Monday, June 04, 2012

the longing

hi ho :)

how are ya? it was a quiet and peaceful two days for me, a nice respite before entering back into a busy week. times like that are always good for reflection. it seems that this weekend was no exception.

i found myself completely and totally content on saturday - a WHOLE day with no parameters...just whatever i felt like doing. that ended up being gardening, thinking about gardening, and more gardening. with lunch on the grill and a beer on the patio thrown in for good measure. yes, it's 'beer season' again. silly me.

i digress.

anyway, it was all going swimmingly until she showed up. and sometime in the aftermath, i started to think that maybe she was a tiny hidden evil. or a large one, depending on your relationship with her.

yep, we are talking about the woman we all call 'martha.'

you see, later that day, i sat down with my latest issue of Martha Stewart Living - a favorite dalliance - to relax and drink in the 'pretty.'

wow. what an especially lovely issue, with things from homemade graham crackers for smores, CSAs and indie crafts to simple living galore.

the thing is, all of that visual pleasure did a not-so-good thing to me almost before i could stop it ... it made me start fantasizing about all that i don't have. it made me look around my beige plastic house, and want a bunch of new stuff. it made me want to get rid of the neighbor's and get new ones. it made me decide to scour the internet for hours, looking for acreages and a new life.

it made me feel like my life is so much less than i want it to be. sigh. so much less.

almost immediately afterwards, i sensed the Lord speaking to me about this. telling me that although He desires beauty and simplicity and order in things, they are not to be found in earthly pleasures. not to be found in anything martha (or anybody else) is selling. not to be found EXCEPT in Him. ever. it was another reminder to hold loosely to things, outside of Jesus Christ. i think it is part of a long journey that God began in me about a year ago, when i sold mabel because i was looking for something more peaceful.

there was a neat 'tie-in' last night when i was watching mad men (God can use anything) and don said in an especially heart-breaking episode:

'what is happiness? it's the MOMENT before you need more happiness.'

such wisdom from a tv show, eh? happiness is fleeting. happiness is not going to fulfill our deep, ever-present yearnings. happiness is nothing, except tied to the One who brings JOY. joy is what we want, people, let us not forget that.

so today, i'm putting martha on hold, and asking God what to do with those desires. it's hard to do, this idea of giving up the desire for perfection - for peace - for beauty - for ease and for completeness. but to be quite honest, i'm pretty sure by now that we all know that the story continues :)

happy week!

Delight yourself in the Lord, 
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4


Ellen said...

You know, I've been thinking along much of the same lines. In fact, this weekend I was musing about Martha and BHG and how much I love all their beauty and ideas, but I often feel dissatisfied and discontent after perusing.

I realized that it's similar to how I used to feel looking through YM and Seventeen when I was a teenager judging myself against airbrushed perfection.

Suddenly, a phrase jumped into my head: house porn. Seriously! It may be crass, but I think I'm on to something. I need to be very careful how I handle these images, because they can create lust for things. Unrealistic, fleeting things that only leave me wanting more.

I'm reading an incredible book by Randy Alcorn right now -- "Money, Possessions and Eternity." I'm soaking up the wisdom and trying to live with the tension of wanting beauty in this life while realizing it will all become dust and ashes. Instead, there is eternal beauty and treasure I need to store up.

Sorry for the essay. I guess this is my long-winded way of saying, "Amen!"

Oh, and p.s. This is all so timely for me because Chuck's just taken a new job and we're looking at houses and I just want to make everything pretty and I could waste HOURS on Pinterest (except that I'm not letting myself even get on there)! :)

Sorry for the ridiculously long comment!

bobbione8y said...

ellen! this post makes me want to have coffee with you and see you!!!!!

sigh. i know that you know what i was talking about with the Martha thing. i think all my 'pursuit of beauty' friends know. it's a trap to call it living simply, or some other dumb reference. it's all the same - wanting what is ASHES. i would love to see God's heart in this - THAT is my pursuit for now ;)

i will look into that book! it sounds so perfectly up my alley!

tell me more about the job when you have a moment ;)) i'm so grateful for our continued connection!

um. long response, too.