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Thursday, October 31, 2013

As Seen On TV

I hate commercials. Like, seriously, I loathe them.

I used to think they were cute, funny even. I'd watch things like the Superbowl and the Oscars just to see what hilarious ads marketing execs had come up with that year. I'd tear up at the Publix Christmas commercials...you know the ones I'm talking about. The family who is baking Christmas cookies and in the door walks Daddy-the-soldier in his fatigues, a true Christmas miracle, or the old-lady-widow who is alone for Christmas and all the neighbors pitch in and decorate her house and invite her to Christmas dinner. All in the world was right for the minute and four seconds that the commercial ran, and everyone who saw it had a case of the warm fuzzies.

Then I had kids.

Nothing irks me more (well, maybe a few things irk me more, but let's go with this for emphasis' sake) than when commercials come on during my kids' TV time.

Now, I know you don't let your kids watch any TV, that they probably spend most of their time exploring the great outdoors, collecting bugs and leaves and eating bark, or maybe they are in kiddie-Crossfit and are getting their active on. Perhaps you are raising the world's next Steve Jobs, creative-genius, and your little inventor just can't get enough of building circuits and blowing things up.

My kids watch TV.

Not all the time; they can play outside with the best of them when I lock them out the weather is nice. But I'd say, for transparency's sake, they watch at least one or two shows per day (please, no one tell Michelle Obama).

It always happens around the same time. 7:00am and my kids are up like little alarm clocks without a snooze button. They get their vitamin water juice and settle in to watch a show while I make breakfast. Power Rangers is their current favorite. I can always tell when the first commercial break hits because of the change of temperature in my home. My kids, who were sitting so quietly and relaxed on the couch imagining themselves morphing just like their Power Ranger friends, sit up straight and lock their eyes on the TV. They start talking amongst themselves excitedly. Foaming at the mouth. Then it starts.
"MOMMY!"
Oh. No.
"MOMMY, you HAVE to come see this RIGHT NOW! Quick, it's gonna go AWAY! MOMMY! Come HERE!"
I walk around the corner from the kitchen.
"Yes, honey, what is it?" 
"MOMMY, it's a STUFFIE! I want one of those for my BIRTHDAY!" (Which I don't even try to explain is ten months from now.) 


"MOM, I NEED ONE 'cause it has SEVEN pockets that keep my TREASURES safe! 
STUFFIES, mom, it's what's INSIDE that COUNTS! PUHLEASSSSEEEEEEE? Can I HAVE one?"
After trying to explain that, no, unfortunately we are not going to be able to call that phone number up there and "buy some money to pay for one," as my daughter so wonderfully puts it, I head back into the kitchen to finish mixing up the pancake batter. Seven minutes later, commercial break number two hits.
"MOMMMMMMMMMMMM!" 
"Yes, son?" 
"FLIPEEZ! It's the SUPER FUN action hat that comes alive right before your EYES! MOM, I NEED ONE! You squeeze the puff ball in the tassle and FLIP, FLIP, FLIP YOUR FLIPEEZ!"



Sigh.
"MOMMY! It's a SEAT PET! I REALLY WANT ONE! They make trips more fun to take, and my seatbelt will always be secure! My head won't dangle anymore, and I'll never ask you again if we're "there yet!"



Sigh.

Thank you, my As-Seen-On-TV friends, for nothing.

After explaining to my children that us not purchasing a Stuffie is not cause for weeping and moaning and utter misery, that it's really more of a first-world problem for a kid to have, back into the kitchen I go, back to my happy place away from the infomercials that suck my kids in product by product, enticing them to spend money on more crap they don't need.

It's easy to get on to my kiddos, to correct them as situations like these arise. It's easy to say, 'be thankful for what you have," and, "don't know you know there are starving kids in Africa?"It's easy to be pious, to be the one who, in front of my kids, practices an attitude of thankfulness and contentment.

Then I get alone.

I want stuff. I want trivial, stupid, wasteful stuff I don't need. I am not content. I am rarely satisfied.

Are you?

Maybe it's material stuff. Like, I really, really want a pair of FRYE riding boots, not because they're any better than other leather boots, but because they're FRYEs. I want some Luchesse cowgirl boots, too, you know, for all that cowgirl stuff I do.

I want a new minivan. Let me say, first of all, that yes, I do realize I wrote minivan, and yes, I do realize this officially removes me from the categories of all things cool. However, just being transparent, I want a new minivan. A pimped out Odyssey or Sienna with a DVD system (for my TV-watching kids) and a cool navigation system (even though I rarely get lost) and leather seats.

Maybe it's not material things that lure you away from contentment. For instance, I really want a hot body like _____. After three kids, skin is sagging in places I didn't know possible, my hips are large and in charge, and I'm not content with how I look. I very easily fall into the sin of coveting the way others look in their appearance. I want a magic infomercial to offer me a product to "fix me,' for appearances sake.

Maybe you want the life that other women appear to lead, the wonderful husband that _____ gushes on and on about, or the worlds-most-well-behaved-children just like _____. Maybe you want to be "more spiritual" and sought after for advice like _____. Maybe you still desire, like you did when you were twelve, to be a part of the "it" group.

Whatever your struggle may be, none of us escape this battle between discontentment and being fully satisfied in Christ. It's a war that will rage until the day we're perfected in Christ, and let me tell you, I can't wait for that day! It's exhausting battling with yourself, isn't it?

The Bible calls this attitude and condition of the heart, very simply, coveting.
COVET: yearn to possess or have (something), desire, crave, have one's heart set on, hunger or thirst for. 
Having STUFF isn't bad. We all have to have material things, emotional health, physical health to survive. However, the shift to coveting takes place when we remove the Lord from the throne of our hearts and instead place _____ there. When we yearn to possess _____ more than we yearn for Him. When we have our hearts set on _____ rather than on Him. When we hunger or thirst for _____ instead of hungering and thirsting for the Spirit of God and the Word of God.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 16:19-21 
"Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household..." - Proverbs 15:27a 
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" - Matthew 16:26a 
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." - 1 John 2:15
Contentment comes, not in having everything we want, or even everything we need, but in keeping an eternal perspective on our possessions, our hearts, our bodies, and our spirits. We will never have "enough" to meet the desires of our flesh. But we always, always have enough in Him. My prayer is that, when we stray into the alluring land of discontentment, the magnitude of how wonderful our God is will quickly draw us back to Himself.

This is not to say that I will never want stuff. In fact, right now, I want a Sham-Wow. And maybe a Magic Bullet. And maybe a Snuggie. One can never have too many Snuggies, and besides, it's for the children.




Feel free to laugh!