It’s been a long week. I’m at the beach with my mom, my sister, and my two babies, and I’m exhausted.
I was hoping this would be a somewhat relaxing week, that I could be refreshed in mind, body, and spirit by the warm weather and beautiful surroundings. But gosh, as I sit in our condo listening to the ocean right outside our window, all I am right now is tired.
And then all I can think to myself is wow, Wesley, you are a spoiled brat. Here you are in the middle of February in 70 degree weather within steps of the beach, and you’re complaining because you’re tired? Come on.
It’s times like these that I realize how truly weak I am. I like to consider myself a fairly strong, capable person. I’m smart, I can be a hard worker when I need to be, I’m level-headed, I take life as it comes and try not to complain much. But when I’m honest with myself, my heart is spoiled.
I read something the other day by Paul David Tripp about envy. There were two phrases that really stuck out to me. The first was, “Envy denies grace. The assumption of envy is that we deserve what another has been given, when, in fact, you and I deserve nothing.” And the second was, “Envy forgets who you are, forgets who God is, and is confused about what life is about.”
I think the same can be said for almost any sort of complaining. When I whine about my circumstances, what I’m really saying is that I expected, that I deserve, something better than what I have. I should be able to go to the beach and enjoy myself and have my children behave and get a break from the hard work of being a mother for a little bit. My child should sleep through the night for me. My toddler shouldn’t be so whiny. I shouldn’t have to work so hard. I shouldn’t be tired.
Who ever told me these things should be so? Where did I get the idea that I deserved any of this?
I read another passage yesterday out of the same book, this time about the idea of success. Tripp writes, “Everyone wants to think that his or her life is or will be successful. But what is success? Is it judged by the size of your house, the prominence of your friends…or the list of your achievements? The problem with all of these things is that they quickly pass away, and because they do, if you have lived for these things, you will eventually come up empty. Contrast that view of success with the success of God’s work in and through you. God offers you things of supreme value (his forgiveness, his presence, welcome into his kingdom, a clean conscience, and a pure heart). These things will never pass away…This leaves you with the question: ‘What do I really want in life: the success of God’s agenda of grace or the fulfillment of my catalog of desires?’ At the end of the day, what do you long for: for God’s grace to do its work or for more of the stuff that this physical created world has to offer?”
Without God, I am weak, and driven by my “catalog of desires,” as Tripp calls them. I want comfort. I want rest. I want luxury. I want not to feel pain, discomfort, displeasure, exhaustion. But these are earthly desires, and they have only earthly implications. They are fleeting pleasures that in the end will always come up empty.
Last week I wrote about the promises of God. As I remind myself of those promises, I have to ask myself, as Tripp suggests, what do I really want in life? At the end of the day, shouldn’t my greatest desire be for God’s grace, and the promises He gives me, and not these fleeting worldly comforts? I can only pray that my heart would be more inclined toward the right desires, toward the desires that will truly fill my heart.