I am in the middle of a major #firstworldproblem. My husband and I have moved into a new house, and we have been waiting almost a week to get internet installed. Truthfully, I’ve barely been able to handle it. (How long do these people expect me to live without Netflix?) I am aware of the fact that I am completely ridiculous, but I bet you’ve been there too.
Let’s be honest here, we are all spoiled rotten. Most of us have 14 different grocery stores to choose from within a 5-mile radius from our house. I actually heard the following conversation at Cracker Barrel, “Now I like those Chiquita bananas from the Kroger, but I shop at Ingles for everything else because the Kroger is just too big for me.” (Yes, I was eavesdropping at Cracker Barrel…don’t tell me you haven’t.) We stop at 5 different Targets on the way home to find that romper every fashion blogger under the sun has, and we get annoyed with the Starbucks barista when she spells our name wrong… again. (Because how can I Instagram this if my name is wrong?!)
Although first world problems aren’t really problems, there is no human on this planet exempt from real life suffering. None of us will get to the end of our lives and say, “Well, that was a breeze.” Life is tough, and life most definitely has problems. But, the way we react to our problems, real or “First World”, is a direct representation of our hearts. Truthfully, my heart isn’t too pretty when it comes to things not going my way.
When Paul wrote to the Philippian church, he was dealing with a situation far from the simple first world problems as he was chained to another guard in prison. Beaten, imprisoned, and wearing heavy chains for spreading the Gospel of freedom, Paul had a real problem to face; yet he found a reason to rejoice. Paul refused to be defeated as he wrote, “I have learned the secret to being content” (Phil 4:12).
So often we allow our first world problems, which are simply inconveniences, or lapses in luxury, to cloud our joy and thankfulness. We’ve become so accustomed to our comfort that when something threatens it, we get angry or upset. The truth is, every single experience is under the control of God, and if He chooses to take those comforts away, we should accept his sovereignty. Undeserving of such goodness, and looking through the frosted lens of first world distractions, we should praise Him regardless of our circumstances. Contentment and joy do not come from monogrammed tumblers, the sale at Anthropologie, or the new car we just bought. Our contentment and joy comes solely from who Jesus is, everything else is just extra.
So today, if your boss makes you stay an hour late and you miss your hair appointment, thank the Lord for your job, the ability to work, and the funds to spend on split-ends and ombre hair. Or if the car in front of you is moving slower than molasses uphill in January, choose to thank God for safety in your commute. When our joy and contentment stem from who God is, every response will turn into worship. On the other hand, when we focus on our problems, inconveniences, and frustrations, we will allow bitterness and ungratefulness to cloud our vision, missing the millions of blessings God continually places right in front of us.
Life is too short to get caught up in the pretentious frustration of #firstworldproblems. Let’s take a step back, stay thankful, and ask the Lord to show us how to help those who may never have a luxury “first world” anything. And when we face real problems, we will have learned how to be grateful already in the little things. We have so much to be thankful for.
Even though we often know in our minds that joy comes from Christ alone, do your actions reflect satisfaction in Christ during frustrating moments of first world problems? Will you view interruptions as an invitation to worship God and show His love to others, or will you sulk in response to another first world problem?
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