Need a quick laugh? Check out a squirrel skateboarding on YouTube. Hungry for a burger? Go by a drive-through window, and your craving is satisfied in less than ten minutes. This is the way our world works: our wants our met instantaneously, before we even have time to think about whether or not these are actually needs.
Although it seems like instant gratification is a short path to happiness, it can actually lead to the chronic need for more, and that disease leads inevitably to unhappiness. The cure to this? An appreciation for what you already have.
Be happy with only one pair of designer jeans. Be content with wearing last year’s basketball shoes this season. How do you do that? And why would you want to?
First things first: the reason you should find contentment with what you have is that the constant need for more destroys your ability to enjoy and appreciate what you already have. Think about which one of these is more enjoyable: cutting a medium-sized brownie, putting it on a plate, and eating it with a tall ice-cold glass of milk; or standing over the pan of brownies and breaking off chunks with your fingers until half the pan is gone and your stomach hurts. Obviously, the first, more moderate, option is the more satisfying dessert.
Not only does enjoying what we have give us more delight in it, it also keeps us from the dangerous sin of covetousness, or the desire for more. This sin is listed with the ones that get you a one-way ticket to the lake of fire in 1 Cor. 6:10, along with sins like drunkenness, thievery, and adultery. In fact, in Col. 3:5, covetousness is equated with idolatry, as in worshipping riches instead of God!
So we see that we must be happy with what we have. Now how do we do that? Jesus said to consider the lilies, and how beautifully they’re clothed. Surely God will outfit us, His favorite creation, more so than the flowers of the field (Matt. 6:28-30). But lilies don’t need hair straighteners or nail polish or cuff bracelets or Chuck Taylors! Where does that lily analogy end and human-girl life begin?
With you letting go of the worries about more. Happiness comes when you stop desiring more than what you need, and you start enjoying what God has already given you. It might be January, but you can still bloom right where you’re planted: be glad for food and clothing, for sunshine and rain, and you’ll find that life as a lily is a breeze.