June 29, 2016
Years ago, I saved my allowance for a bath time baby doll. I must have been about nine, and I had to have that doll. The girls in the commercial with their strategically placed bubbles were having a blast with her; I would too. She came with robe, for relaxing after bath time; I would relax and wear my robe too. It would be amazing what fun we would have, that doll and me.
And then I got her. We took a bath. We splashed. I doubt there were bubbles. We got out of the bath, and I noticed something as I attempted to stuff her stiff plastic arms into her relaxing robe. My doll sloshed.
I squeezed her. Water squirted out of her joints.
I was only a kid, but even I knew that I had been had. Why did they make a bath time baby that wasn’t water proof?
My doll was a sham, my allowance was gone, and we didn’t even get to relax in our robes together.
I blame that doll, to this day, for being what some might lovingly refer to as abnormally thrifty.
In high school, it was my car.
It would have been a humbling car to drive even if it had been in perfect condition, but several years of life had added to it’s hideousness and rendered its baby blue paint pocked and faded.
So while I couldn’t change its shape or overall granny-ness, I could change its color. I found a fella who would do it cheap, picked a cool deep blue paint color off of a swatch a quarter of an inch tall, and wrenched my penny-pinching fingers open to pay him the $200.
I got my money’s worth.
The finished product was a fiesta of awfulness. Easter egg/blue plastic tarp, you might call it. The guy even painted the tailpipe to match.
I cried. A lot.
My brother drove it home so I wouldn’t have to, and my parents parked the thing behind the house, to salvage what was left of my dignity.
Thankfully, Mom and Dad were merciful. They paid to have it repainted back to its original baby blue, and I learned another valuable lesson:
Never, ever let me pick out paint colors.
Yesterday I read about an author who is selling a bazillion books. She’s just a few years older than me and could sneeze on a napkin and they would publish it. She’s that popular.
And then I checked how my books were selling on Amazon.
I had sold six.
(Amazon has this annoying little feature for authors. You can log in to check how your books are selling or how you rank amongst all the other 8 million authors on Amazon. I hate it.)
Because, thanks to that stupid number, I felt my joy squirt straight out of my joints.
No matter that I was home with my healthy kids on a gorgeous day in our comfortable home with plenty of food and absolutely no one threatening our lives or even calling us ugly names—I only sold six books that week and life suddenly stunk.
I blame you, Amazon.
I should’ve learned it with the doll. Definitely with the car. Now it’s the books trying to teach me.
Nothing on this earth will satisfy. Nothing will make me all-the-way happy. Nothing here will help me achieve contentment, and if I attempt to find my joy in possessions or in cooler cars or better jobs or more book sales, I will be disappointed without fail.
By our nature, we humans are un-satisfy-able.
And here’s how I know that (besides the fact that it tells us that pretty clearly in the Word): by God’s great kindness and by you incredible people’s support, I have written a bestselling book or two.
But at my most honest, deepest, most base level, I am not satisfied. I am not content with one bestseller, or even two. I want more bestsellers. I want more recognition. I want more accolades.
To my great shame, even when I have achieved something as lovely and as unexpected as bestseller status, I am still yet unsatisfied.
And it reminds me: I am broken. I am sinful. I am flawed, and I will not, on my own, ever be able to satisfy my desires.
But, thankfully, there’s hope for folks like me.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” Psalm 19:14.
This is my daily prayer.
It might ought to be yours too.
Who doesn’t want to sing for joy and be glad all their days? Who doesn’t want to skip the disappointment and fleetingness of possessions and accolades that fade? I certainly do.
Only a deep, close walk with God will never disappoint. Only a relationship with Him will satisfy. He alone will fill us with joy.
So, six books or six million books, it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to buy our happiness.
God has already paid for it.
“And they sang a new song: “You [Jesus] are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” Rev. 5:9.
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