November 4, 2014

How to Become Dissatisfied Overnight

This time last month, the beloved car I'd had since my senior year in high school bit the dust.

The 1996 Ford Contour was in decent shape on the outside, but its insides decided to give up the fight. It was going to cost way more than it was worth to fix it.

Dilemma time. See, we'd been hoping to eek a few more years outta the old girl before upgrading.

Ever since my husband and I got married, we've driven old beat-up cars with one glorious thing in common -- they were paid off. My Contour and his 2001 Toyota Corolla were the only cars I'd ever driven on a regular basis. But we didn't care. They did what cars were supposed to do -- got us where we needed to go.

And yeah, our friends teased us about how old they were. I mean, the locks and windows were manual in one and didn't work in the other. But like I said, we didn't care. We didn't know any different.

But when the Contour died, we decided (after thought and prayer!) to purchase a van. I'm thirty-four weeks pregnant and we have two big dogs, so the extra room made sense for us. And when we did the math, we decided to purchase a new vehicle since we plan to keep this one for awhile.

Thus began a journey toward something we didn't expect: dissatisfaction. Let me explain.

We got our new van, which came equipped with all of these features that are "basic" on the vehicle, but "like, whoa, this is amazing" to us. We didn't even get the top model! When we first bought it, we loved taking it out for rides and figuring out all the gadgets and gizmos.

Then, we took a road trip in it. It was such a huge blessing to have! I was way more comfortable than I would have been traveling in my third trimester in a small car, I can tell you that.

Yesterday, for the first time since the road trip, we drove the Corolla -- which, remember, was perfectly fine to us just a month ago. In fact, it was our "nice" car.

And we couldn't believe how much our perception has changed already! We started seeing all the flaws of the Corolla and comparing it to the nice, new van.

Whoa. How did this happen? Did we become materialistic overnight?

Thankfully, my husband and I recognized this in ourselves and are still too practical to go out and buy a new car to replace one that still runs perfectly fine. But still. It speaks to something in our human nature -- something potentially frightening. And it speaks to something much bigger than my feelings about a new car.

Because I don't want to be someone who just sees the flaws in something -- or someone. I want to see the best. I want to see how something fits my needs just as it is, right now, without feeling the need to wish for something "better."

Because that definition of "better"? That's a perception thing too.

Today, especially as we head into the Thanksgiving season, I want to be GRATEFUL for what I have and where God has me. In some ways, I want back that naivete I had before buying a new vehicle. Sometimes, it's not possible to go back. And if that's the case, I want to be grateful for that too.

I guess, no matter what, I want that contentment Paul talked about -- to not always be looking ahead for the "next thing" but to be happy with what God has given me here and now.

Your Turn: Have you ever experienced a shift in perspective that showed you just how human you really are?


  1. Lindsay, we must be cut from the same cloth, and married husbands who are likewise thrifty. Hubby drives our 1996 Toyota Camry (with about 250K miles on it!). We replaced my 1989 VW Fox in 2003 with our Honda Pilot. I am so thankful for our cars. But, when "my" Pilot went into the shop earlier this year, I got a rental, and oh, was it faaancccy! I think it was a Tahoe with ALL the latest bells and whistles. The boys really liked it too.

    It seems like when we get a taste of something better, we begin to feel dissatisfied. I'm with you, finding gratitude with what we have will ease the dissatisfaction of what we don't have. I'm practicing gratitude for the vehicles we have. They both run well, require little maintenance and get us where we need to go. :)

    Here-here to that!

    PS—I'm glad you're blogging again. :)

    1. Thanks so much for being here, Jeanne! I'm glad to know I'm not alone in these temptations. It just goes to show how human we all really are, huh?

      And thanks! It feels good to be back in the saddle.