Lately I've felt a shift in the way I view my possessions. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to decorate. I am constantly on the lookout for beautiful things at bargain prices. I love purses and shoes as much as the next girl and have a deep appreciation for creative stationery and beautiful paper goods. A few months ago a "Super Target" opened literally right behind my house - we can walk to it. I was giddy with excitement to go and check it out (especially the paper aisle). I was oohing and ahhing right along with everyone else over all the STUFF. Today I walked through Target because my 6 year old had a gift card she wanted to spend. I felt almost sick. I just wanted to get in and get out. Why the change?
I think that it's due to several things...the first of which is that I'm realizing that my relationship to my possessions is a direct reflection of where my heart is. And I want my heart to be reflective of God's heart. I'm pretty certain that God's not running through the Target aisles freaking out over the amazingly cute paper and high heeled shoes. I'm beginning to see that God is more likely wanting me to ask myself "Do I really need this?" Even if I have the money for it - do I NEED it?
My faith can pretty much be boiled down to two simple commands found in the same scripture -Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and Love your neighbor as yourself. Interesting how it doesn't just end "Love your neighbor". That would have been easier. But it's the "as yourself" part that I think I'm waking up to. Turns out I love myself pretty well. Also turns out I don't love my "neighbor" very well at all. My "neighbor" might be in incredible need while I'm trying to decide if I should by my 5th pair of high heels. Actually, let me tweak that last sentence a bit - my neighbor IS in incredible need. It might be my literal neighbor next door, my "neighbor" who frequents the Drop In Center downtown for food and clothes, my "neighbor" at work or my "neighbor" around the world in Africa. Somebody somewhere is in need. Many folks would say that we can't be responsible for everyone. Of course we can't possibly meet everyone's needs - but we can meet some. And how many needs I meet is directly related to the decisions I make in the Target aisle. The question becomes - is my heart even turned toward my neighbor? Am I even THINKING about anybody else??
The other thing that I think contributed to my Target reaction today is that some people I know just got back from a trip to Uganda visiting some orphanages. At one orphanage, many of these kids were thankful to just have porridge made out of just flour and water. Can you imagine? What's worse is that this particular orphanage only has resources to care for around 100-150 kids and so when it's time to eat, the other HUNDREDS of children who were there from the surrounding area but not part of the orphanage had to go sit on the grass and watch the other kids eat since there wasn't enough food to feed them. Can you even imagine? This breaks my heart. No wonder the shoe aisle at Target held absolutely no appeal for me today. What must God think as He looks down on me? I haven't been a good steward of what He's given me. I haven't been loving my neighbor. I have been self consumed. But by God's grace I think that is changing. It must.