This is a particular issue in our line of work. We hear (and preach) a lot about denying self, picking up our cross, forgetting what lies behind and striving towards what's ahead. That's all well and good, but it's hard to look ahead when my head is always turned, leering and secretly thinking, "If only I/we had that."
When I was pregnant with our son, we considered buying a house. We looked around, researched, planned... and then the husband said, "I think we need to remain mobile." (Husband has the gift of prophecy). Thus, the dream of a house of my own ended. And then everyone around me started buying houses! Not just any old house, but houses I could've seen myself living in, fixing up, raising a family in and calling home. We rented, moved around, lived with family members, and now today I sit on someone else's couch in someone else's home that we are renting, 3000 miles away from where the American dream had secretly enmeshed itself in my heart.
Do you see the sin there? I like to think it's not there and that it's only natural to want something for yourself. That's not bad in and of itself, right? But when it becomes painful to even visit those places, where friends and family call home, and wish it was you and begrudge them the joy? That's a heart issue, and I am struggling with it.
We spent a month in a school that prepared us for living and working in another culture. The instructors told us - time and time again - that in order to best acclimate to another culture, leave who you were and where you came from behind. This included personal belongings, things that had become a part of our history and our lives...
Our couch. Last week I sat on this "other" couch and cried because I missed my stupid couch. I've been going over pictures of other workers preparing to come here, dwelling on the fact that they "get" to bring everything they own over here, while we left nearly everything behind. (Don't think this was an entirely spiritual decision on our part; this was due in large part to save money.) We are waiting on a 6 foot x 6 foot crate with the few things we couldn't leave behind: pictures, toys, files, and our bed. I covet that 20 foot container they get to bring. And I covet the money that they have that pays for that container. By extension, I belittle the money that was given generously and sacrificially by others so that we could bring a little bit of home with us. There is a sin being committed there... and again, I struggle with it, because I know it.
Why is this even a struggle? These are just things! What is at the root of the covet? A pastor here said that sin is not so much the issue, but the thirst that precedes the sin. We solve the issue by quenching the thirst.
I keep thinking I'm quenching the thirst. And then God reveals to me another area where I'm still thirsty and craving something other than Him. He points out how pitiful I am. And I'm brought back to the idea of dying to self. To quench the thirst is to die to self, and to live for Jesus.