The lady on the news tonight was right. She referred to current statistics that suggest we are more stressed today than in previous generations. Amongst other things, she articulated a struggle I face daily on every level. It is called, 'too much choice'.
Whether it be to decide upon which movie to see or the best value cheese to buy, or which insurance company to choose, to what shade of blue socks to buy for an approaching winter.....sometimes too much choice and too many options bring more stress and take more cognitive energy and are not beneficial. Sometimes, limited choice and simplicity is best.
I am the proud owner, I mean mother, of three children aged 13,11 and 8 and I can't help but compare how their childhood is so much more complex than what mine was in the 80's and 90's. Admittedly, I grew up in the lovely provincial city of Tamworth N.S.W, where riding around town (on a BIKE, not a horse - and sorry to say, I am allergic to country music, just in case you are wondering) and walking down-town unsupervised with my friends held very little threat to our well-being.
My biggest problem was whether it was better value to buy a packet of burger rings or 3 redskins at my local pool with my pocket money, which I could spend at my leisure and head home in my time.
My children today have so many more options and choices to negotiate. Some of these are beneficial and enriching and others seem to steal their joy. Growing up in a technologically rich age where computer/phone/wifi accessibility is pertinent to function successfully, presents a myriad of challenges for example, purchasing headphones.
Miss 13 needs (wants) headphones that 'don't leak' ( for those of you who don't have a teenager to tell you – leaking is when others can hear what you are listening to eeeek, not cool).
Mr. 11 needs (wants) headphones with a speaker, cushion comfort and other elaborate features. They range from all prices and of course quality. Walking the tricky road of generosity and being budget conscious presents a major decision making challenge when negotiating buying things that matter so much to the kids.
When we go to the shops, the consumer in us all turns into a monster as potentially 'úseful' or 'fun' items are there by the dozen, cheap as chips. Teddy Bears longing to join our family, only $2.00. But which colour do we like best? One likes red and the other likes purple. Or do we like the yellow one with blue hair or pink one with green?? We spot DVD's that need to join our family collection, all on sale. But what ones to buy, there are so many. Then the arguments between siblings begin.....oh dear me thinks, is this bargain really worth it?! Is this purchase really going to bring us the impending joy we expect?
Time to filter
This is where it is time to filter. Filter what is not worth your time, energy and negotiation skills with others or yourself and think back to what God says for our good in scripture. He tells us not to worry about our life, what we will eat or drink, or about our body and what we will wear. God promises us that we are of utmost importance to Him and that He will meet our needs.
The words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 6 verses 25-34 can be applied to people like me today. He tells us to seek first His Kingdom, His righteousness and all these things will be added to us. So when the difficulties of decision making and consumerism present themselves, put them through God's filter of firstly seeking Him and being comforted that He will meet our every need.
When we look to Jesus to meets our needs, decisions will be clearer and temptations for things will be filtered through the funnel of contentment and satisfaction from a perfect loving Father.
Helen Nicholson is a Primary School Teacher based in Queensland, a wife and Mother of three growing children. She has lived and taught in a wide variety of places and loves nothing more than walking her two pet poodles, meeting with friends, snorkelling the reef and busting out her favourite moves on the dance floor.
Helen Nicholson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/helen-nicholson.html