We want to have it all. We think we should have it all.
There is a pervasive syndrome running through our society today: the syndrome of discontent. We are never really happy with what we have. We always want that one more thing. Many times, these are very good things in and of themselves, but still, we covet. We grasp beyond the lot of what we have been given today. If I only had more money. If only I had a husband. If only I had children. If I only had more children. If only I had children who behaved. If only I had a bigger house. If only I had a nicer house. If only I had another degree. If I only had a more fulfilling job. If only I had more energy. If only I was prettier. If only I was healthier. If only I could travel more. If only I had more time to volunteer. The list goes on and on and on ad nauseam.
We want it all.
But you know as well as I - that as soon as we might arrive at one of those things on the list, we are craving the next thing. In the meantime, while we try to be happy and grateful with the gifts we have been given, we continue to long for the perfect life, in the perfect house, with the perfect stuff, and the perfect set of virtues, with the most perfect white picket fence.
Anything short of this? Crushing discontent.
Because we feel entitled to each of these things. Because the culture tells us that we deserve theses things. Because why shouldn't we want to have it all?
I think that the reason many of us become unhappy and discontent is because we are measuring ourselves up to this extraordinarily fake and unrealistic vision of what we think our lives should be. We feel entitled to each and every one of these things. And when something falls through, or it doesn't come a long in the time frame that we expect, we are disappointed. And sometimes, even angry with God. But who said we were entitled to any of this?
Measuring our lives against these ideals of perfection is crushing our spirits, and robbing us of the precious joy we are meant to hold. The joy that was meant for us, even as we are purified by fire.
We were never promised and of these things. And we certainly don't deserve any of them.
But there are things we are promised. Things that will endure. Things that are meant for each and every one of us:
Faith, hope, and love.
"These things will last forever - faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:13
No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in: sickness or health, joy or sorrow, wealth or poverty, struggle or sunshine, these gifts are ours for the taking, they are ours in abundance. We will never lack them, if we but ask. We can have them all.
Everyday, no matter what is going right, no matter what is going "wrong", we have a chance to receive the gifts of faith, hope, and love. We have the opportunity to grow in faith, hope, and love. These gifts rise far above the confines of earthly life. They are carved into our souls; they lift our spirits; they mold us and strengthen us. The way that they adorn our souls is far more significant than the way any white picket fence adorns a "perfect little life."
In light of this truth, the lies of inadequacy and discontent can begin to fade. We can stop measuring our personal news feed against a backdrop of earthly perfection and ideal circumstances: we can start measuring our progress by the faith that is growing, the hope that is holding on, and the great love in which we "live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28