Thoughts On...

Thoughts On Not Wanting to Want

In my post on girls’ camp, I mentioned about how although I thought I was going to camp to support the girls and help prepare food and make sure no one fell in the campfire, it seemed instead that girls’ camp was really just meant for me to have a big ol’ wake up call.

There were three main things that stuck out to me at camp:

1 – I worry entirely too much about what I look like in general,
 2 – I am entirely guilty of covetousness, and
3 – Sometimes I entirely forget who I am in the madness of life.

Now, camp was great because for once, I didn’t have to worry about how I looked. Four days without showers, makeup, and blowdryers was very, very good for me. It was also good for me to be around over two hundred teenage girls because it made me realize that I have, in fact, come a long way from the typical insecurities of most young girls.

Another thing camp did for me was reinvigorate my study of the scriptures and of pondering life in general, and this week, I’ve had a lot of cool aha moments while doing just that.

Take my issue with coveting, for example. Like most people, I can generate a list of things I want pretty quickly (currently, a hair trim, about ten kajillion more maxiskirts, the movie John Tucker Must Die, some more Bliss chocolates, and to finish typing up my mission journals by this weekend, to name a few). And I am quick to recognize that not all my wants are bad–it is good to want to accomplish things, to take care of ourselves, and to even indulge once in awhile.

However, I have noticed something happening to me slowly over the past 5 years or so. When I was in high school and in my first couple years of college, I didn’t often compare my situation to others (or even my looks to others)–I truly was very happy where I was and with who I was. Then it’s hard to say exactly what happened: I had a couple ex-boyfriends who made me insecure about the way I looked (including one who basically said he found me attractive on Sundays when I was all dressed up and found me unattractive the rest of the week when my hair was often pulled back in a ponytail), I gained 25 pounds on my mission, and I started following style blogs enough that I started caring how I dressed and overall appeared to the cyber world in general.

It’s been happening so subtly that I’ve hardly realized it, but I started to notice that something was up last summer, when I finally started to tackle the extra weight I’d gained. I reached a bit of an epiphany then, when I realized that the only way I was going to lose the weight and keep it off was by doing it for the right reasons and by keeping the promises I’d made to myself–not to gain attention from other people or impress somebody else.

And then this week, I had another epiphany as I devoted about an hour to studying the sin of covetousness. Heck, if you ever want to feel uncomfortable, just start studying this topic–I can almost guarantee that it’s something most if not all of us are guilty of, and more often than we think.
But rather than spend the time and tell you all the details bit by bit, I’ll just tell you two really unexpected connections I found. Covetousness means to wrongfully desire things–not only worldly possessions, either, but also someone else’s lifestyle, talents, beauty, etc. So the commandment isn’t saying that we shouldn’t desire things–it’s saying that we should desire righteous things.
The second realization was that, in several instances, covetousness was strongly linked to idleness and also to corrupt communication.

Have you ever felt a revelation come as a load of bricks to your face? Well, that’s how this felt. The idleness connection just blew my mind, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense–I’ve been noticing my jealous feelings this summer more because I’ve had WAY more free time than I’ve had in years. When I am honestly and dutifully employed in some worthy work, whether it be preparations for teaching English in the fall or writing in my journal or reading a good book, I don’t have the time or even the will to compare myself to others and want something I don’t have.

And the part about communication–the scriptures basically say that jealousy is made worse by talking about it. (Which makes sense, right? If we endlessly talk about everything we see ourselves as lacking, then we’re only going to strengthen those feelings even more).

The solution?

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with with such things as ye have: for he [the Lord] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

In addition, work hard, actively love and serve other people, and cultivate a grateful attitude.

And, when the going gets tough and the thoughts get jealous, just think of this: “They are greedy dogs which can  never have enough.” (Isaiah 56:11). I just love the way the scriptures definitely don’t mince words. Love it!

Anyway, I guess I’m just trying to say that I needed the time-out that girls’ camp gave me: it reminded me most of all that I am daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, that I have infinite worth exactly as I am (imperfections and all), and that happiness comes from doing good things and appreciating all the wonderful things I’ve already been given.
Sorry for the novel.

I just had to share.

(P.S. for some cool quotes on the subject, check out this other post and this talk).

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