So there’s a new grill that I want.  I got some money for it for Father’s Day, and the one I’m eyeing is just a little bit more expensive.  There’s also some outdoor gear I want, and I want some upgrades to my golf equipment.  I want to play more golf, too.  I’ve been thinking about a car upgrade, and I’d be lying if I said the thought of a new house hasn’t crossed my mind.

I don’t know what it is lately, but there are so many things I want and simply not enough money to do it all!

Every day, it seems, I’m contemplating a [minimum] $200 purchase on one thing or another.  Something for the home, a grill, supplies, a toy, a repair.  I want to buy all the things, it seems!  The struggle is real!

I’m generally a pretty simple individual.  I like stuff, but I don’t need it to make me happy.  I’ve been trying to figure out why these thoughts of what to buy have been popping up more than usual, and I can’t quite find a good explanation.  I don’t know why Milly’s birth would make me want to buy more stuff – it’s not for her!

Really, I think we all struggle with this, all the time.  Maybe it’s not something that’s new or “lately” for me, but perhaps I’m just becoming more aware of it.

The horrible truth about stuff is that there’s never enough to bring happiness.  Once I get that grill/gun cabinet/golf gear/car/home/etc., there’s still more to buy, and you know there will be more stuff that I want!  Once you get that ________ you’ve been dreaming about forever, there’s always something new to get!

That’s the lie that we believe about contentment.  It goes something like this: “When I get _______, then I’ll be content.”  We think this way because we [mistakenly] believe that if we say we’re content now, that means we can never achieve more, gain more, get more.

Contentment isn’t a level; it’s not a destination!  It’s a manner of living.  You can “be content” and still buy something you want.

What am I going to do facing all these purchasing decisions?  It’s an easy answer; it’s what we’ve always done: Stick to the budget, don’t go into debt, and practice active gratitude for everything we already have.

That practice of active gratitude – the conscious act of giving thanks – is what allows us to experience contentment right where we are, even if it’s not ultimately where we hope to be.  Gratitude takes your focus off what you lack, and places it on what you have.

I’ll buy all those things eventually; but today, I’m going to do my best to say a quiet “thank you” for the things I already have.