There's nothing quite like a nice tax refund to bring out the selfishness in my heart. The dear husband and I have been counting on being able to spend our refund on a new (for us) car. So I have been combing Craigslist for months and doing research on which car would be best for our family of 5. I am not a minivan lover but after having 3 kids in 3 cars seats straight across the back seat for the past 2 years, I was hoping to get something with a few more seatbelts...you know, so the kids can't touch each other while they are in the car. In my mind, my sanity is worth more than a few miles per gallon. So after months of internet searching and researching I find the "perfect" family car. A Kia Rondo. It is a wagon, NOT a minivan, and the gas mileage is decent. But it seats 7. Which means that all of my kids would fit in it with a seat in between them. And it is pretty cheap. And it gets good reviews. And there is one for sale just 20 miles from here. So I went to test drive it this past Sunday with the promise to my husband that I would not get my heart set on THAT particular car. I drove it and I liked it. I started planning which kid would sit where, and how nice it would be to have a little more room in the car. The hubby and I talked and discussed and talked and discussed. I showed him all the pictures of the car. I told him I wasn't going to throw a hissy fit and demand we get this particular car...I've done that in the past and it has never turned out well. But I was definitely already dreaming of being able to carry on a grown-up conversation in the front seats while the kids sing or hum happily to themselves in the back seats (hey, it's MY fantasy!!). So I was a bit taken aback last night when the husband tells me that he thinks we should save our money, do some work on our current vehicle and look at getting a car next year.
Disappointment. Some tears. Some pretty bitter thoughts. My laundry-folding took a slightly violent turn as pillowcases were shaken out and angrily folded. Enter Joy's thoughts, "Here I want just one nice thing in life and it gets thwarted. I'm so sick of waiting around for what I really want. Doesn't God understand that I really NEED this car?" And then I hear my own thoughts and the ridiculous selfishness there. This post really has nothing to do with a car. It has everything to do with the selfish (and utterly ridiculous) state of my heart. Here I am lamenting over a car and feeling pretty sorry for myself. Really, Joy?
And then I got mad. I got mad at myself. I got mad at myself for lamenting over a car that was never really mine to begin with. I started counting my blessings...a roof over my head, a soft, warm bed, food in the fridge, a car that works well enough, clothes and shoes... And I started feeling guilty. Guilty because I know there are a lot of people in America who don't have those things. And I know there are people in the world much worse off than the poorest people in America. And then I think about a mother in Africa who is holding and rocking and singing to her starving child. And then I think about the child who is starving and dying who doesn't even have a mother to rock her. And I went to Starbucks last week. And I bought a new skirt. And I went out to eat with a friend. Twice. And then the tears really come. Because my selfishness is a huge roaring monster in my room right now. And I am batting weakly at it with pitiful stick made up of pitiful excuses about not being able to help where I was born.
I've never really felt comfortable with the "as long as you give some of your time/money it is ok to live comfortably" message. I enjoy a good Caramel Frappuccino once in a while, but I can't seem to shush the voice that tells me that I could have used that $5 differently. If I get a new pair of shoes I wonder if I really "needed" them or if I could have used the same ones for a few more months. Is it wrong to spend $5 on a bottle of shampoo because I like my hair to be shiny when I could just as easily spend $1 for a bottle (and have considerably less shiny hair)? Should I feel guilty that I can hop in the car and drive 15 minutes to pick up a bottle of vanilla and flavored coffee creamer because I forgot to get it on my regular grocery shopping trip earlier today (you know, the one where my cart was so full there weren't room for my kids to sit in it anymore)? I suppose you could say that I suffer from "first world guilt." A friend recommended I read Jen Hatmaker's book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. But I went on Amazon and put it in my shopping cart and there it sits. I can't even justify spending $10 on a new book that I could probably borrow from someone. And I have to admit that I am afraid to read it. That maybe she will tell me that I should actually DO something with this "first world guilt" I feel.
And so I go to sleep with these thoughts jostling in my head...in my nice, warm, comfortable bed.
What you are going to find on this blog: my thoughts (sometimes raw), my heart (spilling out), my honesty (maybe shocking), my ramblings (sometimes quite rambly!), my Jesus...especially that last one.
What you are not going to find: Platitudes (yuck), quick fixes (they don't exist), someone who acts like she has it all together...because I definitely DON'T!
I started this blog because I know the depths of muck in my own heart and the twistedness of my own thinking...and as I talked through my struggles with others I realized that I am not alone. So I promise to be honest with you, even if I think you aren't going to like me any more if I reveal the "real me." So if you want to keep thinking that I am a "nice" person, don't read my blog because I am not a nice person. But I am a redeemed person, saved by grace, for which I am eternally grateful.