?
Well, just read on…
As things began to pile up (and up and up) for our yard sale, I kept looking at the goods being donated and, even though I was totally rejoicing over the bounty for the sale, something inside me ached. For a couple of weeks I just could not put my finger on it. A nagging feeling that would not go away.
Last Friday, while unpacking at least 100 large trash bags of clothing, a friend said something. So simple. Yet so profound. It was the thing that had been bugging me—
“Look at all these clothes, this is so typical for our culture–we have way too much stuff.”
Oh my goodness, that’s it! We have way too much stuff. So much so that we can unload box after box after stuffed-to-the brim box of unwanted stuff at a yard sale.
We live with way too much.
We desire way too much.
We ‘need’ way too much.
Our closets are full to overflowing–yet we need that new pair of shoes. We absolutely have to have that latest gadget that will, of course, make life so much easier. (Until we get it and realize that, well, it really was a little pointless buying it after all.)
Something happens when you live with poverty in your face every day. Living in the middle of it, I appreciated so much more in my life. I thought twice before I spent money unnecessarily. My heart seemed more thankful for the things I did have. I needed less and got by with less.
I feel like I have been pulled into the consumerism trap…and I despise it. I don’t want to live my life always longing for the next best thing. I just don’t want it, not for me, and not for my family. I want my children to know that living with an abundance of everything will not make them happy. I long for them to know that serving Christ with all their hearts, making Him their first love is really all that matters in this life–because if that relationship is right, everything will be better than fine, whether they have much, or very little.
As I sit and look around my home tonight, I realize that there is so much of an abundance in this house. Most of it not really needed. I realize that in this household alone, we have more than 80% of the world’s population live with. Indeed, we are so spoiled…and most of the time, we totally take it for granted.
I forget. Living in these four walls, I forget how the rest of the world lives. I forget about the suffering, the poverty, the pain, the dying children. I just get so wrapped up in the things that have absolutely no eternal value.
Living in Africa did keep things in perspective for me–but this time God used an overflowing yard sale, held for my precious little girl, to speak so clearly to my heart about what’s important, and what’s not, in this life. He used it to bring a little perspective back into my life.
It’s all just stuff, and quite frankly, we hold onto way too much of it. Can’t take it with you when you go, hey? What’s the point of accumulating it? What’s the point of desiring more and more stuff ?
Yes, dear friends, the time has come–time for me and my house to start lightening the load around here. Time to start simplifying even more. Time to start putting things back in perspective.
There is far more worthwhile treasure just waiting out there to be rescued–treasure that we will store up in heaven.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”