Toilet Seats and Contentment


It was good for me to be afflicted.  —Psalm 119:71 NIV

Who would have ever thought purchasing a toilet seat would be the highlight of a shopping trip?

One year with escalating gas prices, a faltering economy, and a sharp drop in my freelance editing, my husband and I trimmed the budget and put into practice the two dozen ways to tighten our belts I had formulated.

During that year, I learned:

Wants are not needs. Like TV or satellite service. Like potato chips and ice cream. We not only saved the fifty dollars a month we were paying for the satellite service, we also shaved fifteen dollars a month from the electric bill by not turning on the TV as much. We watched DVDs on Friday and Saturday evenings and went to bed early, which also helped to save on the electric bill because we turned off the lights early. Unfortunately, cutting the potato chips and ice cream didn’t impact my weight loss hopes.

Living on less isn’t a hardship. It means less clutter, less stress, less money going out. Turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees, putting on a sweatshirt, and using a small heater in the room where I worked helped to save on the heating bill. I cancelled my gym membership. Walking and doing some old-fashioned exercises kept me in shape just as well as driving twelve miles to town to work out and cost nothing but time—much less time than it took to drive to town and back.

I really love gardening. Especially now that I’m freezing and canning for only two, not five. We expanded the garden, adding beans, squash, lettuce, and more tomato and pepper plants. I experienced once again the joy and satisfaction of seeing sparkling, colorful jars on my pantry shelves and stacks of vegetables in my freezer.

Staying focused on what we have—not on what we don’t have—increases the contentment level. “New” doesn’t always mean “better.” Throwing out something with years of good use left is wasteful and expensive, especially when that something is a vehicle. We ran our 1997 Explorer until we could afford to replace it. Sure, we had to get the transmission replaced and the alternator rebuilt, but that was a lot less expensive than a monthly loan payment.

The good life is really the simple life. Too often this truth gets buried under the advertisements bombarding us daily, under too much modern philosophy and not enough old-fashioned common sense. Making do with what you have until you can afford to replace it is simple common sense. So is using the cash you have, not the credit limit you have, to live on. I used a toilet seat with a broken hinge for months before replacing it. Hence the joy when I finally got a new one.

Blessings galore surround me, if only I open my eyes. For too long, the things I wanted but didn’t have blocked the view of the blessings.

Yes, affliction can be good. It brings us back to where we need to be: trusting in the grace and goodness of God.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21–23).

 Read and reflect on Matthew 6:19–33.

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

One thought on “Toilet Seats and Contentment

  1. scribelady

    How true, “Wants are not needs”! I look back through journals and see I continually remind myself of that. I am reminding myself of that again now, during a tight financial time. I keep a list of things which are needs: food, water, clothing, shelter, shoes to keep focused on what are real needs.

    I used to figure that once I bought something, it was mine; I kept it until it wore out. But I’m learning I can let go of things which are still in good condition to sell them and get some “wiggle room” in finances. I sold a miniature playset and some books to a dealer; turned around, bought a couple used CDs and DVDs, and had money left over to buy some groceries. I was happy with that. I plan to do that again, not only to improve finances, but to cut down on things I don’t use anymore.
    I’m also reapplying a rule: if I have a need, think of it in broad terms. For example: a couch. I can go to a furniture store, or I can go to a thrift store, and see what they have. It’s possible to fill that need in different ways, as long as I don’t get “picky” about it. I believe God is teaching me about the blessings of flexibility.


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