Saturday, March 10, 2012

Winning Ways—A Word of Warning

(Alliteration much?)

Why enter giveaways online? You will win. I promise you. Well, let me add a caveat: you will win if you enter A LOT of giveaways. For several months entering giveaways has been one of my hobbies and I have won some valuable prizes. Here are a few of my favorites:
            12 (!!!!) cloth diapers from Lotus Bumz
            3 skeins of hand died yarn
            A giant sampler pack of gourmet popcorn from Dale and Thomas

Even though an evil little thought wants to keep these giveaways to myself, I’m going to do a little series about entering giveaways and what I have learned. I’m going to start at the end:

Reasons NOT to enter giveaways:
-Its addicting
            There are lots of studies that show what gambling does to your brain. As reported here, the parts of the brain involved in anticipating a win show a similar response to cocaine or morphine. That is an extremely simplistic statement, but the bottom line is that anticipating a good outcome feels good. That good feeling may incent a person (cough, me, cough) to keep looking for that good feeling. Without limits, the losses pile up—not in money, but in time. There is NO WAY to enter All of the available giveaways. Set limits!

-It feeds the bottomless pit of materialism.
            I have always thought of myself as an anti-consumer. I rarely buy new things, shopping at thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist. But at the heart of consumerism is the desire for more, more, more! Having is not enough; the desire never ends. Since I always seem to be thinking about the next thing that I want or need, I guess I am a consumer. I just want my stuff to be free, or at least deeply discounted!
            We are designed to be completely fulfilled and whole in the presence of our Creator. Our never-ending longing is a signpost pointing to our need for God. Only His love will completely fulfill us and Jesus has already done everything necessary to restore our relationship. Our part is to trust Him and love Him. So when I feel frantic to enter the next giveaway for an apron I just NEED, or when I’ve finished eating and I want to think of the next thing to put in my mouth, I remember this:
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:19

            "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

            “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

            I’m grateful for the things I have won, and I find it fun to keep entering giveaways. But I want to remember that these things are temporary and that my Father has even better things in store for me that I can’t even imagine. How great is that!

Another thought about longing that points to God. I find when I hear a piece of beautiful music, or see something beautiful in nature or in the love of a child, I’m filled with wonder and, at the same time, a painful longing. C.S.Lewis talked about it in Surprised by Joy. That fleeting and painful joy leads me to worship the Author of all beauty. This morning in ’10 was like that for me.

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