More Isn’t Always Better

Our family celebrated one of the cousin’s birthdays recently 11with a pool party at my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s neighborhood pool.

When we got back to the house after all of the splishing, splashing, and Marco-Poloing, my in-laws offered all of the kids something out of their garage fridge. The garage fridge: where suburbanites keep all the fun beverages!

There was a variety of Gatorades, and I heard my son say, “I’ll take that one. It’s bigger.”

It was actually the same size, but perception is reality to an 8 year old (and a 38 year old).

A bit later, when we were snacking on mini cupcakes, one kid got two cupcakes and one of those little frozen ice things – the kind that come in a little plastic sleeve you have to snip with scissors. Walmart always has them in a huge box in the middle of the aisle all summer long. I’m sure they’re really good for you.

Anyway… one kid got two cupcakes and a frozen ice thing. Another kid got one cupcake and a frozen ice thing and realized he had been wronged. He protested, “But she got two cupcakes and the frozen pop! I only got one!”

Whoever is parenting that kid needs to step up (yes, it’s me).

Basically, in both of these instances – the bigger is better Gatorade guy and the unjust cupcake situation, the children in question (mine) were being human. We all acted like that when we were 8. We still act like that to some extent.

We assume more and bigger is better. We get a little off-kilter when others seem to get a bigger slice of the pie than we do. Regardless of what the pie is or if we knew we wanted the pie in the first place. We see someone getting a piece, and we decide we want it, even if it’s nasty tasting.

So back to the party…..

These mini-cupcakes were mini. I picked one up and ate it slowly. What good would one additional cupcake be to me? What greater experience would I have if I ate one more?

Whenever we assume that more is better, I wonder if we have gratitude for the little we already have. I wonder if we appreciate the experience of eating a small, chocolaty muffin with chocolate ice cream before we decide we need to have two?

Did I pop the mini-cupcake into my mouth with one bite and immediately look around to see who is grabbing both a chocolate and vanilla version (secretly bitter against the dude who got seconds)?

Or did I savor the first one? Did I enjoy the moment? Did I really even taste it? Was I thankful for a treat that I normally do not get?

Enough about cupcakes. It’s making me hungry.

What “more” or “bigger” do I think I need right now?

There’s a possibility I do need a bit more. Maybe I do need more money for a very valid reason. Maybe I do need more space in my home or my closet. Maybe I do need a more up-to-date this or that.

Even so, I need to savor, have gratitude, and be a good steward of whatever “little” bit I have right now.

Before I automatically assume that what I need is more, I need to check my stewardship and gratitude for what I currently have.

It’s one of the cliches of short-term overseas mission trips: “I can’t believe how much joy the people had when they had so little stuff!”

If that is what we hear nearly every single time a group comes back from a mission trip (if you’re a church person, you know what I’m talking about), how come we can’t learn to have joy despite the comings and goings of the stuff we have?

I’ll stop there. You get the point. My encouragement to you (and to me, because these posts nearly always are based in something I need to have preached to me): notice when there’s a tendency to feel that more is better. Notice when it is more a knee-jerk reaction vs. a true need. And even if it’s a true need, try really hard to consider your stewardship, gratitude, and enjoyment for what you already have.

Enjoy your day! Use it wisely. Savor it. You’ll get more tomorrow.

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