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BIS LIVES

Chasing Materialism vs Cultivating Gratitude

This is the second post in our Grateful Heart challenge. After reading this post from Megan Hjelmstad, feel free to share your own post at the bottom, or share your thoughts and gratitude on Instagram.

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I’d never spoken to her in person, but whenever I got dressed in the morning she was there in my mind’s eye: that effortlessly chic, trend-setting gal from school who always seemed to have it together. I rifled through my closet and made list after mental list of the things I needed to make me feel as good as she looked. But invariably when I passed her, my outfits seemed less refined, my hair and makeup unsophisticated, my entire being inadequate. Nothing I owned, nothing I was seemed good enough; I was diving headlong into the compare and despair game and coming up so terribly, horribly empty.

It’s always something, isn’t it? A nicer house, a newer car, the latest trend, a more enviable brand—a beautiful, status-elevating something or other.

We “need” it to be respected. Accepted. Successful. Worthy.

We tell ourselves that if we just had [insert object], we’d be happy. Life would be good. And even if we manage to fight those obvious lies, almost all of us still fall into the trap of “if only I had x amount of money, I could breathe easier. Things would be a little better.”

Certainly, it’s never a bad thing to be able to cover expenses, and material things themselves aren’t bad—in fact, God can [and does] use our appreciation of the material, our attraction the beauty of created things, to inspire us and draw us closer to Himself.

But it depends on the state of our heart. So often we hang our hats on material comfort as the solution to our worrying or stress without truly allowing God into our need. Yet deep in our souls, the whisper of truth is ever-present: more stuff and money isn’t gonna make every little thing alright. We know very well that’s not the end game of our soul. We can’t take it with us.

We can do well to take a step back and look at our attitude toward stuff; how deliberately we dispose our hearts to the material elements of our lives. Do we condition ourselves to view everything we have, everything we buy, as a pure gift from God? Or do we thoughtlessly chase after them in a direction opposite of God’s love, believing that we’ve earned it by our own merit or that we deserve it more than others? Or—most tragically—do we chase after the material because we’ve allowed the world to convince us that it could somehow “improve” our God-given worth and fill the hole of love and acceptance we crave?

This week, join in the Blessed is She Gratitude movement by focusing as a community on being thankful for the things we already have. Let’s also prayerfully consider how our soul’s needs contrast or align with our material wants, and reflect on how we can help with the true material needs so present in our global Body of Christ! Join the linkup below and use the hashtag #BISgrateful on social media to share.

Week 2 of #BISgrateful: Cultivate gratitude for the material blessings in your life in any of the following ways:

  • Make a list, say a prayer of thanks for the material things you use or buy throughout the day, or maybe even fast from spending on those superfluous “extras” this week, and ask God to enter that space in your heart and fill that desire instead.  
  • Donate at least one box of material goods, preferably in good shape. Check locals stores (some even offer store credit) like those mentioned in this article [http://www.today.com/kindness/h-m-madewell-other-retailers-invite-you-unload-old-clothes-t55301]  to recycle items too old or stained to donate.


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