I grew up in a ‘financially-challenged’ household. The feeling of want was a very real, nervous, rot-gut urge from those around me and it wore off on me from a young age.
I used to want really expensive stuff... When our house was foreclosed on, it anchored in the yearning for a huge house someday. When our car broke down and I had to walk two miles with my mom to the store in the middle of summer until we could afford to get it fixed, it secured in me a strong desire to drive a damn Ferrari someday. When we weren’t sure how to put food on the table, out of that grew the urge to have a bottomless bank account someday.
All of these desires were fear-based, survival-driven, knee-jerk reactions to threatening stimuli. Looking back, it makes sense I had them. I don’t fault myself for it. I’m just thankful I now see them for what they were. Because there was a day I didn’t.
I once worshipped at the feet of these things. They became my false idols — a mistaken stand-in for what really matters.
In fact, I’m thankful I never got them, especially being in the state of longing and grasping that I was in, because I know that it would have taken me longer to see, as I do today, that the best things in life are the free things. They cost nothing because we already have them.
Now, when I say free things, I’m not talking about the free appetizers at Costco (although they are awesome). I’m talking about the divinely gifted aspects of our being — joy, generosity, forgiveness, plentitude, fulfillment, creative expression, emotional attunement, love, courage, acceptance, and peace. These are the things in life that matter.
The best things in life — our divine gifts from birth — are truly free: Namely joy, generosity, forgiveness, passion, creative expression, love, courage, and acceptance.
These are the things that you and I can access right now, no matter how many overdraft fees we’ve racked up after our holiday shopping melee. These are the things that, if realized and activated, lead to a life of the living.
And all other things shall be added unto us.
[Jonas Ellison is a spiritual writer, teacher, practitioner, and an interfaith minister-in-training. He helps people transform their lives through applied spirituality while documenting his journey along the way. To subscribe to his weekly-ish updates and exclusive content, click here.]