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May 25 2016

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Most Days, I Feel Rich

feel rich

Most Days, I Feel Rich

Most days, I feel rich. I revel in the abundance I have in Christ. I enjoy my family. I have more than I need. However, the government says we’re poor because of the size of our family and our income. When I look at the numbers and compare it to our real life, I laugh at how we’ve been labeled. We’re by no means poor.

Rarely do I leave contentment and fall into the I-am-poor pit of despair. Today, I stumbled and contentment fled. I sat in self-created muck with my heart—not my life—impoverished.

I know. I know. I know we’re not poor. But the thoughts hung over me like a dark cloud. The truth felt like a lie.

A dream

I’d let my imagination get carried away with me. I unpacked my mental bags and dreamed of a fun-filled vacation. A whole week. Our family together. Going to amusement parks. Having fun.

This is what normal families do, don’t they? I see the pictures of families on Facebook going on vacations, enjoying time away, and delighting in a week of extravagances especially reserved for vacations.

Somewhere in my mind, I think we can pull it off. I shift from dream to plan. Then reality hits me. It sinks in deep.

And then reality sank in.

We can’t afford a trip like this. Not only would we lose income, but we’d need to factor in travel and food. Then there’s the whole issue of activities and adventuring.

How do people afford to do trips like this? Do they go into debt? Do they squirrel away money throughout the year? How do they do that? Do they get coupons or deals? How? How?

Spiraling downward into this deep and ugly pit, I meditate on my poverty; but there’s no real truth to it. It’s only a feeling.

Only a feeling

How do I know it’s a feeling? Because I’m typing these words on an iPad. I’m sitting on a comfortable bed sipping a hot cup of tea my husband made just for me. My children are sleeping in their beds–healthy. I’m surrounded by richness at every side.

I feel impoverished because I can’t do what I want, the way I want, when I want. I’m constrained by the normal, everyday “stuff” most people experience.

Wouldn’t we all enjoy having fewer constraints in life? Yes. Life ebbs and flows from times of abundance to times of lean living.

I’d love longer periods of abundance and less lean. But the lean times are not so terrible for me. The strain I experience from lean times pales in comparison to other people’s lean times. I’m not making the hard choice between feeding my family or paying a bill. I’m far from suffering.

Today, I feel the pinch. It stings, but I can move forward. I can focus on the good. I can be happy living in our rich-for-us life, even if it doesn’t include a week of extravagance.

Family. Together. It doesn’t get richer than that.

Do you wrestle with feeling poor?

Feeling poor and being poor are not the same.

Have you seen The Happy Movie? (It’s a documentary interviewing people from different walks of life from around the world asking them what makes them happy.) Seeing The Happy Movie reminded me there are people in the world significantly poorer, materially speaking, than I, yet their contentedness outweighs the reality of their poverty.

I suspect that feeling poor is more often a symptom of ingratitude than a Spartan bank account. When I stop and reflect on the goodness God has provided for me, I find it easier to return to my I-am-rich feeling once again. The struggle is not about reality.

If you find yourself despairing because of what you don’t have, turn your attention to what is good.

Try these 4 simple steps to remind yourself of your true richness:

1. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

2. Write every good thing you can think of, no matter how insignificant. Don’t let the flow of thoughts stop.

3. Look at your list. Really look at it and let those thoughts sink in.

4. Spend some time in prayer thanking God.

 

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17

Share your story

What makes you feel rich? What do you do when the constraints of life choke your heart and smother you in a dark cloud? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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2 comments

  1. Janet

    I think this is one of your best it is so true.

    1. Cheryl

      Thank you. How did you connect with it?

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