We Want It Now.
Veruca Salt wanted a golden ticket.
In the 1971 timeless classic, “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” we were introduced to a little girl named Veruca. And though she may have appeared innocent and sweet — much like the bars of chocolate she coveted — it took only for her to open her mouth that we realized she was a bad egg.
Her time spent at the chocolate factory was like one continuous whine; finding fault with what she had and harping on what she wanted.
And she made it very clear what she wanted.
She wanted gooses and geese’s to lay her golden eggs, a bean feast, a party with pink macaroons, a million balloons and performing baboons — just to name a few.
Now how she would acquire all of this was of no concern to her. All she knew was that she wanted it and she wanted it now.
Of course, most of us are nothing like Miss Salt, as her attitude and demeanor were clearly exaggerated and over the top. I mean, ten thousand tons of ice cream? Really, V?
But if we really stopped to examine our own lives, I dare say we’d be surprised to find more than a few similarities that we share with our young antagonist.
“Not me!” you might say in protest. “That girl found fault with everything and wasn’t satisfied with anything!“
To which I might poke and prod you by saying “and how are we any different?“
We want today.
When we get down to brass tacks, Baby V had a serious problem with contentment.
“CON·TENT·MENT: a state of happiness or satisfaction.”
She was never truly fulfilled because homegirl didn’t have to be. With a pushover for a father and an unbothered mother, her every wish and desire were met. So in that regard, we would probably find ourselves on the opposite end of the spectrum.
But the movie reel of our lives more than likely shows our fair share of discontentment.
Now sure, we’re probably not too worried about a lack of cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts. But waking up in the morning to get ready for the job that we hate, driving around in the car that is old, living in the small town that we despise and leading a life that we resent? Well when you put it that way…
Now before we go too much further, allow me to clarify. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with wanting more for ourselves. Quite the contrary, as I believe desiring more for oneself can signify growth. What gets us is our posture towards our circumstances. Because when our current situation has us here, yet we want so desperately to be there, we can easily begin the slow descent into murky discontent waters.
In a world where it’s so easy to look through the window of our neighbor’s curated lives, we shut our blinds and fall into the furnace of comparison and discontentment. I think it’s fair to say that we all go through this, at one point or another.
We want to get to that next something, and it can’t come fast enough.
Maybe you have outgrown your home, and your once beloved oasis has become the bane of your existence. Or maybe your husband doesn’t seem to do what her husband does, and you’ve internalized your frustrations. Whatever the case may be, you have resolved that your irritable situation needs to be changed. And you want it changed now.
We want tomorrow.
About five years ago, I was in the thick of job hunting. Never mind the fact that I had been at my current position for only nine months, was soon to be engaged and was about to throw myself into planning a wedding. I was about to go through one of the biggest changes a woman can make in her life and I wanted to add a job change onto that already leaning tower of chaos and stress.
But I found myself so displeased with my situation that I didn’t care; I simply wanted out. And I didn’t care how, I just knew that I wanted it now.
Well not only was I unsuccessful in my job quest, but I also felt the side effects of a discontented heart. I believed that I could do, and be, so much more than what I was doing. But in my failed attempt at a quick job hop, my performance waned. There I was saying I could handle more, when in reality, I was squandering what God had already given me.
Yes, I wanted more for myself, as we all do. But it came at the expense of what I had been entrusted with. I overlooked every good that I had gained, every lesson that I had learned because I wanted that next thing. If only I had realized that there would always be a next thing.
So what do we do?
When feelings of discontentment start to rise up and demand a seat at the table, I have found it helpful to keep a couple of things in mind. It is possible to be content during one season, while anticipating a better one to come.
Think about the humble beginnings of David (1 Sam. 16). He was called — nay, divinely appointed — to be the future King of Israel at a young age. He knew his future would be so bright, he would need the strongest of UV protection in his shades. And after being anointed with oil, along with receiving the powerful presence of the Spirit of the Lord, David’s first order of business? To go back to tending the sheep and the goats.
I’m sure David highly anticipated the day he would become King. But until that time came, he had to remain content with where he was.
It is possible to be content with the portion God has provided, whether big or small.
You know I couldn’t leave Paul out of this one, as his letter to the Philippians shows his firm stance on contentment (Phil. 4:11-13). He took the approach that it didn’t matter what we had or what circumstances we found ourselves in.
It isn’t the ever-changing things that make us content, but rather, the unchanging One that will.
I’m not saying that being content is easy. But I think we can agree that it is necessary and we are called to live lives of contentment. It produces a Godly heart in us that material things never will.
And if for nothing else, to be content is to likely avoid being deemed a bad egg.
Kaitlin is an accidental writer, creating her blog ‘Simply BreAshlee’ as a placeholder during a prolonged season of waiting. She writes about her everyday life, and how — in the tiniest, quiet moments, and the big loud ones — the hand of God is in everything. Kaitlin longs to make you laugh, think and walk away knowing that surely the Lord is in this place. When she’s not on a volcano in Hawaii, or the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, she calls Birmingham, AL home. There you will find her snuggled on the couch with her husband by her side and her black Labrador at her feet.