When Leah and I went on a field trip to the Kemper Contemporary Art Museum in Kansas City, we stopped by the little gift shop before we left to browse. They had pottery, art books, carved statues, and other beautiful things.
Leah and I were looking at the jewelry, when she noticed one with blue stones on top that she admired. I offered to buy it for her and she said no (it was $25, one of the lower priced items).
The clerk raised her eyebrow, and brought out similar rings in different stone colors to see if she liked those better, but Leah liked the first one best. She still said no, though, when I asked if she wanted it again. I asked her several times before we left, just to make sure.
“How did you get one who turned out like that?” the clerk asked me, impressed. “Usually, it’s the other way around, with the teen begging for something and the parent saying no.” I just smiled in response, pondering these things like Mary pondered things in her heart.
Ever since she was a little girl, Leah has never wanted to buy a lot of things. Sometimes I’ve wondered why – is it a self-esteem issue? Does she feel like somehow she doesn’t “deserve” something new, pretty, or that she really wants? But when I’ve prayed about it, I’ve felt like God has shown me that Leah is set apart, and is not a “worldly,” materialistic person like so many people are today- and that He purposely created her that way.
Leah lives simply. She doesn’t require a lot of material things to be happy. She just wants the love of her parents, family and friends; basic shelter, clothing and food; and a few favorite tech gadgets – her Ipod with her music, her computer, and her cell phone when she leaves the house.
For entertainment, she loves drawing on her graphic art tablet. She enjoys nature walks and loves animals. Her personality is phlegmatic-melancholy, usually even-keeled and well-balanced.
Leah is not a person of extremes. She doesn’t feel driven to become President of the U.S., conquer the world hunger problem – or to urgently spend her birthday money all in one hour when she hits the jackpot with checks from relatives each year. Instead she saves the money until she sees something she needs or wants.
Unlike most girls her age, she doesn’t live for going shopping for new clothes, shoes, and purses all the time. She’d rather pop some popcorn and sit down to watch a sci-fi movie with Ray.
When she does shop, she doesn’t want to go for hours. She just wants to buy the essentials – no name brand clothing, no bold logos, no bright colors, no shiny pictures on them. Just practical, comfortable clothing that gets the job done – to stay warm or cool!
You won’t find her wearing a bright red Angry Bird or a Gap tshirt…no Kohl’s Candied Ruched Party Dress. Maybe her dress resistance is because when she was a baby, I had her closet full of beautiful, frilly dresses on baby hangers, that I would take great delight in choosing from to dress her in each day – and now she is protesting! 🙂
Seriously, when the clerk asked me this question, I realized I can’t take credit for this wonderful trait in Leah – a child who doesn’t want us to constantly spend money on her (unlike her older sisters, who were that way as teens!). It’s just a God thing, the way God made Leah.
I’ve seen teens in other families who continually drain their parents’ bank account, acting like spoiled rotten brats, whose parents “owe” them the latest cell phone, Ipad, Jessica Simpson shoes, or new cars.
Sure, Leah enjoys it when we buy her things, and she is thankful for them, but she doesn’t demand them, whine for them, or gripe when we don’t.
Because she is content. What a beautiful place to be.
What about you? Are you content?
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4: 11-13, NLT