Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Can't Get No...

In general I have an idea of what I want to do for a blog post each month, but I've taken a break from posting for awhile so all those ideas were floating in my head and I'm picking my favorite as the topic for this month. It has to do with satisfaction. I'm not a rock music fan, but this phrase has been on my mind: 'I can't get no satisfaction...' 

The song rings true for many people. The object of satisfaction, of course, varies. It could be a sense of accomplishment, good grades, a nice salary, a dream home, a loving relationship, kids who appreciate you, or simply a clean apartment. The problem is that no matter how much we accomplish, there is always a state of higher satisfaction that can be reached, and hence, the elation of the feeling disappears quickly, especially with cleaning!

It's not feasible to do an experiment for each desire we have in life, but for one of my desires I did a little test at the beginning of the year. I didn't mention it on the blog or to that many people because I didn't know how long I would last. It was sort of an extended Lent, if you will.

I decided to give More specifically, I tried to not buy any new clothing, and if I wanted something I would make it myself (sew it).

When I look at my schrank (standing closet) it is full, and Max always tells me I look good whether I'm in a t-shirt or a dress. When I thought about what he said, I realized that I hardly ever feel like I look good. Most of the time I think I look 'almost' good, because there's always one or two things I could do to my outfit or add that would make it perfect. If I have a good dress I don't have the right shoes, or if I have the right shoes and clothes, sometimes the clothes don't fit exactly right. Or maybe what I'm wearing is great but my hair looks bad. Or, more recently, maybe I can't wear contacts because I'm tired (my eyes get too dry for them) and then I feel like an old lady with a bun and glasses. Old lady fashion is preferable for school since I teach middle school boys, but not really a good look for everywhere else.

The first three months of the experiment I constantly reminded myself that I have everything I need and more, but the thoughts were always in the back of my mind, 'I want a green coat, the shoes don't match this outfit, I want brown flats, if only I had smaller silver earrings...' and on and on. And when I talked about it to Max, he always said, 'But you look good babe!' Why didn't I believe him?

In about the fourth month I started to relax a little and to believe that I have all I need and I'm good, no need to buy the latest this or that. And in the meantime I finished a tank top sewing project that I'd had in my closet for a few months. I felt proud to create something of my own that mostly fit and looked cute. I think in the West most people take their clothing for granted and don't think about the effort put into making it, and then it's easier to throw away. If you make something yourself then it's more special and a little harder to get rid of (and usually cheaper.)

The last month of the challenge (May) I made the mistake of going to several clothing stores. I had to buy a dress for the prom and decided to break the trial. I saw all the new styles out (80s revamped really) and spent hours walking through the stores looking at the clothes. My favorite was all the lace put on everything, and I couldn't take it any longer. I bought a black top for the prom since I couldn't find a good dress, and then in June I bought a few new pieces. 

And still I wonder, with all that I have, why do I constantly want more? Not just in clothing, but in many ways. At what point can I be satisfied with what I have? Another word for satisfaction can be peace. Why can I not be at peace with certain things? I believe God places a restlessness in us in some circumstances for a good reason, especially when it's time for a transition in life (for example, I know some people who became obsessed with babies right before the wife became pregnant and they longed for a third person in their home). But there is a difference between this restlessness and unnecessary emotional desire that can damage life. What I mean is, sometimes it's okay to be restless and sometimes it's inappropriate. (This thought could be expanded much further but I leave it at that.)

I want to be at peace with what I have and not be longing for more. I particularly love this verse.

First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. -Proverbs 30:8 (New Living Translation)

The book of Proverbs is many times about finding the wisdom to understand a situation and deal with it accordingly, sometimes reacting one way and sometimes another (with the basis that wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord). That's why I said sometimes you can be restless and sometimes not, but ultimately knowing the right course is a matter of praying it through. 

Prom 2015