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Avoiding first world problems

I was complaining last night that I need more friends. I've got great friends, but most of them are scattered around the country. This morning I realized that that was a "first world problem." Dwell on your perceived needs long enough and your world begins to narrow. The thoughts t…
By Seth Barnes

I was complaining last night that I need more friends. I've got great friends, but most of them are scattered around the country. This morning I realized that that was a "first world problem."

Dwell on your perceived needs long enough and your world begins to narrow. The thoughts that swim around in your head (like fish) start with "I need" instead of "thank you." As long as you have first world problems, there will always be unmet needs and a sense of lack.

A sample list of first world problems:

  • I need new clothes – nothing fits me.
  • We're out of icecream.
  • I need a new car – this one is junky.
  • I don't like this brand of chips.
  • I'm tired of this town.
  • I'm bored with this job.

Why do we have these thoughts? For one thing, our society is set up to cultivate them. And we become hyper-aware of our needs.

When a person starts to think thoughts that are not really their thoughts, what do we call that? We might say "they're out of their mind." Those thoughts originated in someone else's mind, not theirs. They're thinking someone else's thoughts, not their own thoughts.

But what about those of us who get caught up in a perpetual loop of thinking about perceived needs? To the degree that a majority of our thoughts are not really our own, but are manufactured by others who want to shape our perceived needs, let me suggest that we're out of our minds.

In light of that, consider that we have to fight to retain our spiritual sanity. But how? How can you when everything in life tells you that you deserve better?

My advice is that you practice the discipline of thankfulness as a daily habit.

We cooperate with God as we take note of everything he has placed around us that is a gift. As we thank him for his good gifts, it releases a positive energy – faith – that can be harnessed to accomplish his purposes. Life works much better when we're working in tandem with our creator rather than pulling against him.

 
You may want to read Psalm 136 to jump start yourself. It begins:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

Start by jotting down a few things that God has given you. What are you thankful for today?

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