Monday, October 7, 2013

how to determine the difference between a need and a want

Last month, my girlfriends and I met like we do every month. That particular night we asked some big questions:

                "What is a need?"
                "What is a want?"
                "What is the difference?"

I thought we were opening up a big box of big, unanswerable questions that we would have to take home and still have few answers. I thought it would be very complicated. Unsortable.

But it wasn't. 

The answer was actually very simple. Think you have a need? Is there something you want?

Bring it to Christ. Pray about it. 

When we offer a concern to Christ then the responsibility of deciding if it is a need, a reasonable want, or an unnecessary want, is lifted from us. If we pray, and wait, and listen, He'll make it clear to us. Maybe it will be a great sale (or thrift store find) at a time when we have the money. Maybe it will be that someone we know is giving it away. And even sometimes, after praying and waiting, we go ahead and buy it at full price - buying something quality but affordable. Sometimes though, the desire for the prayed for object simply goes away.

It still takes discernment. There's still a lot of navigating. But we have a guide in Christ. There are no rules you can follow. No list of needs and okay wants and what to avoid. It's case by case. Prayer by prayer.

Living within our means, in a modest way (in America) is tough. Society is telling us to have more. It can feel like the Church tells us to have nothing. But, really, I think most of us are called to be ordinary. To live a simple, humble, ordinary, moderate life - always looking to Christ for guidance on what that means for us personally. And always seeking His kingdom, where we will someday have all we need and want for nothing.

(Big thanks to my wonderful group of friends who formed these thoughts! I only put them in order.)

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