First World Problems

My husband and I have been reminded lately how blessed we are.

He had our garage door spring replaced the other day, and has been considering replacing the twenty year old motor that’s dripping oil and roaring under the strain, plus he’d been suffering with a remote opener that no longer worked (and it wasn’t just the battery — he had to buy a new one).

I empathized with him about what an inconvenience it was for him to have to get out of the car, go in through the front door, open the garage from the inside, and only then be able to pull his car into the garage. Especially when it’s raining!

Then we laughed about it.

Here he is griping about his temporary and minor problem when we have so much — a mortgage-free house with attached garage and two paid-off cars. There are lots of people would love to have half that much!

The other night, we were trying to decide what movie to watch on Netflix while we ate our burrito bowls picked up from the local Chipotle Mexican restaurant, and my husband and I were so overwhelmed with all there were to choose from, we couldn’t decide, so we just settled on watching an episode from each of two of our favorite series, Flash and Green Arrow.

We have a hard time deciding on a rented movie from the hundreds of options displayed in front of us. Stuck in indecision, we agonize over the menu at a restaurant salivating over so many dishes we’d like to try. We stand in our packed closet staring at all our clothes yet complain we have nothing to wear.

As a society, we want more and more of everything — variety, options, possessions, time, money, freebies, the list is endless — and we are spoiled to think that’s the way life is and should be.

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The US, as with other affluent countries, struggles with obesity and an increase in diabetes diagnoses because fast food is the norm and the amount of food we eat is way beyond what our body needs.

So much is wasted, though, from the sheer difficulty of making a decision and from not being able to use everything we have. Many people throw away enough leftovers and wasted food to feed an entire African village.

First-world problems can really be a sobering reminder of the opulence in which we live and how easy it is to take what we are blessed with for granted.

More so in third-world countries, but also here in the States, there are people who don’t have a roof over their heads, let alone a garage and two cars. Some people may not know where their next meal’s coming from or if there’ll even be one, let alone enjoy a restaurant-prepared meal and the comfort of a recliner couch from which to watch a movie.

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These thoughts have been magnified ever since starting the “writing my reality” exercise suggested by writing coach Jennifer Blanchard. It’s really been an eye opener for me.

As a daily exercise, it’s designed to help struggling novice writers like myself reprogram our brains to imagine and believe the life we’d like to live when we’re the successful professional authors could actually be possible. It gives us a goal to work towards, kind of like dangling a carrot in front of us, to help us stay motivated to keep moving forward, even when the going gets tough and we’re discouraged, or things are not happening as fast as we’d like them to. After we write our reality, she recommends we spend a few minutes visualizing the reality we’ve created, kind of the same way professional athletes get a mental image of themselves making a goal or winning the race. It has been shown to help accomplish what is being sought.

Anyway, as I do my daily habit of freestyle writing (more like journaling, for me) and “writing my reality,” I can’t help but think about the commonly sought-after “reality” many newbie writers have of becoming rich and famous from their writing.

I admit I was caught up in that for a while, too.

You know, stuff like having multiple NY Times best-selling novels, the words flowing like a spring river after a heavy rain allowing two or more books to be written each year, multitudes of adoring fans clambering for our latest release and always giving rave 5-star reviews, and of course, the big fancy house in the most prestigious neighborhood with all the fine trimmings that go along with fame and fortune.

Sure, it all sounds great, and it’s easy to be tempted by the lure of material wealth — after all, that’s why lottery tickets sell so well. It’d be great to never have to consider the price of something before I bought it or to have to shop around for the best price. I’d love to have all the time and resources I could possible want to shop and travel wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I’d buy my husband and myself a Tesla each and find the house of my dreams on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Then I’d hire a housekeeper, cook, landscaper, and all the other people necessary to do the jobs I’d rather not do.

Until I’m reminded by the small voice within me that it’s not about me and having “stuff” is really not the point to life.  It can be a perk of life, but it shouldn’t be the purpose of life.

So, my new “reality” is more like a prayer of thanksgiving for all the Lord has blessed me with, including the success of my novels. It includes having the free time to set my own schedule so that I can volunteer at worthy charities as well as being blessed financially so that I can give away thousands upon thousands of dollars to said charities, like Samaritan’s Purse and Joyce Meyer Ministries, that help the afflicted, abused, oppressed, war-torn, poverty-stricken, and persecuted. That would be so cool!

It’s exciting to think that not only would I be making a difference in people’s lives through my writing, which would reach a section of the population that can afford to buy my books and has the time and environment suited to reading, but I’d also be showing Christ’s love through my contributions of time and money to a whole other section of the population that wouldn’t be in the market to buy and read a book because their focus is on survival.

Now that would be living! And I call it living by faith because it says in Matthew 21:12, Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.” And in Matthew 9:29 it says about Jesus, Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.”

I have to believe first, in faith, then I will see it come to be.

But even the blind men from Matthew 9:29 wouldn’t have received their sight if they hadn’t taken the initial step of approaching Jesus and asking him to heal them because, as it says in James 2:22, You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.

In other words, I’ve got to get to work. I can’t just sit back and expect my new “reality” to appear before my eyes. I have to do my part to make it happen and that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve got 30, 60, and 90 day goals set and now I just have to quit the procrastinating so I don’t disappoint myself again by not following through.

So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a novel to plan! 😊

 

What would your new reality be if you could write it into existence? What first steps do you need to take before it will start to materialize?

 

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