At least once a month if not more I find myself parking up at the local shopping parade and dropping a bag of unwanted goods into our local Save the Children store. Now this in itself is not a bad thing to do, in fact I would positively encourage you to do the same. What is bad is that I have enough stuff to keep doing this. Surely most people just clear out and sort once a quarter or even less? I do it constantly, the crap just keeps on flowing from my house.
I truly believe I have had a epiphany the last few months and have realised how wasteful and terrible I have been. God trusts me to be a good steward of all that He provides and I have not been keeping up my end of the bargain with this. I have been chasing the things of this world instead of cherishing the really important things and developing my relationships with God, my family and friends too. One good thing with this is that I have started to say no even more to review products, they only manage to drop through my door if we really need them now.
I wrote recently about how obsessed the western world has become with things and gaining everything now and to some extent I had got stuck into that as well but I want to change. I need to change, all the time I try to fill any gap in my life with anything other than self-loving I am chasing a dream that will never be fulfilled.
I recall as a teenager I had aspirations to be earning big money by the time I was 30 (really old I thought then), having my own office at work and having the power to have sex on my desk at work, wearing power suits, having a 4 bedroom house, lots of abroad holidays and a nice convertible car. Those were the things that a young Michelle thought equalled success.
I went to University and got top marks in my HND, then top marks in my degree, then I did well at work and still I was striving for this missing thing. That special something that would fill the gaping hole that was inside me. Maybe it was about a steady boyfriend, got that. A fantastic holiday abroad, done that. Getting married? Having a baby? Earning very big money? Nope, did all of these and I was still seeking. What was it I was searching for?
Then in 2004 dh and I went on holiday to the Dominican Republic, we left JJ with my parents (he was just one) and had a week away together. Some thought we were selfish but we needed that time alone, time to work on our marriage and to fall in love again. In that week I read a 'Life coach in a week' book and recently I found the goals I had written down, they did not differ that much to the ones the teenage Michelle had written about 13 years earlier. I was still the same person with the same shallow goals, yes they now included a husband and a son but it was still about a big house, lots of money, losing weight and looking sexy. Yes, can you believe I even had that as one of my goals. *cringe*
I do not know when the change happened, when the hole got filled but at some point in the last decade the hole went, it just closed up and disappeared. Some I know call it a 'God shaped hole' and when you find what you need it just slots in. For me it about God and seeking to live a Christian life as Jesus would have. Not preaching at people and becoming judgemental but seeking to love everyone whatever our differences.
It is now 2011 and if I was going to write some life goals they would be so different. Yes of course I want a nice home to live in, but guess what? I have one. I would love some work done on it but I won't be doing that at the expense of getting into pointless debt. One day dh and I dream of having our own business and this will happen when the time is right, we probably won't make mega money but we will be together doing something we love with our kids close, that has to be worth more than money in the bank!
I know many of you think I am a raving Christian Looney, that I am too hard on myself as you believe I have a hard and wrathful God dictating to me how I must live and others of you think I am just plain strange and deluded but for me I choose to be content. Every day I make a decision to be happy and to love what I have rather than to seek more. It is from that philosophy that my weekly linky Reasons to be Cheerful was born and I have to just say how blessed I have been by this feature on my blog.
Every week a group of women and just last week men too (yay!) choose to look on the bright side of life and declare their gratitude for what has gone well. Some of those people are going through really difficult things and they use #R2BC to cheer themselves up and to pull themselves through. You all have no idea how blessed I am by your continued support and the fact that you choose to see the grace in small things.
From the bottom of my heart thank you. Mich xx