Lately, I’ve been struggling with the gotta-have-its. They’re similar to the need-to-knows (which I also deal with) but applies when you’re envying someone else’s material things, life, hair, vacation, etc. I wouldn’t even consider myself an insecure person but show me a photo of the lead singer of my favorite girl-band and suddenly I can’t pull off a low ponytail as good as she can (this is sadly, an actual thought I had tonight).
It completely brings me down and the more I scroll through pictures, videos, blogs, the worse it gets.
I finally realized what was happening within myself and forced myself to shut my phone off and grab my bible. All I wanted were comforting verses because I knew scrolling through my phone wasn’t going to help and after realizing I had the gotta-have-its, I felt so gross.
I flipped to Ecclesiastes.
I get that a lot of people think Ecclesiastes is dark (Dill even asked “Why are you reading such a depressing book?”), but it personally encourages me because it shows me that even with owning it all, it’ll never be enough. It’ll never bring satisfaction to my soul to have everything I want.
Chapter two is literally all about the vanity of self-indulgence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about treating yourself. Whether it’s a night in with a face mask, or picking up your favorite espresso drink, or doing whatever else makes your heart sing. Solomon is referring to obtaining anything a human’s heart has desired to seek fulfillment and turning up disappointed. What he describes reminds me of those shows in the 90’s where lucky kids got to run through Toys”R”Us and race to fit as much as they want in their cart to keep, grabbing whatever they set their eyes on. Anything he wanted, he got.
Solomon lists things like laughter, wine, houses, gardens, and gold & silver treasure.
And which of those things brought him the most joy? None of them.
10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
This seriously comforts me because it tells me I’m not missing anything. There is no hidden spot of joy at the end of obtaining the things I want. I’ll just want more things. I will run myself tired if I continue chasing the things I want that I think will make me happier.
Ultimately, I know what will bring me joy. And it’s always obtainable.
Another verse I read tonight was Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”. I love this. I felt like it was so fitting with what I was needing tonight. That is where we find real, sustainable joy.
If you’re currently struggling with the gotta-have-its too, I hope this brings an encouragement to your tired heart like it did mine.
God, remind me of what real joy is. Remind me that life is so much more enjoyable when I’m seeking you.