While reading a few chapters in Genesis yesterday, I was struck by all of the self help and self improvement lessons lingering in the Garden of Eden with Adam and his somewhat dysfunctional family. Discontentment, resentment, hatred, unaccountability, and the modern practice of throwing someone under the bus.
Adam and Eve had it all. A home so beautiful that our minds could never even begin to grasp the imagery. They didn’t have taxes, traffic, health problems, health reform, social climbing, mortgages, nosy neighbors, politicians, wars, or any other disasters we’re familiar with.
God was their President, their pastor, and their friend.
Somehow, that wasn’t enough for Eve. She wanted what she couldn’t have: The forbidden fruit. The one tree in her entire world that she was told she couldn’t have… that’s the one she just couldn’t do without. Can you see her now? Picture it. She is the perfect female specimen – and her sweetheart is the perfect male specimen, AND she doesn’t have to worry about other females! The lovely duo lives in Paradise and their every need is met and met beautifully.
There’s just ONE tree that they aren’t permitted to touch. I’m guessing Eve fixated on this tree. She didn’t spend her days and nights looking at all that she had, she spent them looking at what she didn’t have.
In the early stages of fixation, we don’t think about what we don’t have 24/7. We start out thinking about it, maybe, once or twice a week. Then, if we don’t snatch our mind away in time – we start thinking about it once or twice a day. Pretty soon, we’re thinking about the car, house, wardrobe, perfect body, bulldog, boat, bedroom furniture, or the baby that we DON’T have more often that we think about the things (and people) we DO have.
This is, of course, where discontentment and misery move into our minds and hearts. Without us even realizing it, the discontentment makes us miserable and unhappy – inside and out. I believe that many of the most hateful, grumpity grumps in the world are, at heart, simply miserable themselves – because they don’t think they have all that’s coming to them. All they deserve.
A couple of people recently told me about a co-worker who was so hateful and mean that you could FEEL her anger and negativity when she walked into a room. It wasn’t at all uncommon for her to leave other workers in tears after shredding their self worth and nerves. No one likes the B word, but this gal might just be the reason the B word was ever invented in the first place! After thanking God above that I would probably never meet this woman and after telling the two I was talking to to “stay on her good side, whatever you do,” I started wondering, “I wonder what she thinks is missing in her life. I wonder what her personal tree is.”
Although I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell her, she should think about Eve and the Garden of Eden. Can you imagine how she’d snap my head off at the suggestion?!? People would be so much happier, healthier, and fun to be around if they didn’t focus on the things that were “missing” and simply looked lovingly and thankfully at the things that were present and accounted for.
Poor Eve. The mother of discontentment at least leaves us a perfect example of the path that leads from fixation and discontentment to failure and disaster. They were banished from the Garden of Eden. But why should she mind, right, it wasn’t good enough for her in the first place…. or so she thought.
I wonder how many people, if they lost what they have, would suddenly realize that it was their own private Eden. Unfortunately, like Eve, it’d be too late then.
How much better is it to look around at the beauty that is your world and to be thankful and content for all that you have. Then, the next time discontentment begins to whisper a poisonous sermon in your heart and mind, cut it off. Tell it what Eve should have told the snake, “Look at all I have.. I don’t need anything you’ve got!”
Tomorrow: Adam, most definitely, is not off the hook!