July 10, 2009

The Pointless Prize.

image here.

Geesh, it seems I have to return to this mindset fifty times a year, but I'm determined to stay here so I'll turn back fifty times a day, if it comes to that.

Wealth. Materialism. The wretched MOREness that drives us day in and day out. The pointless prize.

Never satisfied, yet constantly being lured out to the desert by being promised the ocean.

"Buy this! You will BE better! More people will like you! Your skin will glow! Your teeth will glow! Your body will shrink! Your eyelashes will lengthen! Your hair will grow back! You will shed inches while you SLEEP!"

"Get this much square footage! You can throw fancy parties and not have to ever hear your kids during the day and you can have a separate room for your every single fancy and whim! Then, just pay someone else to come clean it for you!"

It makes me queasy just thinking of it all. We sit around in our ginormous houses and waste hours of each day trying to track down the most recent must-have. We're being fattened to death! Gluttoned into slow, drawn out death-rattles! And how much of this stuff will we be taking with us when we draw that final breath?


You could walk out your door tomorrow and it could be the very last time you do.

Morbid? No... It's called reality. If it bothers you to think of it, well... I don't know what to tell you. You can secure your fortress until you're living in a gated community of pillows and marshmallows, and death will still find you.

And when it does? We will be in our graves and our big houses and our money and our stuff STUFF STUFF will be far from our grasp.

Recently, we've been in a bit of a rough patch, this little family of ours. Not necessarily financially... we're still in the same place we've been since we married: living by daily bread. Having enough for what we need, and not a whole lot more. And we've been very happy this way.

But a few weeks ago, something in our minds shifted and we suddenly felt like we needed MORE. Priorities flew to the wind. We hardly saw each other. My husband worked his fingers to the bone and would come home late only to pass out on the couch or floor- whatever flat surface he happened to land on first. Resentment built up quickly. It became a constant comparison of 'who's REALLY working harder'?

I began to waste away from lack of sleep and lack of time away from the kids and lack of harmony in our home. Chris was burdened with the feeling of not being enough... he couldn't multiply himself enough to cover all the bases at once. He felt like the pitcher and the batter and the outfielder all at once.

When you strip this all down, it was the nagging MORE that pushed us to this place. Also known as Discontent.

When all of this finally broke, it was like water pouring back into my soul.

I'd rather have my husband than an increasing sense of comfort.

After all, as my history shows, the more comfort I obtain, the further away God seems to get. He can BE there in the comfort too, I'm not saying that He isn't, but for me personally, I have not mastered the NEEDING of Him in the midst of needing nothing at all. Maybe someday I will get to that place, but I pray that my heart will get there long before the money ever does.

Discontentment is like a wedge. It starts out as a small crack, the pressure builds and forces it down, and suddenly I'm standing on the opposite side of the Grand Canyon from all my peace, hope, and joy. Suddenly I am nowhere near my smile. And it all started with the tiny trickle known as "if only..."

I believe that God has all of my needs under control. I believe that He has brought me to this house, to this neighborhood, to this life for a purpose. And I will trust Him with all that goes along with that. (example: If He's brought us to this house, then I'm sure that He's thought ahead enough and planned for Ezra to attend that little school that he's zoned for down the street. Even if it's not the shiniest school in the city! Even if there's a part of me that wants Ezra to go to the sparkly school with all the latest gizmos! I will not be lured away by the MORE on this one... I will not be lured away by the false sense of security and comfort that comes from sending my kids to the 'best' schools in town. If Ezra were meant to go elsewhere, we would have ended up elsewhere.)

I'm coming back to contentment. (It was waiting with open arms.)

It feels like rounding the corner of your street after a long and difficult journey... like finding the bread crumb trail after wandering lost in the woods for what seemed like ages...

...like a one-way ticket back to your own front door.



Allie Garcia said...

Oh man. I couldn't have said it better myself. If you've never had the chance to read anything by Shane Claiborne, I would strongly suggest doing so. Changed my life, and everything I ever knew about wanting "stuff."

Susan Crawford said...

Thank you, Emery! This was much needed for me today.

bethany said...

you are wise.

anna joy said...

this is perfect. thank you. and ohmygosh that picture of the boys is ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

This was such a great post. Emery..you are honestly such a great writer. This post really hit home for me. Once again, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with the blogging world. The boys are adorable as always.

sufferingsummer said...

amen. amen. and amen again.
I really love your heart and we've never met. weird.

becca said...

Totally agree, you said it very, very well. I've been feeling alot of the need more crap thing too. I am so so glad you write:)

Andrea June said...

Well done, Emery! You are a wise woman :) I'm living with family right now and I was only able to bring the "bare essentials" with me. It is AMAZING how much of my stuff I am living without, and comfortably!
It's great to be reminded of just how little we need and how much more time it gives us to focus on the things that matter, like our relationships with people and God.

Jeninacide said...

Great post! I have been having the exact same kinds of things running through my mind lately. : )

Amy said...


~love said...

i've been having this conversation on facebook with friends for the past couple of days....except not nearly as eloquently written.

beautiful. thank you.

Rita Ortloff said...

Emery! This is so beautifully said. I love reading your blog.

You are beautiful. Inside. And out.


kaci said...

I have followed your blog for quite a while now but have never commented on any entries. This one hit me like a TON of bricks. I can't tell you how good it is to read this. It was like you were ready my mind. I have an 8 and 1/2 month old son and I quit my job to stay home with him. I do odd graphic design job to help with the bills but everything is on my husband. He is a freelance web designer and an AMAZING, GODLY man. We have chosen to go a different route with our lives. Instead of him taking a high paying job we chose the one that would allow him to live life with me and Elijah. Everyday God blesses us and I have to not get consumed with what our culture wants for us. I have to remember what God wans for us. I'm passionate about my life and the fact that we are both a huge part of my sons life.


Erin said...

I don't know if you think of the effect you are going to have on other people when you write these posts. These profound direction, energy, and life changing posts are powerful. You find your way to these basic fundamental ways of seeing and beeing in the world and capture them so wonderfully with your words. Reading your blog is good for my life, my soul. Thanks for sharing your insight.

autumn said...

I am a lurker, infrequent commenter but I had to come out of the woodwork for this one. I have been thinking about this topic on a daily, hourly, or more level. We recently moved into a bigger but smellier, not as nice neighborhood, older, and much less expensive, apartment all because we are having a baby in just a few (4!) months. Once we hit the 8th month of pregnancy my working days are over and all the money responsiblity will fall to my husband (for the first time ever). I have been praying daily, alone, and with him that we won't fall into the 'who is working harder' bit and that we will continue to embrace the joy of all the things we have that don't involve shopping, buying, assembeling and then regreting. Thank you for this post. You really are so eloquent and you are obviously letting Christ lead you; your posts carry so much weight for everyone who reads them. Thank you.

anicia said...

That was really good.

Talia said...

again, I love the way you think. Could not agree more with you!! amen and amen.