‘Umm, what is that?’ my sister asked me when she came to my house for the first time. ‘You’re not leaving that there are you?’
I have a floor mat. It’s pretending to be a rug, but it’s really just a mat. My housemate and I like it. The colour works in the room and, let’s be honest, the fact that everyone else seems to hate it makes us stubbornly like it more.
But I’ll admit, a month in to the mat pretending to be a rug, and it is starting to wear on me. The truth is, it does look like a panting drop sheet. It’s cream so it gets dirty within a week, and you can’t vacuum it because the vacuum just sucks it up. I’ve machine washed it twice already and it’s too heavy to iron so it just sits on the floor in a rumpled mess.
Whether we like it or not, its days are numbered.
And then I found a rug at IKEA. Like, an actual rug. One that would be vacuumable and that had colours that would work in the house. It was $99. Normally it would be a no brainer. It’s the smart choice. It’s the perfect replacement. It’s what would keep our feet off the cold floor in winter.
But I promised I wasn’t going to buy anything new. So really it should be a no brainer. But I’m agonizing.
It’s been a week since I moved house, and a week since I quit shopping.
I have been surprised at what I’ve learned about myself already. Like how slack I’ve been about taking care of the things I have.
I have two pairs of running shoes. I’m the type who buys new running shoes about every 5 years. You’d think that could be testament to how well I look after them, but really it shows how often I go running.
Anyway, I have two pairs: One old one that sits in the back of my car in case I face an emergency muddy adventure, and one pair that is ‘new,’ that I wear to the gym.
A couple of weeks ago I was painting and gardening at my new house. I was wearing the new runners and the old ones were in the car; just right there in the car. And guess which ones I wore to get splattered with paint and caked with mud? Yep, the new ones.
The old me was willing to ruin her new shoes rather than change, because she could always just buy more.
The new me is kicking herself. The new me sat down and cleaned her shoes for the first time since her mum made her as a child. The new me will be wearing paint splattered runners to the gym for the rest of the year.
The new me will learn to take better care of what she’s got.
There’s something I want. I don’t need it, but the more I think about having it, the more I want it. It costs a lot of money, but last night, it looked like God was going to let me have it. It looked like I was going to be blessed with a really good deal, and like the spoilt child who suddenly finds a lot of love in their hearts for their parents when they’re getting what they want, I found it easy to praise God for His goodness to me.
Suddenly life was looking good. I felt myself basking in God’s favour. I saw God blessing me even though I didn’t deserve it.
And then this morning, it was all gone, and sadly so was my joy; and tragically so was my trust in God’s goodness.
It reminds me of this quote from the funny clip below by Louis CK, which is sadly far too relevant for my generation: ‘How quickly the world owes us something we knew existed only 10 seconds ago.’
How quickly my hope in God becomes dependent on Him doing things my way.
How quickly I allow material goods to have a defining influence on my happiness.
God has blessed me abundantly. But sometimes I don’t get what I want, even when it does seem that He has orchestrated all the stars to align to give it to me. How long will I allow my relationship with him to be dependent on His gifts to me?