I took my daughter shopping yesterday. We are planning her birthday party so we needed to pick a theme. She had no idea what to do, or even what she wanted for her birthday party, until we walked into that store. Christmas was less than two weeks ago, but the shelves are filled to the brim, and marketed with items for children her age.
There were too many choices. She quickly became overwhelmed and frustrated. I had to take control of the situation and narrow down the choices for her.
Teaching a child about making choices is time-consuming but very important. I taught my daughter a life skill yesterday about narrowing down the choices and then had a conversation about our budget. Most eight-year-olds get an allowance so they can begin to grasp the concept of money (and the lack of it.) She pouted when I told her “no” to a certain item for the treat bags, and I knew it was time to remove her from the situation.
Pouting isn’t reserved for children. Our culture has conditioned all of us that more is better, and that we need the newest item on the market. When we don’t get what we want, adults don’t always behave appropriately. At one time or another the “I want it” behavior can affect us all. What do we do?
We have to remove ourselves from overwhelming situations and situations that will cause us to become materialistic, or worse, jealous. Better yet, we should not put ourselves in those positions to begin with. While that is not always possible, the less temptation we have to fight, the easier it will be to appreciate what we have been blessed with.
Count your blessings. Really think about them. If materialism is a problem, consider keeping a gratitude journal for a while. Thank God daily for at least five different things He has given you, but don’t repeat yourself from the day before. Eventually you will find that you are truly blessed, and material things just don’t really matter as much as they once did. You may also find that you are given what you truly need.
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Let’s all enjoy the gifts God has blessed us with.