There's an old proverb of a poor fisherman and his wife...despite their poverty, they were deliriously happy and in love. The fisherman encountered a "magical" fish, who because he caught and released him, gave the fisherman everything he asked. The first wish he made was for his wife, because he loved her so. He wished she could have a beautiful new dress. She had never had one before. As he arrived at home, ready to laugh in disbelief over this craziness of a talking fish, he saw his wife, dancing and spinning like a little girl, in a new dress. The fisherman's heart was full, because he saw the happiness in his wife. When he told her of how the dress appeared, the fisherman's wife began to look around. "Oh husband, just look at this house...all it's cracks and problems...could you go back to the fish and ask him for a new house? it is embarassing to have friends over with all their great homes compared to ours". So, because he loved his wife he went back to the magical fish and asked again for a new home, because he loved his wife.
As Im sure you can tell, with fables such as this, the fisherman's wife went on and on, asking for more and more "stuff". This saddened the fisherman, as he remembered their happy life before, enjoying the love of one another and the simplicity of their home.
Sometimes I feel like I am the Fisherman's wife. I look at the things I have and the things I think Im supposed to have...I treat God like a magical fish and keep asking and asking and never seeing the simple beauty in what I already had. I turn into a person obsessed with keeping up with what society says I should own, instead of looking to dig out of debt, be charitable, and think of ways to use money to help others instead of thinking about what I don't have myself. Its hard as we get older and contemplate the life we think we are "supposed to have". When we don't meet what our expectations say we should, we become so depressed with our current life, we fail to realize it's beauty. We fail to remember we have healthy children, loving relationships, friendship and laughter. We look at the roofs over our heads and only see their flaws instead of being thankful we have them.
Take time to enjoy the precious things, instead of wishing you had more. Fill your life with the haves, instead of the have-nots. Chances are, the rest of the world you're trying to keep up with has just as many have-nots as you do.