Monday, July 21, 2014

The Glass Slipper Blues

A few days ago I was in Target with my daughter. If you had walked past us in the shoe department you would probably have wondered what was going on. She was laying flat on her back and we were talking. She wasn’t throwing a fit and she wasn’t in trouble, we were both growing.

It all started with a pair of shoes.

Hannah came across a fabulous pair of glass slipper(ish) Cinderella shoes. We were shopping for school shoes so these high-heeled head turners were not on the list but I could understand the attraction. They were dream shoes to a four year old, self-proclaimed princess. She desperately wanted to try them on so I let her, explaining the whole time that we would not be buying them. She said she understood but as soon as her foot slid into that shoe I saw the change. She went from casual wanting to an overwhelming need to have them. She strutted around, as much as she could with them being bungeed together, and loved every second of it.

Then it was over. She asked about buying them again and I explained that we only had money set aside for school shoes right now. I told her if they were on sale that we may be able to do both but that we would need to check the price. She said she understood and we went to find a price scanner. They were full price - $19.99. So we walked back to the aisle and put them away. This is when she sat down and then laid back on the ground and we began to talk.

Me: “What’s wrong Bugs?”
Hannah: “It just feels so bad”
Me: “What feels so bad?”
Hannah: “Wanting something and not getting to buy it. I really love those shoes”
Me: “I understand that feeling and that you are disappointed. It is okay to feel that way.”
Hannah: silence
Me: silence

After about a minute she sat back up and we held hands and walked out of the store purchase free. Later as I was tucking her in for her nap and she brought up the shoes again. We discussed how our money isn’t just to make us happy but something we need to be wise with as we spend. We talked about the difference between a need and want. We talked about other real needs of kids in the world. And we talked about how maybe one day she could save and buy the shoes herself.  

For me, this is where minimizing and simplicity can get hard. Gifts are my love language so, of course, I want her to have the best of everything. I want my daughter to not “want” for anything, I want her to enjoy every moment of her life and if I even begin to think that I can accomplish these dreams for her by buying her more stuff, I have missed the boat completely.

Just one day after Hannah had her “it just feels bad moment” I went into TJ Maxx. I fell in love with roughly 15 things there, none of them on the back to school list that was in my hand, so I walked away empty handed too. It used to feel bad when I would do that, and to be honest, sometimes it still does. I even posted about it on Instagram.
(Owning any one of these things will never match the feeling I get from serving God with my whole heart.)
But, when I stop and think about what really matters and where my real investment is, the bad feeling goes away.

So here is what I think is true in the long run, more than likely I will always struggle against the desire to get stuff I like but don’t need and guess what, IT IS OKAY to struggle. The struggle isn’t a sin, in fact, it usually means that God is growing me in that area.

I also think it will always be a struggle to figure out where that line is. You know the one I am talking about, the one that says God blesses me with good things and the one that says that I am called to give it all to Him and choose wisely. I have said it before, I don’t think God cares what we own (to a degree), I think He cares about what owns us. I do believe He would choose for us to live a life that is more simple, simply because He is easier to hear outside of all the chaos “stuff” can bring.

So, do you struggle in this area? Are there times when “it just feels bad?” Let me tell you sister, it is okay. I am right there with you. Let’s struggle together.