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Saturday, December 02, 2006


Wanting: \Want"ing\, a. Absent; lacking; missing; also, deficient; destitute; needy

During the holiday season, it is very easy to feel like our current possessions are "lacking" and "deficient". Everywhere you turn, there is an advertisement for this or that. Even though you may only hear them in passing, they do affect you deeply. The advertisements are created to MAKE you feel you are "less" if you don't rush out and purchase their item. Or, during this season, you are less if you don't rush out and purchase it for your friend, spouse, child, etc.

Recently, I took my grandma to the mall because she wanted to get some gift certificates for Christmas. I hadn't been out to walk the mall in a long time...and I found it completely overwhelming. The people, the noise, the bright and shiny objects! I started to find myself looking in the windows ... and feeling that WANTING that I so hate. I was in the mall for literally 5 minutes or less, and in that little space of time, the sirens sucked me in. I walked out chanting to myself "look straight ahead, there is nothing you need"! I am so glad I don't have to deal with that anymore this season!

I started to think about other ways that WANT is created in my life. I have discussed this before, but it's worth doing it again. It's an ongoing battle, and if you don't think about it and how it happens, it will control you.

I started with my email inbox. I went through and unsubscribed from every single newsletter, update, etc. that I receive. I was astounded at how many businesses/spammers have my email. It took several hours to complete this, and I am still doing "maintenance" unsubscribing daily. I needed to do this because there are several really fun crafty sites that I get updates for...and even though they are homemade, ethical, etc, I do not need them. Opening those emails only creates want. Having less emails makes me spend less time at the computer and have less distraction in general. I also unsubscribed from several discussion groups that I just didn't have time to read. From now on, I will make a point to be more protective of my email address. I know that spammers can get it without me knowing, but I will do all that I can.

The other "tool of wanting" that I've been thinking about lately is the TV. I know that most of you will agree with me on this one...but I want to talk about a certain genre in particular that I used to find harmless. The two channels that I used to give myself "permission" to watch, HGTV and TLC, are experts in creating want not just in their advertising but within the programming. What?! Say it isn't so! Yes. Think with me for a moment.

"Dream House", "I Want That", "National Open House"...these are three programs that create want in myself when I watch them. Basically, when you are looking over and over at lifestyles, people, and possessions that don't align with your values or your budget, it will only leave you "wanting". When you see "excess" as the norm, your standards and expectations start to change. The same principle applies to reading gossip magazines (i.e. People, Us, etc.). If you read it enough, focus on it enough, and desire to KNOW and imitate other's lifestyles will continue to WANT.

On TLC, there is a show called "What Not to Wear". The hosts go into someone's closet, basically tell them what a horrible dresser they are and how ugly they look, and they throw away (donate?) all of their clothes and give them $5,000 to go shopping for a new wardrobe. First of all, clothing is an extremely emotional and personal choice. When you come in an dissect someone's wardrobe, it's traumatizing. Secondly, I could buy a whole army a wardrobe with $5,000 (does anyone else think that is insane?!). With that said, I can see how it sucks people in because I used to be very entertained by it. But when I would watch them go shopping, I started to wish that I could just go on a shopping spree like that. I WANTED to be them. TV turns you into a happy little consumer.

John Piper, one of my favorite pastors and authors, calls TV the "great life-waster". He has this to say in his book "Don't Waste Your Life":
"The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you're watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels."
So, there you have it. In addition to creating WANT, watching TV turns you into a shallow idiot.
Turn it off! (Please don't tell me that TV is educational. Get out there and LIVE life instead of learning about it on your TV).

I want to stop wanting. Looking back at the definition...I am not lacking, missing, deficient, or in need of anything. The only thing I am in "need" of is God's grace and forgiveness daily. I want to be satified by Christ alone.

*photo courtesy of davepatten/


Blogger rebecca said...

wow, three new posts in one day....what a beautiful little parade of blogs....

12/04/2006 5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One Want I struggle with the desire to be "cool", but I still haven't figured out exactly what cool is! I think it really comes down to confidence in who one was created to be. I am so glad we don't have television at our house-- but I still have to be careful about the mainstream movies we might get, because those have a tendency to make me want to be "cool" too. Cool Schmool. Jesus says I'm complete in Him. Thanks for sharing such relevant and thought-provoking posts with the world!

12/04/2006 5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so agree with you about TV, and I love the way you've expressed it. I have been thinking a lot lately about the "grown-up" shows people like to watch, for example Criminal Minds or CSI. What does that do for you? What does it accomplish to be watching murders and criminal acts FOR ENTERTAINMENT?!

Hah, I may have to blog about this myself! Anyway, great post!

12/04/2006 5:54 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

You are right. *Want* will always be a battle, it will not go away.
Simplifying the things in our life that give us more incentive to focus on what we *should* want: (more of God) is key.
Good posts. :)

12/04/2006 6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, dear sister-friend!

We no longer have TV...I admit, there are nights that I miss it incredibly. It was our "together time" for Matt and I...our "hobby". I know there are much better ways of spending time with your hubby, but it was what it was. Anyhoo...we realized that was one area of our budget that could be cut, so we did it. Some say that we are much better off...I agree, but I still miss it at times. :) It is a process, and the longer we are without it, the easier it becomes. (now for cutting back on computer-time...ugh)

I have enough new decorating ideas stored up in my head, that I don't need TLC or HGTV to tell me how to decorate anymore. :) It is amazing how cute the pinecones from my own backyard look in my home.

12/04/2006 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Nina said...

I just reduced the amount of TV I watch by getting rid of the majority of the channels and getting rid of DVR (cable brand Tivo). Now our house just has basic cable and an open source version of Tivo called Myth TV. The amount of TV I watch has been drastically reduced and I can still fast forward through the commercials. By only watching what I want, what I have planned ahead for and really want to see, I find that I am not watching for entertainment value, not due to being addicted to the TV or watching TV because it is there.

Also, a comment on the TLC/Discovery/other-look-like-they-are-good-for-you-channels. With the DVR I was able to cut out 95% of the commercials I saw, but realized that that really didn't cut out the advertisement I saw. All of the TLC shows have a lot of product placement. I've been trying to switch over to homemade cleaners and cloth at my house, but every time you see Trading Spaces they have to have shots of them showing how EASY it is to use Swiffer stuff. On the baby shows they are showing Pampers (I'd love to see cloth diapers on a show just once), on the Biggest Loser they are fawning over all different kinds of food products (to the point they cut of the bottle top without disturbing the label of bottled water if they want to be able to drink out of a "glass"). I always though it was funny how shows would try to hide labels, but you could still tell what it was. Now it they have gone to the other end of the spectrum.

12/04/2006 10:40 AM  
Blogger carolyn said...

I'm so glad to hear that someone else thinks "What not to Wear" is terrible! What you wear is totally subjective! Ack! That show is terrible. I would find myself watching it and wonderig how they would totally butcher me and my shabby wardrobe.

We went to the mall on Black Friday (are we such sell-outs?). I cant believe the hysteria caused by this season.

Another great post, Sara. I struggle with want on an almost minute by minute basis. Food, clothes, baby stuf, kids clothes, plants, lipstick, essential oil, magazines- it never ends. I need to be aware of it and focus on REAL living.

12/04/2006 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Sara.

12/04/2006 1:23 PM  
Anonymous kIM in IN said...

Not having a t.v. is one of the smartest decisions we have ever made. I truly mean that. Dh and I are still amazed after 6+ years of no t.v. how people cannot fathom living w/o one. People that know us well STILL forget and will say,"oh,hey,did you see....".

12/04/2006 5:41 PM  
Blogger Mariah said...

I have recently come across your blog What can I say? Such an inspiration! We have not had a TV, by choice, since before we were married. 23 years. Before I was a Christian I spent hour upon hour consumed by TV. I used to skip class to watch my favorite soap opera. I was so involved with the "lives" of those people that the show was more important to me than truly important things. Clearly, my priorities were out of whack! Our children grew up loving God and books and us and real people, not TV characters and trash. All three of them are serving God, not "stuff," along with us on the mission field, and I believe that part of that is that we do not own a TV and have alwasy discouraged "wanting." I'm so thankful for that! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the book you mention by John Piper. I'm very interested to read it. I'll probably have to wait until the next time I'm back in the States, but that's OK. I'm so excited to find write what is in my heart!

~Mariah~ (in Spain)

PS My dad calls Christmas time "The Greed Season." Sadly, he's right.

12/05/2006 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved this post Sara! I definitly struggle here. Everytime I start watching these shows or go to a store I want to change what I have in my home for something new! I really have to be on my guard with this. Thankfully my dh keeps me in check most of the time!

12/05/2006 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I am on day 7 of my Compact pledge and I am very much struggling with the "wants". It is so hard to deal with the wants versus the needs.

Thanks again for your post!

12/07/2006 1:16 AM  
Anonymous BerBer said...

I just wanted to say how pleased I am that I found your blog. This year I have had many struggles with wanting and stuff envie around me. It is such a struggle to live simply with all of the outside influences in our environment.

Thanks for posting, it is nice to see that I'm not the only person out there who thinks of things like this.

12/07/2006 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Shawn said...

TV certainly does suck: programming, advertisments, psuedo-educational drivel... Piss-poor propaganda, indeed! But it's free with my cable internet subscription:) Oh how those loathsome bastards ensnare me! And I don't even get the good channels:(

4/05/2007 7:04 PM  

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