“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.”Isaiah 55:2
One morning I stumbled into this and felt immediately drawn to it, for this is my daily battle. Looking for a drink of satisfaction in a dry well.
There is the illusion that working hard will lead to a good life. What is a good life though? Do you define it as the American dream? A house with a white picket fence? Or do you believe that it is more about having the ability to pack and go anywhere anytime? Be close to your family always? Buy whatever you want whenever you want?
I believe that a good life is an honorable one. A life where you can look back and validate that your priorities were in line and that you did the best you could. Your acts were kind, respectful, and you apologized when you needed to. You shared what you had and acted by integrity. You dedicated yourself to make your circle better with whatever talents you had. The main focus was on the things that can’t be replaced and don’t have a sticker value, and not on generic, material objects or man-made achievements: things from heaven versus things from earth.
Looking at my description, I see a struggle bubbling in me. I want to always be noble but I always yearn for more, both internally and externally. How much is enough? Should I keep striving for the next level? When I get more, should I save it for someone else or should I take it for me? Surely I work hard and deserve it. I can enjoy the blessings of my Father. This is my very small piece of the pie. and I am just trying to make our lives easier and our home more comfortable and not to be greedy.
Let me clarify that the real issue is not ambition or buying something or giving it all away. The problem lies in the value given to the action. So many times I put my hopes and expectations on this one thing. It may be so small as a pair of shoes, or so big as a job. I invest my time on this dream and let it take over my day in hopes that I will achieve a new high and be satisfied. Yet these things can’t offer the level of satisfaction that I am looking for.
When I was younger, I jumped into this hamster wheel in an attempt to have more. I wrongly believed that more options were a sign of abundance. More clothes, more trips, more outings. Older me disagrees: the real sign of abundance is having the possibility of options. The truth of the matter is that the more is in your possession, the more you have to maintain and plan. A full life is not one full of chores but of freedom to decide what to do. Craving for more pushes me to want to make those options real but I realize that it is because I am not giving value to what I already have. Like a child after Christmas, a bit after I have used the item I am ready for the next toy to covet.
I am abundantly blessed with a wonderful family, a nice home and good health. I have a job that allows me to grow and bless my family. I belong to a community that cares about me. Above all that, I believe that I am looked after a caring God who has given all of this and more to me. However, in the simplest words, I can be dissatisfied with it because I stop rejoicing in its familiarity. I look for the next best thing because I got addicted to a high that long-term investments cannot supply immediately. I let myself be dragged by the waves of entertainment and take me to a place where I am instantly and atomically gratified. Sweet poison.
All that I strive for, is already at my doorstep. The irony is that life is a journey, not a destination. I am walking with so many treasures in my pocket that I should have a better outlook during my quest. I am not a finished product and am happy to be walking towards being better everyday and achieving new things. In the meanwhile, I will focus on being grateful for my blessing and taking strength from the grace I have been granted each new day, in order to be able to keep at it.