by Jen Ramlet
I remember the first time I ever rode a horse. I was in the 2nd grade and a friend of our family was the director at the Humane Society here in Colorado. She had asked if we’d like to come down and ride a few of the rescue horses. I could not wait! I was so excited. During a time in my life where animals and Shaina Twain was basically my everything, riding a real life horse was more than a dream. So in true cowgirl fashion I got on my Levi’s, black cowboy boots, blue jean button up shirt, cowgirl hat and was off to the races. My parents, brothers, and I made the trek down to Elizabeth, Colorado, a beautiful farming community just southeast of Denver. As we drove by the tractors facing large red barns and horses running wild through tall green and gold grass, I began to dream. Could I have all of this? A horse, a house with a white porch swing, and a red barn? Could I have all this land to run and play and ride my horses? Could I have a home where we had enough room to rescue every dog that needed a place to live? Even at a young age I dreamed of being a cowgirl or my idea of one anyway. As we spent the day on that 200 acre farm, filled with horses and goats and dogs, my dream only grew. This is what I wanted. This is what I would have when I was older. Little did I know that this kind of dream did not come cheap, especially in Denver, one of the fastest growing cities in North America.
I married an incredible man who also desired to live on land. Although that was never his childhood dream, our time living in the city and the suburbs only confirmed that we both longed for space. As soon as we began our search, we were quickly disappointed when we realized that we could not afford our dream; at least not in the areas that were pseudo-close to civilization. I was devastated. After three years of looking I realized that I needed to let go and stop the search. I mean what was the point? I was only going to continue living with disappointment when I saw the price tag. As friends began to get married and buy homes, a few of them were blessed to find homes with land. While some of them were in areas outside our search, it didn’t help my struggle. I’d often asked my husband why we weren’t finding anything. We wanted to adopt animals for goodness sakes! Help those who didn’t have a voice and care and love them with a love they had never seen. I mean I had even written these things in my wedding vows! I was a woman who knew what she wanted and wanted to make sure the man looking at me on the other side of the aisle knew it too. Yet it didn’t matter what I wanted, I couldn’t have it.
We have all been there. We want something then that little thing called “finances” comes into play. We want a new car, a house to call our own, to vacation somewhere warm. We want new clothes or to get our hair done or even go on a date at a restaurant that doesn’t have a drive through line next to it. And it doesn’t help our situation when we see other people getting the things we want. All of a sudden the jealousy bug hits us. We are bed ridden often times with not only the jealousy aspect but insecurity, comparison and frustration as well. We don’t understand how some people seem to have it all; or at least we think they do. The interesting thing about the enemy is that he doesn’t discriminate when it comes to insecurity. He will hit us in any way he can. With some of us, it’s our financial state and what we have or don’t have. He and society tell us to acquire more, have more, and get more . . . but honestly, when we take a step back and look, do we really need it? The answer is No. We don’t NEED it, we just want it. The Bible talks a lot about us longing for things. I love how Jesus explains it in Luke 12. He is asked by someone to have him tell his brother to share the inheritance. Jesus goes on to explain “… Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” He goes on to say in 22-24: “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body”.
This is a hard concept for us to wrap our heads around. At least is it for me. I like to dress up. I love makeup and curling irons and pink and sparkles. I like to cook and often spend days preparing food and decorating when I throw dinner parties or game nights at my house. For Jesus to tell me not to fuss, well to be honest, is hard for me to put that into practice. But what I honestly think he is saying here is that so often we obsess over how we look and what we have, when in reality we need to be more focused inwardly. I don’t believe the Lord wants us to walk around looking like slobs, I just think he wants us to spend a little less time and money on the things that fade, and more time on what doesn’t. Our heart!
When we spend more time working on our heart, our human desires begin to fade and we long for the spiritual things in life than earthly possessions. And while vacations and homes and cars are great and I truly believe the Lord wants to give us the desires of our hearts, our desires begin to change more towards God's desires when we search for him more intently. In Matthew 5:5 it says: “The meek inherit the earth.” However, the Message version of the Bible puts it this way: “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” I love that! I want to encourage you ladies this week in asking yourself these questions:
- What things in your life are taking you away from your time with God?
- What material thing can you eliminate from your day and replace it with a little more of Jesus? Is it time shopping? Time looking at homes or cars online? Is it the extra time you spend doing your hair or makeup or second workout at the gym? What extras can you do a little less of for a little more of Jesus?
Jen Ramlet is a hilarious, fun, wise woman who will have you laughing till you cry one moment and bearing your soul the next. She is a writer and speaker with a passion for mentoring women and helping them find true freedom in Christ. Jen lives in Denver, CO with her handsome husband and super cute pup. You can find more of fabulous Jen at her blog, Rustic Glory (seriously, check it out, you’ll love it).