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About a year ago, my husband and I made the decision that we needed to trade in our minivan for something 4-wheel drive, something that could handle our rough northern winters. After getting stuck numerous times over the past few years, we’d finally had enough, deciding that shovels and rock salt just aren’t cutting it. That, and the fact that I was becoming unglued every time a snowflake was even mentioned–and I do mean unglued–left us with no other option.winter roads.jpg

So car shopping we went. It didn’t take long for us to realize that prices had changed quite a bit since the last time we went on a test drive. And that wasn’t the only thing that had changed. I can now have my bottom warmed while Siri checks for directions and my car parks itself. It’s pretty unbelievable, to the point that I’m honestly not sure if my car even needs me for anything anymore (except maybe to pay for gas). And if I’m being honest, these endless options–the seat warmers and all the other gadgets–were pretty enticing as we wandered about the lot that afternoon. So enticing, in fact, that I soon realized my wants were quickly outgrowing my pocketbook. I began to feel like what I could afford wasn’t quite good enough, and the more we looked the less satisfied I became. (Photo Via Pixabay)

Eventually I opened my eyes and remembered why we had begun this process: safety in the winter. It was our sole reason for car shopping, but I had lost sight of it while becoming envious of everything I didn’t have. Isn’t this what we do more than we’d like to admit? We want what we see and forget to appreciate what we already have. A friend of mine just built the most beautiful house. Gorgeous stonework lines the front, the views from the windows are amazing, and there are more rooms than I can count. I was happy for my friend, and yet when I looked at my house it began to seem stuffy and small. It lacked the grandeur of her large house on the hill.  Maybe I was looking at the wrong things. Maybe, just like the car, I was making mental lists of items I didn’t have instead of the things I did.

There is an old saying that I hear many men and women say today, it’s the “I can look as long as I don’t touch” mentality. This mentality says that I can be in a relationship with someone but still check out the opposite sex and that’s ok as long as I’m just looking.

What I’m beginning to realize is that there are enormous amounts of harm in “just looking,” so I decided to give myself a little challenge. I decided I would only look at what I had. I would not allow myself to focus on anything that belonged to anyone else, regardless of how innocent it seemed. And that’s when I truly started to see things differently. what are you looking at blogI began to recognize the peace I get from sitting outside on my back porch with my morning coffee, surrounded by woods in every direction. It became exactly the place I wanted to be. I realized how perfect that porch is for me, and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even a huge house on a hill.

As for the car, well, I found one that is going to get me safely where I need to be this winter. It isn’t fancy, and sadly it won’t be warming my bottom, but I really like it. It has a few extras, and the more I look at it, and the more I quit comparing it to what I don’t have, the more I am enjoying it. (Photo Via Pixabay)

How about our spouses?  Now, hear me out on this. No matter who we are married to, there is always someone better looking, someone with more money, you name it, and we can find it.

As long as we just look, it’s all good, right?

Well, I really don’t think so. Just like the car and the house, the more we look, the more we can’t help but see what we have as not quite good enough. We start to make lists of what we wish our spouse could be like. We begin to crave what we don’t have, and that can be dangerous. When we refuse to look at anyone but our own spouse, we can begin to see the beauty in them in ways we probably missed before.

Now, I know that all this goes against the norm, but as women who love Jesus, I think it’s exactly what we should be doing. Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Marriages fail because we think that someone better has come along, someone who has less baggage than our current partner. Checking accounts get depleted because we have to have the latest gadgets and keep up with the neighbors. Stress in this country has reached previously unheard of levels. Peace and joy have been lost in a sea of wants and wishes. People are shouldering baggage so heavy the weight is literally killing them. What if we put those bags down? What if we decide only to look at what we already have and appreciate it with new eyes? Wouldn’t it be nice to release ourselves from the burden of needing to keep up with everyone else and just focus on Jesus and the beautiful things He has given us?holding hands

Now, I don’t mean that we will suddenly have full bank accounts and husbands with washboard stomachs that hold on to our every word and talk to us for hours. No, I mean maybe we will see for the first time how the curve of his face is really perfect, or how he takes our hand right when we need him to. We will appreciate the things we forgot we had. Please don’t get me wrong here. I’m not judging anyone. I’ve made all the mistakes and believed all the lies, but what I’ve discovered in myself through this process is a renewed joy. I’ve found that I need less and love more, that the smile on my face is much less fake these days, and that is something to shout about. (Photo Via Pixabay)

So how about it? What are you looking at? How about trying something different and stepping away from the crowd and the pressures of society for a fresh start? How about focusing on Jesus and all He has done for you. Let’s look with new eyes today, and tomorrow I believe we will see things a whole lot differently.