“If I lived here, I would totally get
thin. . .I mean healthy. I’d invite people over to my house and in 6 months you’d look at me and tell how much happier I was. . . All I’d have to do is walk up and down this amazing private road every day, and work in this amazing garden, and clean this incredible house, and live this incredible new life! You can’t live in a house like this and just look like Walmart. I’d have to learn to look like I had some class. ”
This is just one of many thoughts that crossed my mind this last weekend as I tried on a life of a larger, more respectable size. My husband and I indulged in the long-shot fantasy of a new business opportunity, and that opportunity came with incredible property and a fabulous house. Mostly I was thinking like a business woman, but in the corner of my heart wilder thoughts riddled as if I’d never heard about my identity in Christ.
Some really good things came out of this new business discussion, and although I was not disappointed to miss this specific venture, the day after we officially agreed it was an insane idea, I still found myself a little sad. Why? I was sad because the vision of a new life, a clean slate, a new adventure, a higher class, had evaporated–unlike the dishes in my sink, the lack of zeros in my bank account, the troubles on my heart, or the fat around my middle.
I felt sad because I believed the life I tried on for five proverbial seconds was far better, happier, and more fulfilling than the life God has actually given me to live.
I compared my real tiny house in my real tiny struggling town, to this fantastic estate in the hillside. It was so beautiful and massive in scope, and my life was so plain and miniscule. I compared the kind of woman who could actually afford to live in the estate (obviously thin, fashionable, strong and admirable), to the kind of woman who lives in my house (by comparison, frumpy, walmart-y, struggling and insecure).
For a moment, I placed my security in dollars and houses, retirement and a maybe way to pay for my girls to go to college. I saw approval and no longer being embarrassed by my small plain life or my large plain size. I should have seen this for the lie it was right away when, riding on a fancy golf cart to see the estate, I imagined myself there, happily thin and fabulous.
I know I fight an idol that tells me thinness equals happy significance, so I should also know that when “thin happy me” strolls across my mind’s eye, I swim in dangerous waters.
Like the Israelites in the desert, how soon I forget the works of my God, my Deliverer, and my Provider. How soon I complain and look back to slavery longing for leeks and garlic, longing for familiar shackles. How soon I can look at a fancy idol, mentally trying on a house or a pair of pants, and forget the miracles he has wrought for me. How soon I insult him with my lust for more than he, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, has allotted. He’s given me the Bread of Life, and I am still grumbling and craving.
Also,while we’re just laying my soul on the table here, the fact that I imagined a bigger house with more security and money would make me thinner, shows that on some level, I EAT MORE than I need because I believe I HAVE LESS than I need. Believing I have less than I need is, at its root, unbelief. It’s unbelief in the goodness, generosity, kindness, and perfect provision of God. It’s proof that I have hope tucked away in lesser things.
Father, I confess my unbelief. I don’t know how it’s all going to work out, you know we are struggling, but I choose to place ALL my trust in you. Be thou my estate, my security, my significance, my future, my hope. You really are THAT GOOD.
Help me desire nothing on earth but you, not houses or sizes or zeros. Be my intense delight and crush these idols that lay claim to my life. My heart is fickle and wandering, but you are faithful and you know I am weak. Thank you for Jesus who laid his life down to atone for my sin.
Thank you for the certain prevailing of your work, by the Spirit, to sanctify me and make me like humble, obedient, confident Jesus, who, incidentally, had no place to lay his head. Help me to see, really see, the beautiful life you’ve given me, and glorify you in it.
Let me spell it out as plainly as I can so you can fare better in the presence of a fancy life than me:
Comparison is a slick barbed lie, sweet and deadly.
Bigger houses and smaller bodies to not a better life make.
The truth is that my house and body aren’t the problem. My soul is the problem, and He is the only answer.
Mindy Pickens a wife and mother who loves Jesus, her husband, their two daughters, coffee, books…and coffee. She spends her time homeschooling, tutoring in her homeschool community, and trying to figure out this whole home-maker thing. She’s a regular woman who is captivated by the gospel of Jesus Christ and is learning to surrender to the grace and goodness of God. Read Mindy’s other posts here.