Posted by: Nathan | August 18, 2010

I Have a Confession :: Materialism

My confession today is very simple, but comes from a place of complete brokenness…

I like stuff.

Best Buy, Target, Amazon, eBay, Barnes & Noble, AutoTrader, Zappos, Apple… I could write a 500 word post just with the places I like to spend my money on things I in no way need.  This is not a momentary battle for me, this is one that I have struggled with since the day I drew my first paycheck working for my dad’s construction company some 15 years ago.  As soon as I would get my check my mind would instantaneously be filled with the images of the tens of thousands of ways I could spend my meager pittance on the latest desire of my heart.

I have left a trail of computers, CD’s, DVD’s, video games (& systems), books, cars, clothes, shoes – and hundreds of other “must haves” – in my wake a mile long and a mile wide.  Somewhere deep in my psyche there is something that screams “If you buy this you will have found peace!!!”

I came to the conclusion many years ago that this is a lie from the deepest, darkest places imaginable.

But still…I buy.  I spend.  I purchase.  I “invest” (materialist talk for “this is really expensive, but I’ll justify it by telling everyone I’m keeping it for a long time…I never do).

So this is the place in the story where I share my change of heart.  Where I tell Rick Warren-esque stories of living on 10% and giving 90%.  Where I regale you with the tale of my journey into ultra-spiritual relational monasticism free from the burden of want.

The reality is that I have no less desire to buy every last “thing” in my heart and mind.  However, ever so slowly, the reality has become that my desire to see the way of Jesus pass into the hearts and minds of the 25,000 college students who call UNC Charlotte home has grown even larger.

You see, one of my largest thorns always has been – and will be – material goods.  But for God to remove that desire wouldn’t be an act of Grace – it would be an act of spoiling me.   I am coming to learn that true surrender does not come when God replaces my desire with His, but rather when He overwhelms me with His Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Mercy, Gentleness, Kindness, Self-control, and Grace to the point that I can realize that His path towards wholeness is where I will find my Peace.

So I stand here today broken.  Perhaps not transformed, but more in awe of the grace and mercy of my loving father than I was yesterday.  For that I am thankful, and for that my heart is filled with joy.

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