Do I Need It, or Do I Want It?
by Jennifer AlLee
(The following post originally appeared on The Pastor's Wife Speaks on March 25, 2011)
One of the TV shows I enjoy watching is House Hunters. If you're not familiar with it, one family is showcased per episode. They always look at three different houses, and in the end they buy one. The fun is imagining which house might work best, weighing the pros and cons of each, then trying to guess which one will be purchased.
Tonight, I saw an episode about a family with four children who needed to downsize because the husband had been let go from his banking job. My heart immediately went out to them. How terrible to have to leave the home you expected to live in forever. (A 7200 square foot home.) But due to finances, it was important that they cut back anywhere they could.
It quickly became clear that "downsizing" meant something different to them than it means to me. In each home, when they found something that was old or they didn't like, they both responded with, "We'll have to replace that" or "that'll need an upgrade." After a while, I started to feel like I was listening to two spoiled children rather than a couple trying to be fiscally responsible.
But then I turned the mirror on myself. How many times have I claimed to need something, when in reality, it was merely something I wanted? How many times have I looked at something that was perfectly capable of serving my needs and said, "I want something else"?
There's nothing wrong with wanting nice things. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor. But it's important that we open our eyes and see things for what they really are. When we discern our needs from our wants, we're freed from envy. Freed from being unsatisfied. Freed from depression over not having. By seeing how God fulfills our needs, we are more fully able to praise him when he blesses us with the things we want. What a good and gracious Father he is!
How about you? Have you ever needed something, only to realize later that it wasn't as necessary as you thought? How do you deal with those "gotta have it" feelings?
JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, 11/07), The Pastor’s Wife (Abingdon Press, 2/10), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, 4/12) and the upcoming A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (Abingdon Press, 11/12). She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.