What dress should I wear?
I was standing in front of my wardrobe deliberating over my outfit for a special occasion.
Do I go the navy blue slip dress with the white polka-dots? Or the floral cotton dress in watermelon and peach? Perhaps something more classic, like that black dress that buttons up the back and falls below the knee, with a tan leather belt at the waist?
When I added the decision of what shoes, what cardi, what jewellery and whether to bare-leg it or go for some stockings (patterned or plain?), I was breaking a sweat and snapping at the hubby, whose monosyllabic grunts were not helping, I might add.
Then, a distinct moment of clarity.
My eyes scanned left to right, taking in the volumes of fabric. I counted them: 26 dresses. And I couldn’t find ONE to wear that day.
First World Problem.
Like when you forget to put your electric blanket on before bed.
When the closest parking spot is a whole two blocks from your destination (and then there’s a spot right out the front).
When you don’t have enough crackers for your cheese.
When you order take-out and only realise you were given the wrong order when you get home.
When your birthday’s coming up and you don’t know how to respond when people ask what you want, because you’ve got everything.
And the day after your birthday celebrations, you lament that there’s nothing to eat but cake.
First World Problems.
The occasion I was dressing for that day was the Flourish women’s event here in Launceston. Keynote speaker Amanda Gore was speaking directly at me when she said “Stop. Slap yourself. And realise how very blessed you are.”
Have you ever had that feeling? In a room of around 480 people, I could’ve sworn she’d tailored her talk for me (that’s how self-centred I am!). The context of Amanda’s statement was finding joy by living with a heart full of gratitude.
Flip, us first-worlders can be small-minded, complacent, proud, and all those other words bred out of privilege.
“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (The Message).
The Bible can be pretty direct. Actually, that’s what I love about it. That verse in 1 Timothy literally says, “Claire, quit being so full of yourself!”
I don’t think God cares much what I choose to wear (unless Miley Cyrus was to step in as my wardrobe coordinator, cough-cough). But He cares about the state of my heart, He cares about my priorities and that I spend more time worrying about what dress I will wear and that we’ve run out of crackers than about the people in the world who have no clothes and food to speak of.
If, like me, you are plagued by First World Problems, perhaps you could take some of that advice from Amanda:
“Stop. Slap yourself. And realise how very blessed you are.”
This rap clip on First World Problems is pretty funny, and kinda sad and true.
Please look at this link, it’s an infographic on the size of Australia’s foreign aid program and how the money is being spent. Very enlightening indeed.
As printed in The Examiner newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday September 9, 2013.