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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

The End of Shopping as We Know It (or Being Content in All Circumstances)
Date Posted: April 25, 2010

O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
William Shakespeare

Several years ago, I was visiting a friend, and we were shopping. My friend Julie, a true wardrobe genius, was trying to help me put a few outfits together after too many years of saying "when I lose weight, I'll go shopping."

We had just pulled into the parking lot of our 3or 4th store.

"Melissa, I've finally gotten everything I want, and I'm bored," she said.

I hope my eyebrows didn't go up too far. With a fresh satisfaction in her voice, she went on.

"It's like a trick from God. He's given me everything I thought I wanted, and now I'm bored."

Hmm. I got the impression that if she'd known this ahead of time, it would have saved her a lot of trouble. She could have skipped the years of shopping to create the perfectly put together home and image, and gone straight to the work she's now doing for foster kids. The comment definitely took the wind out of my shopping sails.

Author Steve Brown has this to say about my often discontented, furrowed brow:

"The most unhappy person in the world is not someone who didn't get what he or she wanted. The most unhappy person is the one who got what he or she wanted and then found out that it wasn't as wonderful as expected.

The secret of a happy life is not to get what you want but to live with what you've got. Most of us spend our lives concentrating on what we don't have instead of thanking God for what we do have. Then we wake up, our life is over, and we missed the beauty of the present. You think about that."

And I thought about that. And I realized that I was letting the pursuit of all-this-stuff-we-don't-really-need keep me from being content. Even if the boys shoes are smelly and torn up, and I don't have the money to buy new ones, that's no good reason to be discontent and stressed out. I need to relax and say with Paul:

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:11-12)

(The quote is from Steve Brown, "Jumping Hurdles, Hitting Glitches, Overcoming Setbacks." Citation: Servant Magazine, September, 1993, p. 8.

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Biography Information:
I'm a preacher's kid, pastor's wife, and southern belle who married a Southern California boy. Can you say 'culture clash?' Scott and I have four boys - Max, Mark, Jackson, and Grant who keep us busy with homework and sports.

Scott and I have been married 22 years and currently live in Northern California where we are beginning year five as church planters. I also teach 12th grade English and love it.

I would love to hear from you. Email me anytime at
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