More is Better

I’m sure by now many of you have seen the AT&T commercial with the adorable children talking about how they want more, not less. AT&T prides itself on being one of the best wireless networks, promising “more” to its customers, but really, this campaign is heard all over the world today. Our society has taught us that it is okay to want more— that we deserve it. We live in an over-saturated, self-driven society that promotes material living and worldly success.

I was thinking about this recently as I considered how easy it has become to simply want it all. During Lent, my church members and I were encouraged to put on various spiritual disciplines instead of giving something up during the 40-day period. One week, we focused on simplicity. During that seven-day span, I purged items from my closet, gave away rarely used dishes, and committed not to buy anything unless absolutely necessary.

At first, I thought the experience would be relatively painless. I have never considered myself to be focused on the material. In many ways, my visual impairment has blessed me with the ability to set aside the “things” of this world simply because if they are unseen, I don’t feel like I need them. But I am finding that this is becoming less and less of a reality in my life. Recently, I have discovered the appeal of fancy shoes, headbands, and trendy clothes. For the first time in a long time, I feel like a woman— wanting to be outwardly beautiful— finding that it puts a spring in my step and provides me a bit of confidence.

As a result, I have found my closet has been transformed, leaving me many clothing articles that need new homes. Although I knew I would never wear certain pieces again, it was still difficult to give them away or even dispose of them. The ever-resourceful Dutch girl in me somehow thought that I might need these things some day— that it would be crazy to just let it all go.

But I had to relinquish the material things in order to find a deeper meaning in the midst of my closet. As I bagged up clothes, shoes, and household items, I found a great sense of release. I considered how none of these things was ever going to give me happiness. True, the new clothes and shoes made me feel girly and pretty, but I would never find true peace and joy in the stuff that cluttered my closet.

After a deep and meaningful conversation with a dear friend later that same week, I came to rediscover the overwhelming and passionate love of my Savior, not only for me but for friends and family who were hurting and grieving. (The story of this encounter is included in another post entitled “Restoration”). In that moment in time, I found a heightened passion for my Best Friend and I was overtaken by the reality of His sacrifice on my behalf. It was then that I wanted more— not another pair of shoes or a new cardigan to complete an outfit— but more of His love and presence in my life.

The things of this world will never measure up to the greatness of our God and the ultimate price His Son paid for us at Calvary. If a person wants more, he or she has only to look to the One who holds more than we could ever ask or imagine. Can we say with those kids from that AT&T commercial: “We want more”? Then we can understand that “it’s not complicated.”

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