April 13, 2009

Self Improvement

I apologize about the previous post. It was very, very late.

Anyway, I have been thinking. And my thinking has been interrupted by the song stuck in my head from the grocery store. . . cause it's too late, baby, yeah, it's too late, something, something, try to make it. . . I don't even know all the words. That's annoying.

Okay. So the past couple of weeks I think the universe has been trying to tell me a couple of things.

1. Suck it up.
2. It's not as bad as you think it is
3. Stop wishing for things that you can't have. That's called coveting. It's bad.

And number three is what I would like to dwell on today. If you have a tendency to covet, raise your hand. (I did, while slyly looking from side to side to see who else isn't perfect. That didn't really work out. The only other person in the room is 5 months old. . .) I am the queen of coveting. But I didn't realize it until recently. I always thought that it was perfectly acceptable to kind of dream about where you want to be and what you want have in the future.

For example: When we were still in school I really looked forward to having a monthly income. I also really looked forward to owning a house. That's not awful right? I mean, when you are living off of loans and minimum wage, a steady decent income is the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn't really look at other people around me and think, "Man, I hate them because they are already out of school and making lots of money." I just wanted to be in their shoes as quickly as possible. Well, here we are in their shoes. My husband has a job with a steady income and some semblance of job security. Which right now should be plenty to be grateful for, right? Well, apparently not, because I have caught myself wishing that they would just give him a raise already so that we could move. Not okay.

Every time I drive by a house for sale I stare longingly at it until I have to swerve to avoid oncoming traffic.

Every time I see a skinny mom I wish that the stupid baby fat would just melt off me, without me actually having to exercise or stop eating candy. And cheese. It's my weakness.

Every time I look out into my backyard I wish I had a gardener because my garden still isn't in, the lawn needs to be mowed and the weeds are threatening to take over the world.

Every time I get an email from Old Navy, it takes ridiculous amounts of willpower to not even open it, because I know if I do, I will find something that I can't live without, I will find a way to justify it and I will buy it. As it stands, I see those emails and am totally disappointed.

All of these things not okay.

During General Conference last week Elder Hales gave a talk about provident living. What stuck out to me the most was this:

Being provident providers, we must keep that most basic commandment, “Thou
shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17).
Our world is fraught with feelings of entitlement. Some of us feel
embarrassed, ashamed, less worthwhile if our family does not have everything
the neighbors have. As a result, we go into debt to buy things we can’t
afford—and things we do not really need. Whenever we do this, we become poor
temporally and spiritually. We give away some of our precious, priceless
agency and put ourselves in self-imposed servitude. Money we could have used
to care for ourselves and others must now be used to pay our debts. What
remains is often only enough to meet our most basic physical needs. Living
at the subsistence level, we become depressed, our self-worth is affected,
and our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and the Lord are
weakened. We do not have the time, energy, or interest to seek spiritual
things.

And then as I was dealing with that little tidbit, I heard this:

We must remember that the adversary knows us extremely well. He knows
where, when, and how to tempt us. If we are obedient to the promptings of the
Holy Ghost, we can learn to recognize the adversary’s enticements. Before we
yield to temptation, we must learn to say with unflinching resolve, “Get thee
behind me, Satan”

So I made a resolve. Whenever I catch myself coveting something, I need to stop. I need to realize what I'm doing is offensive to God. Why? Because He has given me so much, and by thinking that I need more I am not appreciating the incredible gifts that he has already given me. Most of which, money has nothing to do with . . .

8 comments:

SO said...

I raised my hand as well. You are not alone. This talk struck such a nerve with me as well. I really need to suck it up and get over myself and the things I think I need. Great post.

Kristina P. said...

It is so hard not to covet and want things you don't have. I do it all the time!

Susan said...

Oh great. So now I'm a coveter too. Darn it. I covet. I covet.

Melinda said...

Oh Rachel, how alike we are! (The whole swerving into unsuspecting traffic over a house for sale...I do that ALL the time.)
I loved that talk as well, it struck me too. It's a hard line, to be happy with what you have but also trying to improve ourselves and what we're doing. I think we confuse improving ourselves with improving our circumstances. I'm working on it too. :)

janae said...

You're so funny! Good luck with your goal. I'm trying really hard to learn to be happy with what I've got in the situation I'm in as well. Such is life! :)

Carolyn said...

We should start a support group.

Jenna Consolo said...

This was excellent! I've been harping on this theme frequently with my teenage daughter, but I realize that I am more guilty than I wanted to admit too. Thank you!

wonder woman said...

I feel exactly the same. About all of it. I didn't think it was "coveting." The house, the skinny moms, the garden, the old navy stuff....yeah. So thanks for this. It really is offensive to God.

p.s. Maybe you could ask Old Navy to take you off their e-mail list? At least till you feel like you have money to spend there? Ease the pain a little bit.

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