Playing White Elephant

Without fail, I am ALWAYS the person who gets the short end of the deal at a White Elephant gift exchange. For example, one year I traded a terribly wrapped little box for a bigger box that had been wrapped with expertise and decorated with shiny, curly ribbons. I excitedly opened my big, boxed gift to find a homemade fruit cake – a sweet gift that I was content with! That is… until I saw the poorly wrapped little box I had exchanged earlier being opened. Inside were two tickets to go to Six Flags Over Texas!!! As sweet as any homemade cake will always be, those tickets were INFINITELY times cooler than what I got! While I could have been riding roller coasters from dawn until dusk and eating an embarrassing amount of funnel cakes that weekend, instead I was at home, picking raisins out of my fruit cake. (womp woooomp.)

I think that sometimes, we play a good ‘ol game of White Elephant with our lives. We don’t like what we’ve been given and even get envious when we see that others have it better! Why is it that life is just so easy for some while others give it all they have and are still struggling? How come some families can’t seem to make ends meet and then there are others who live extravagantly on a daily basis? Why do some couples raise families so easily while others struggle for years to conceive? Why is it that some have prayerfully been waiting to find that special someone while others who don’t care about godly things are simply “handed” the ideal mate?! WHAT IS THIS?!?!

Here’s the thing. We’ve got to remember that no matter how beautifully life may be packaged on the outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what’s going on within is equally as beautiful. You may think that your circumstances are the worst possible situation, but 10 times out of 10, that isn’t the case at all. We do a pretty good job of masking the problems that are in our lives, and social media helps with that! We post pictures of all the cool new presents we got and how cute our kids look in their adorable Christmas outfits. What doesn’t get posted is the debt that comes with buying expensive Christmas presents, and ain’t nobody going to post a picture of their kid unattractively throwing a temper tantrum when they found out they had to wear an itchy dress for this annoying family portrait!!

It’s all a façade – nobody’s life is perfect.

Now, back to this whole White Elephant thing. You know, buying gifts for a white elephant gift exchange is super hard too! Everybody wants their gift to be the one that others will point at in the end and say “DANG. I should’ve kept that while I had it!” You don’t ever want to look over and watch someone open your gift and mask their disappointment when they’ve discovered they could’ve ended up with something much cooler.

There’s something we tend to forget sometimes. Our lives were very specifically designed BY God FOR us. Wishing that we had a different kind of life is pretty hurtful to Him. It’s equivalent to desperately trying to exchange a gift, and not taking into consideration the person who’s taken the time to carefully put it together! And who’s better at giving gifts than God Himself?! He carefully chose every detail of your life. He even cushioned a few breakable items with grace and patience to get you through. He surrounded you with people who matter, and who would help you find joy. He wrapped your life with security, and designed it with finesse. He has always, always taken care of it. And you’re telling me this gift isn’t good enough?

This holiday season, do yourself a favor, and think about how blessed you are to have what you’ve been given. For many, what you have is more than they could ever dream of.

“God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying His supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.” – John Piper

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