Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.

by Jason

Originally this blog was to be written by both Theresa and I.   I am not a writer, so this turned into Theresa's blog, but I hope that her readers and sponsors don't mind if I post today.

Last night I had a weird dream that I would like to share.  I dreamed that I was walking down a street of castles, but these castles were not owned by super-rich people, they were owned by just regular, middle-class people like Theresa and I.  Theresa and I lived in this neighborhood of castles.  Nobody in the neighborhood had the mindset that they had more than anyone else.

I saw a man with a mask over his face, who looked like a robber lurking about, looking into windows and being sketchy.

I tried to catch up with the man, but he was just out of my reach.  Every time I almost caught up to him, he vanished.

In my dream, I was on my way to church and so I went in.  The church I was going to was open-mic.  People stood up and shared what was on their minds.  I went up to the mic and I was much more poetic in my dream than I am sure I will be here.  I spoke to the crowd about me having more than enough, having what I need and that we should appreciate what we have.  As I was speaking to the people in the church, I saw the robber lingering in the back of the room.  When I ended my open-mic time, I went to the back of the church and I spoke to the robber and told him that I have learned to save and invest and make wise decisions and I shared what I learned with him.  I told him it was not about what you don't have, but about what you do have.  I don't know whether or not he wanted to hear it.

We have been going through some struggles with our church as of late.  This morning Theresa and Allie chose to go to church while Piper and I decided to stay home.  After Theresa and Allie left, I told Piper we would have our own church.  We made an Advent wreath for our family and then I decided to pick up this little book that Theresa keeps by our bed.  I turned to today's date in the book, November 27, and this was what I found:

The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.  Psalm 23:1

It was one of those chilling moments to say the least.  That verse captures my dream last night.  I couldn't wait for Theresa to come home from church so that I could share this experience with her.

There are a few things I see here.  God speaks to us in amazing ways.  Really cool ways.

In my dream I lived in the castle because I feel like I do live in a castle.  There are definitely people who have a lot more than we do, but we have everything we need and want.  I want for nothing.  I am happy.  I am loved.  I am well fed.  I have a great marriage and beautiful children and a loving family.  I am happy most of the time.  And when I am not happy, well those times help me to appreciate the times when I am happy.  My life is good.  I am happy with who I am and what my work allows me to do.  My list goes on and on.

I also think it is interesting that no one in the castles had the mindset that they had more than anyone else.  Those are the people who are on the path Theresa and I have chose to be on.  The people we now surround ourselves and our family with.

I wonder if the robber in my dream was the man I was years ago, when I was always trying to compete and have what everyone else had.  I worked crazy hours and never saw my family.  I hardly knew my kids.  I was never content because I was always chasing the next ring on the carousel and it was never ending.  I ran in circles, much like a mouse on a wheel.  I would say I was happy, but it was not the satisfied, content happiness that I know now.

Since Piper and I were having our own little Time with God, I decided to share with her some of the ideas that I have about this.  I told her that it is not about what you don't have, it is about what you do have.  I told her that if you compare yourself with others, you will never be happy.  There will always be someone who has more than you.  You need to make decisions based on what is right FOR YOU.  Don't be influenced to buy or want because others have it.

I told Piper that when I was younger it seemed to me that everyone had more than I did.  I thought I would be cool if I had what they had and I set myself on that path, but I was never really happy.  Just as I got something, there was another gold ring to get.

I told Piper that when I was younger it seemed that everyone had more than I did, but that I also saw that Person A, who had everything was just not a nice person and then Person B who didn't have as much would give you the shirt off their back.  It just didn't make sense to me.  I guess the common answer here is that money can't buy happiness.  Or maybe Person A was caught up in that struggle to always have the next big thing and they were never happy, never content, never satisfied.  Life kind of sucks when you are caught up in that.

I told Piper that we are all on a path.  When she and Allie were little, it was my job and Theresa's job to change their stinky diapers and feed them.  Now our job is to guide them on the path.  We do that by talking about things like this, encouraging their friendship with people who are on a similar path to ours, by going to church, by discouraging them from the people whose paths we think will bring no good.

To summarize:

It is not about what you don't have, but what you do have.

If you are always looking at what everyone else has and trying to get the next big thing, you will never be content or happy with your life.

Appreciate what you have.