Late one afternoon, I poured myself a strong cup of tea, sat my oldest son down, and said, "OK, what is going on? You've been crabby for two days."
"I'm a spoiled rich kid, Mom. I have too much stuff, and I don't appreciate any of it."
Wow, definitely not what I was expecting. "I agree," I admitted gently, "You do have a lot, but you also have a choice. You can choose to live differently."
"Your Dad and I once struggled with this same issue. We were bored and discontent, always looking for the next thing to satisfy us. We had a lot of stuff. Stuff we had to store and dust and clean and insure. We were selfish and self-focused. We attended church when we felt like it, never read our Bibles, rarely prayed, and gave very little."
"So what'd you do?"
"We talked about it. Then we gave away or sold much of what we had. We knew it was pretty drastic, and very few people understood, but we really believed it was the only way we'd learn to be content."
"Was it hard?"
"Sometimes. Most things were pretty easy to give away, but there was one thing each of us knew we needed to let go of that was really hard. For your Dad, it was his collection of Terry Redlin wildlife art prints. For me, it was my engagement ring."
"Yes. Your Dad had given me a very beautiful, very expensive ring, and it was a huge source of pride for me, wrongful pride. I wanted people to notice it, to comment on it, and that was wrong. So I made the decision to sell it, and we replaced it with a simple, $60 gold band."
"Did you ever regret selling it?"
"The afternoon we sold it, I was afraid I'd made a terrible mistake. It was so humbling to look down at that simple gold band. Yet as the days passed, I felt a gentle, quiet peace. I no longer cared whether or not people noticed me or my ring. It didn't matter. I had nothing to prove, no false images to maintain, no statement to make. I was OK just being me.
"Kyle, you do have a lot, but you also have a choice. God has given you much, but that comes with responsibility. God blesses us, so we can be a blessing to others. That's where we find joy and contentment. So, listen to what God's telling you through this time of discontent, and never be afraid to follow His lead, even if it doesn't seem to make any sense today."
"What do you mean?"
"I never imagined God had a bigger plan for my ring and our bare walls, but He did. He's filled our walls with your artwork, Kyle, and my brother designed a beautiful ring for me just months before he died. Never be afraid to follow God's plans for your life, Kyle. They are greater than anything you can ever begin to imagine."
Cindee Snider Re lives in Sussex, WI with her husband, their five children, two cats, and two Shichon puppies. She enjoys quiet evenings, long walks, good books, homeschooling her kids, and lots of good, strong, hot, black tea.