Nov
06

Jimmy Kimmel, Candy and Manna

The past four years Jimmy Kimmel has entertained us with his “I Told My Kids I Ate All of Their Halloween Candy” prank. It’s definitely worth some good laughs as you watch kids go from happy, to shocked to complete meltdown.  But, there are always a handful of kids who surprise me with, “It’s okay. We can get more next time.” One child even hugs his mother, as if consoling her. (Who are his parents and how can I get them to help me raise my own kids??!!)

blog photo - Jimmy KimmelThe prank is hilarious and many ways I can sympathize with the children. I’m pretty sure I’d respond similar if someone stole my chocolate, or worse, drank all my wine.

It got me thinking – why is it we have such a sense of entitlement in our culture?

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not basing this off of the children or blaming their parents in any way. I was the passionate kid who had many meltdowns that humiliated my parents. But there have also been times, as an adult, I’ve struggled with discontent, wanting more or something better.

Focusing on what I don’t have keeps me from seeing my present blessings.

I was preparing for a Bible study the other week and read about the Israelites wandering in the desert. The community grumbled against Moses and his brother, Aaron, accusing them of bringing them “out into this desert to starve.”

Moses approached God and in Exodus 16:4 God tells Moses, “I will rain bread from heaven for you.” Each morning the Israelites woke to find manna that had arrived in the dew. They would collect it before the heat of the day melted it and then grind it in order to bake it into cakes.

But it wasn’t long until the Israelites began complaining again, “But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11:6)

I get this. I love me some pizza but if I had to eat it, solely, for 40 years straight, I’d be sick of it also and I’m sure I’d be in there complaining, “Surely I deserve better than this. Why won’t God give me a steak?!”

Modern Day Manna

The ironic thing is that it doesn’t take something as extreme as eating the same meal in a desert, for 40 years to cause me to complain.

It could be as simple as watching a home improvement show and then looking at my worn carpet or outdated fixtures. All of a sudden I’m dissatisfied with my house. This same house is warm in the winter and cool in the summer; it has running water and 3 bathrooms (albeit dirty…but that’s probably more of a parenting issue), but it feels lacking.

It could be a day at the mall with my daughter and I tell her she can buy one shirt. But as we stand in line and I see another mother in front of us buying her daughter a pile of clothes. Resentment pours in, “Why can’t I provide for my kids like that?”

It could be the hour, ahem, I mean, the fifteen minutes I spend on social media, looking at photos of my friends’ vacations, family gatherings, girls weekends, etc. Jealousy and envy abound as I long for another vacation and wish I could visit my family more.

How can I be content?

The ability to be content in all circumstances is a strength that will allow us to have joy in the midst of chaos and peace. It’s not easy but by proactively implementing certain practices, with lots of prayer, it can become second nature. Here are a few examples:

1.)  Embrace crisis – Crisis is a great teacher for it exposes both our weaknesses and strengths but it also reveals what’s truly important.

When I lived in Russia, we went through a drought so severe that we only had water for 1 hour every third day. It was hard and exposed many of the ways I was wasteful and took clean water for granted. At the same time, it showed me how resilient and resourceful we humans can be if we put in the thought and effort.

This crisis had such a big impact on me that even today I will randomly thank God for water. The lesson has not left me.

2.)  Gratitude is king – Expressing gratitude places our minds and hearts on the positive and has the power to detour our thoughts from being polluted with negative energy.

3.)  Thank God for the success of others – I’ve found when I thank God for the success of others, it redirects my mind from comparing and keeps jealousy and envy away. It helps me to see these accomplishments and victories as reason to celebrate with them – and I’m always up for a good party.

God has provided. He has blessed. He meets our needs.

 

 

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