Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reality Check

I just received my March issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

It really is a lovely magazine. The cover picture is inspiring and spring-y. The colors are lovely. The headlines enticing.

But it also gives me a horrible case of the "I wants".

I want crisp, white cove molding in all the rooms of my house. I want a room with a little nook for a comfy chair, reading lamp and cute little side table. I want silk draperies in my livingroom. I want an outdoor entertaining room. I want a gazebo and a cute little tool shed. I want to be able to find all the ingredients to just one recipe at my local grocers. Oh, and I want brand new cabinetry in my kitchen.

Oh yeah, and I want a beautiful colonial/ranch home with the beautiful yard and woods. And a brand new crossover vehicle with all the bells and whistles.

Honestly. Are these homes for real? Are the people in them really as happy as they seem? And just how much do you have to net a year to afford to live like this? And why is this held up as the norm. As if everyone has the time and money to afford all this stuff? And why do we feel we ought to have it all? Why do we feel entitled?

My friend Jen at Grace and Glory recently wrote a very insightful post about our expectations as Americans and material wealth. It has really gotten me to start examining my own battle with covetousness and what I think I deserve out of this life.

Reading BH&G is really not helpful in this examination process. Neither is watching HGTV or going to my favorite store (um...that would be IKEA). It's really a form of temptation that leads to dissatisfaction with the blessings I have. That then leads to being unthankful. Whoa....we're getting awfully close to sin here.

God has given me soooo much. Much more than I deserve. I mean to say that a generation ago what I have would have been considered to be living at the top of the middle class heap. How much more do I want? He has given me all I need and a little more. For all of that I need to be thankful.

I think I will be letting my subscription to BH&G lapse. I want to be happy with what I have. It may not be all coordinated just so. There may be unfinished spots here and there. But it is all that I need and more.


Shawna said...

I am SO right there with you! I have I-wantitis bad sometimes. I quit subscribing to Maatha. I don't watch HGTV ( G. it TV!). And no, none of it has a lick to do with being joyful.

Anonymous said...

Cyndy... You never cease to amaze me with your insights into the human heart. You have an incredible ability to cut right through to what's really important in life, yet do it in a kind, gentle manner. I admire your ability to express these thoughts into words in a loving, caring way. Have you ever thought of one day compiling all of your posts into a book? :) ~Sam

Linda said...

You spoke my feelings exactly. For me, most of the time, it's better that I not look at those picture-perfect homes. I'm actually pretty content, until I start looking around. I heard that comparison is the killer of joy. I believe it.

Amy said...

i was reading bh&g the day you posted this, while working out at the Y. i like getting some reading time in while frantically trying to stay upright on the elliptical machine, and real books are hard to focus on, so i read their mags.

it's hard to not get i-want-itis! but i also have been told by my husband to take part of our tax return and use it to decorate our home. I asked him if it was a 'here honey, have fun doing this because i know you want to' or 'do something with this house will ya!'. he said it was both.

frankly, photos on peoples blogs give me more want-itis because:

-they're real homes with kids
-it's more within my reach financially. i know most things in a mag. are completely out of my reach.
-they're more practical and helpful.

several of my favorite cookbooks point out the disparity between rich america and other countries with stories from misionaries. it helps keep me mindful.

Jen said...


I totally remember having this same thought about BH&G a few years ago! TOTAL want-itis! Ughh! BUT, contentment with godliness is great gain.

I LOVE your blog!