When my kids were little, they were never exposed to advertisements. They only watched videos or commercial-free shows On Demand. Once they were old enough to work the remote themselves, they started watching network shows. Suddenly, our world was filled with commercials every eight to twelve minutes.
It was hysterical, watching them get sucked in. They would literally come running into the kitchen to tell me about this great laundry cleaner that got out stains but wouldn’t bleach colors, or a floor cleaner that left a great shine. It wasn’t so funny when they fell victim to the commercials convincing them they truly needed every toy and gadget advertised.
Clearly they didn’t possess the wisdom to discern the difference between a want and a need. I was hoping that would come with maturity. But when I look around at our world today, I realize that battle is far greater than just an age thing.
I’ve never liked when anyone tries to force their opinions down my throat, even when I agree with them. It’s intrusive and arrogant. That’s how I see ad agencies and social media. They try to convince me that my life should look like the images on Facebook and Pinterest if I just buy this, do that, or consume this.
However, they’re good at what they do. I’ve fallen victim more times than I’d like to admit. When I do, my cabinets get filled with useless gadgets, my head gets filled with jealousy, and my tank gets depleted from all the striving. When I can’t achieve the elusive impossible, I fall into one of two traps: failure mode or victim mode. I’m either beating myself up because I can’t pull it together, or I’m angry because everyone else seems to have it better than me.
Then I cross paths with one of those people who seem to have it all figured out. You know them: They go to the beat of their own drummer, and radiate peace and contentment as easy as breathing. That’s like a magnet for me; it draws me right in. I want to know everything about them and be a fly on their kitchen wall, watching how they operate on a day in/day out basis.
I think it’s a perspective thing: They see what truly matters in life, and The One behind the real-life advertisements. When they see a brilliant sunset, they don’t take it for granted, as if they’re entitled to magnificent colors splashed across the sky every night of the week. When everyone in their world is happy and healthy, they don’t sit back and relax, confident that that’s how life is supposed to be; they’re on their knees in gratitude, counting their blessings because they know how fragile life truly is. When success comes their way, they don’t stand on a platform and bow in arrogance, receiving accolades as if they’re their just reward. They bow down in humility and point up at The One who gifted them with whatever talent they were blessed with, using it to glorify Him, not themselves.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” John 6:44
When we can’t approach life like this, we begin to think we’re just not made of the same stuff. The thing is: We are; we just have to open ourselves up to what God is offering. He’s offering us this kind of faith all the time. Unlike ad agencies and social media, this life-altering faith God is offering us doesn’t cost a cent. In fact, it’s a gift that comes with free shipping and no strings attached.
Copyright 2018 Claire McGarry