Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beauty --- Contented or Coveting

{Note:  God created beauty and created me to love beauty.

I don't think poverty is good, but neither is extravagance.

I think creativity is good, and so is contentment.

I also think that God gives us little things like pretty quilts and iced coffee,

and big things like friends and family,

to sweeten and soften life.}

It doesn't seem sinful to want something beautiful, especially when its just window shopping or blog hopping.  Most of the time, my indecisiveness or fear of making a decorating mistake keeps me from actually buying something.  If I only want it, but don't buy it, it must be okay, I think.

Yet, something is missing.  I've cried to feel contented with my home. That seems like a little thing, but it often feels beyond me.  Like I'm supposed to learn it and can't even figure out how.

A small thing like a home isn't a problem.  If money can solve a problem, it really isn't a problem at all. So what is the root of my discontent?  I dwell on this.

I think about coveting.  The Bible says coveting is a sin, and that we wouldn't know that if God's law didn't tell us so.  But it's such a little sin, right?  It is one of the 10 commandments, written along with murder and theft and adultery and idolatry, and didn't Jesus say if I break one, I break the entire law.

I bargain.  I deny.  This couldn't be the key to contentment, I almost hope.  Or do I hope it is?

Oh, but Jesus died for that pitiful sin.  He died for the big sins too.  Jesus died for my sin.  All of mine.  He pitied me.  Even if it was just one sin (and of course, coveting is just one of many each day of my life), He died for a little sin ... my little sin (if I  dare to rank sin, and I humanly do).  I work through that idea, still imagining that coveting is trivial.

That's like a fireman running into a burning house and dying while saving a child's pet rat.  That sacrifice doesn't make sense.  Who would do that?  It is a horrid, wretched thing I realize.  Does this show me yet just how serious is coveting? The so-called small sin is just as big as anything else I've begged forgiveness.

Jesus said it is impossible for a rich person to get into heaven, but not impossible for God to bring anyone to himself.  And He says that he cares for the lilies of the field and birds of the air.  They don't fret.  They live simply and He gives.  Somehow, this fits together, I think.

I don't hurt anyone when I want new house things. I don't steal. But I hurt my own heart when I covet.  I steal time from my family when I peruse Pinterest.  I steal creative and productive time from myself and my family when I just wish and don't work.  I get dissatisfied with God's provisions.

Then I'm dissatisfied with myself when I compare myself to others.  I don't trust God's care for me, and I think I don't fare as well as others.  I grow impatient.  I want things more than I want God.

And I do this many times a day.

God calls covetousness something evil ... idolatry.  I love myself more than God.

I finally understand as much as I can at this point. Coveting isn't a little sin.

But I wouldn't know it is a sin if God didn't tell me that it is.

{shared with the (in)courage book club}


  1. Such poignant honesty... It tells me you're on the right track. Beauty is good and certainly of God, but it comes in all sorts of packages -- many of them will never grace a Pintrest board. I guess with God's help we have to decide for ourselves which beautiful things matter most to Him. May God bless us all as we learn (and re-learn) to be content...

  2. Thank you for your encouragement. I just visited your blog and will return to read more. There is beauty in taking care of what we have (chores aren't often on pinterest, but I hope your tips get pinned ;) ... and I love your detailed instructions on cleaning vintage linens! There is contentment found in a job well done, like working out a stain rather than throwing it out.