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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Satisfied (10/11/04)

TITLE: Move Over, Martha Stewart!
By Joanne Malley


I love to decorate! When my husband and I bought our home, I discovered a need to create and nurture. My house was like a blank canvas, and I was thrilled to place my signature within its four walls and also create an atmosphere of comfort.

I was thankful my husband was decoratively challenged and had no concept of turning a house into a home. As Chief Executive Director of Decorative Decisions, my title gave me full control. I was convinced I’d soon be able to rub elbows with Martha Stewart!

My husband’s interests were quite different than mine. Even before we signed the paperwork for our closing, he was pleased about becoming the king of his domain. Despite his delusional belief, I knew the truth. I would run the place, clean it weekly and handle the finances. The closest he’d get to reign in his kingdom would be to decide which porcelain throne he’d call his own!

As new homeowners, we often sailed on choppy waters. We quickly discovered how to borrow from “Peter” to pay “Paul” in order to stay afloat.

Anyway, despite the grating sound of our screeching checkbook, I would manage to tweak the finances to satiate my appetite for the decorating addiction I acquired. When that failed, there was always plastic!

When my husband discovered maps, blueprints and directions to a multitude of decorating stores in the tri-state area, he insisted I get help. To my dismay, I discovered there were no treatment centers nearby to offer support for my problem, so I was left to my own devices.

Unfortunately, I had no willpower to stay clear of the decorating shops meant for those with “caviar” taste. At the time, I ignored the fact that I should only be consuming “tuna” from Martha Stewart’s Home Collection at KMart!

Year after year, my quest was to acquire beautiful furniture and delightful accessories. It became a compulsion to find the right do-dads to bring a cozy appeal to each room of our home.

It was apparent my perfectionism was rearing its ugly head and sinking its ferocious teeth into the funds meant to pay our bills. It was time for a reality check and it was also time to start paying off the plastic!

After the shock of being hit in the wallet with the weight of our decorating bill, I got off my cozy couch with the coordinated pillows and took stock of what surrounded me. I saw a woman who was using materialism and beautiful surroundings to fill a need for satisfaction. I was obviously watching too many decorating shows and spending way too much time shopping.

I realized I needed to re-evaluate things. Luckily, I sensed a voice speaking to me about what I really needed to feel satisfied. My obsession was leading to complacency in my spiritual life and a wake-up call came to give me a much-needed nudge.

In the Book of Job, 21:17, there was a verse so fitting for me to memorize. It says, “Make sure you don’t become too complacent in the areas of what God expects.” Well, okay, then—not only was I hit in the head with the weight of our charge bill, but the verse nearly knocked me out with the heavy dose of truth it revealed to me!

Obviously, more focus needed to be placed on things of the spirit since that’s where true satisfaction could be found. I’ve learned that materialism was temporarily filling a need to feel satisfied, but I longed for something more lasting.

As a Christian, I didn’t want to possess an unrealistic view on materialism, so I’m now a recovering addict! Things are improving, and I don’t shake as much when I pass the professional decorating shops. A few deep breaths and recollection of the previously noted verse usually works to quell the shakes!

The natural course of growing in my faith has shown me which things are actually needs and which things can lead to excessive desires that can distort my spiritual view.

I’ve decided I’ll soon be venturing into the attic where an overload of decorative accents are on standby. They were acquired through many unnecessary shopping trips meant to temporarily fill an empty hole. It’s time to clear them away since they are a reminder of how easily my addiction was fueled.

Any takers for a pair of brass candlesticks?

Say yes, and you’ll help me take my first step toward recovery!

Member Comments
Member Date
Dori Knight10/18/04
great job, joanne! now about those candlesticks ....

blessings ~

Kevin Kindrick10/18/04
Ha Ha, just kidding, I don't really need any brass candlesticks. Thanks for the offer though.
Your entry this week brings a sobering dose of truth in the guise of a humorous anecdote. The Holy Spirit spoke to me as I read your story. You are not the only Christian to turn to material things to fill that void.
Thank you for sharing this.

God Bless,

John Hunt10/18/04
All the men are saying "amen," Jo! LOL
Good article, and reminder.
BTW, if you find one of those places to get help or some sort of 12-step program or something, forward it to my wife! - Just kidding (not really)
Lucian Thompson10/18/04
Joanne, You don’t want to be rubbing elbows with Martha Stewart right about now, believe me. And, I saw Peter the other day, took an offence report of petty larceny from him. Still looking for the perpetrator. Saw Paul, told him the check is in the mail; hope that was alright. Let me check on the price of brass as scrap metal first and then I will get back with you on those candlestick thingies. Oh yea…loved the article!
Jo, i just loved this article. You are so expressive in your writing and make it so easy to hear you speak the words you write. Can i share it with my husband(:LOL
Glenda Lagerstedt10/19/04
Your submission grabbed my interest with the title and kept me glued to the last word. Love your humor and honesty here.
Dave Wagner10/20/04
What an excellent piece. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It makes a good, practical point and shows the how and why of your getting the upper hand on it. Talk about something that could be applied to just about every life...

>> My obsession was leading to complacency in my spiritual life and a wake-up call came to give me a much-needed nudge.<<

Everyone has some area that this hits.

Thanks for posting this.
Mary Elder-Criss10/21/04
ouch. this hit home a little too hard. your writing just keeps getting better and better..thanks for this important piece on materialism...and oh, by the way...Martha may have a harder time decorating where she is right now! lol
Karri Compton10/22/04
Have you ever heard of flylady.net? You sound like a flybaby! Great theme, one that we all need to think about.
darlene hight10/22/04
This is really agreat piece! Thanks for sharing it.
Rita Garcia10/24/04
Joanne, Great Entry!! Love it from beginning to end. Blessings, Rita