Have you ever been mesmerized by the belief that you had to buy something in particular to be happy? Maybe you wanted a new car, a widescreen TV, a vacation package, or an updated wardrobe?
Shortly after I graduated from college, years ago, some of my college friends bought new cars. It seemed the thing to do at the time. I felt left behind because my humble brown Dodge colt was far from “hot.” Now that I had disposable income, why not buy a new flashy vehicle like everyone else? I figured.
I don’t remember the specific model, but it was a smart 2 door red Mazda sports car that caught my eye. Problem was, back in the early 1980s, $18,000 was a lot of money. Still is today. Going into debt for a consumer item was anathema for me, but I budgeted out how I could buy the car in a couple of years with a strict savings plan.
For two years, the belief of “I need that sports car,” pestered thought for attention. I noticed every red car I passed on the highway. I watched the ads in the paper. I stopped to drool at the car lots.
After several months of wasting a considerable amount of mental time consumed by fantasizing about this red sports car it occurred to me that maybe I didn’t need it.
After all, I was fine without it. All my needs were met. I had money in the bank. No one liked me or didn’t like me any less or more because of the car I owned. Why would I want to spend such a huge sum of money on a car I didn’t need?
Wake up time!
I prayed about whether I needed the car or not, and the answer was clear. No! My needs were met spiritually, and I didn’t need a new rig to be happy. Happiness was spiritual, and came from God, I argued. It didn’t come from a car lot.
“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love.” Mary Baker Eddy
It took several months of spiritual reasoning and convincing, but eventually I decided I didn’t need a fancy expensive sports car to be happy. I canceled my plans to buy one, put the money into developing an apple orchard, and came out far better in the long run financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
I have benefited from this lesson many times since.
My wife and I had been considering the purchase of three significant items for our household in recent weeks. We can afford the purchases, and they would be nice to have, but altogether, they added up to a lot of money. Yesterday, we decided together that we didn’t need any of them. We’d save the money instead. A major feeling of release and contentment swept over me. “We have enough,” I rejoiced. “We didn’t need to buy anything more.”
I remembered the craving to buy that sports car, years ago, and how thrilled I was over time that I never went through with the purchase.
Be content with what you have, Paul taught.
Dropping “I need” and replacing it with “I have enough,” brings huge release. Not only release from craving, but release from a false sense of security, release from potential debt, release from thinking you need something more later when you grow tired of your acquisition…just general release from the gross materialistic wave of consumerism that has swept over our culture in recent decades and caused many people to feel like they lack all the time.
It’s not true! We don’t lack. God created us complete in Spirit, and the more we identify with our spiritual completeness, the less material things we think we need.
It’s ironic that buying more stuff often leads to a greater feeling of emptiness and lack, whereas the ability to say “I have enough” leads to deep settled contentment, satisfaction and joy within. The difference is where you’re looking for happiness.
Material things can never deliver what only comes from God. Completeness is a spiritual state of Mind. It’s a conviction of “I have enough and I don’t need anything from the world to be anything more than God already created me to be.” And it leads to stable peaceful living.
You have enough too!