Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From my Quiet Time with God

I was really encouraged by a couple verses in my Bible reading yesterday. I wrote about my recent struggle with jealousy, wishing I had more money, toys, and status. I look around at people my age and older who have better housing, cars, technology, etc. Many people I know are double income families. Hannah works a part time job more because she likes what she’s doing than because of the income.

When you’re feeling this way the typical response is that you should think of someone who has less, who is suffering, and then feel grateful for what you do have. Is that it? Should I look at so-and-so who’s currently living in government housing or who’s on welfare and feel better? Should I consider the family with only part time employment and little or no insurance coverage? Will that help me be more content?

I don’t think so. It might make me feel guilty. I may appreciate the things I have more. But maybe the problem isn’t that I don’t enjoy the things I have, but that I’m not enjoying God. If I only seek satisfaction in things, all I have to do is lose something that I have and the problem will start over again.

There is an enjoyment of God that happens when we appreciate and value the things He has given us. That is true. But I want the enjoyment of God that happens when I appreciate and value Him. Just Him. Not “God plus this” or “God plus that”. I want to be happy in God.

I’ve known this for some time, but I’ve recently allowed myself to become distracted. Fortunately God has been working on my heart, both when I wrote my article the other day, but also when I came across these verses:

You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. (Psalm 17:14b-15, ESV)
I would encourage you to go back and read the context. The Psalm comes to a head at these verses, and it was here that I was encouraged. I hope you are too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why am I Jealous?

It’s hard to believe that Hannah’s due date is a mere two months away. In two months I will not just be a husband, but a father. My friends who are in their thirties and forties still have a hard time accepting that I’m going to be a father. A lot of people waited until they were in their late twenties or even in their thirties before starting a family. Some people we know who are more than ten years older than us have children our kids will be able to play with.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m not following my parents generation (or even the generation prior) rather than my own. Compared to my peers, who’ve decided to put family on hold, I’m a technological dinosaur. I have a flip phone without internet or texting. My computer is about 5 years old. I don’t spend much time at coffee shops, and I don’t have a gym membership.

This is in large part because I can’t afford these things. While my compatriots are DINKs (Double Income, No Kids), Hannah and I subsist largely on my income, and soon we’ll be adding another person to the family.

I’d love to say that I’m unfazed by all this, but recently I’ve been feeling a little jealous of others. I’d like to have the iPhone and the iPad. I’d like to get a 3D television and go to the movies more often. But we’ve got to start stockpiling diapers. We’ve got to look at getting a second vehicle. We want to save up for a house someday.

I have to work on my heart with this matter. I have to ask God for forgiveness because this jealousy is an expression of discontent with God’s provision. I have a good wife. I have a good job. My home is happy and even if I don’t have 24/7 access to Facebook, I have a good job and someone to share every moment with. By marrying young and having my first kid before I’m 24, I will get to spend that much more time with the woman and child I love.

God has given me so much. Why am I jealous?