the problem with first world problems.


 As some of you will recall, for our 10 year anniversary, Sean bought me a trip to Washington DC.  I've never been and it has been my "No. 1 place I'd visit" for years.  Due to pregnancy and young kids, lack of time, work schedules, finances and life, we hadn't made the trip.

But, on July 20th, he presented me with a tourist guide and the announcment of the trip we would be taking, the day after Christmas.  He had arranged childcare, hotel was selected and I was so so so excited.  I can't tell you how excited.  I cried, at the resturaunt table.

This weekend, our oven broke.
It's older than dirt and has a broken handle, preheats slower than a snail passes and cooks unevenly.  Still, it works and I've been using it for the past two years with no complaints about my cooking.
Saturday was the day it decided to die {the day I was hosting a shower and needed to bake!}.

Sean and I looked at the oven, on Sunday and he said,
"We need a new oven and I really don't think we will get away with one, in that space for less than $1200.00, after tax.  And that is for the most basic of ovens."

I said, "Yep." and started to cry.
He knew why and I knew why and we both were quiet until I said,
"I really really wanted to go to Washington DC, Sean.  Like REALLY wanted to go."

"We can't Rach.  We can't afford both and you use the oven every day and the holidays are coming up and we use the oven double during that time."

"I know.  I'm just ticked."

"I'm bummed too, but we will go someday.  Don't worry about it. "



You see where this conversation is going and while I may not have added as much emphasis as the caps lock key did, I was bummed.  It started with frustration, then entitlement and then sadness that I had felt either.  We aren't going to Washington DC like planned and I'm trading in my ticket for a new oven.  I was pretty upset, for a good hour.

Quickly after I had my pity party, the term, "first world problems" popped into my head and It hasn't left and all I can think of are those words....


When I look at my kids that have colds.
When I look at my kitchen that has a hole in the cabinet and too little counter space.
When I think about that friend that has hurt me or the relationship that I wish was deeper.
When I think about the pinterest-worthy party I can't throw for my daughter.
When I think about the bills that are worrisome.
When I think about the 10 extra pounds on my thighs and hips and knees and stomach.
When I think about my concerns about another miscarriage.
When I think about my frustrations at homeschooling.
When I think about the idea that I am not as multidimensional as working and career moms.
When I think about the stress I put on myself to make things just so.
When I struggle to figure out what to buy people for gifts.
When I worry about my addictions.
When I think I may not be as fashionable as someone else. 
When I stay up at night wondering if I'm a good mother or a ultimate failure.
When I can't manage to find time in my schedule to dive into the Bible to consume the only bread I need to live.

I couldn't help but think about that term all morning and it still is there.

And that is the problem with first world problems.
Since you and I are surrounded by things, people and circles that are on level playing ground with us, all we see are first world problems.  We look at other peoples first world problems and wish for them, gladly handing over ours, since they are so much worse.  Or we look at their first world problems and thank the good Lord we don't have them.  Wouldn't life be HORRIBLE?!

And when our worlds do collide with REAL problems {not problems like "I have to wait an entire 4 months before I can get a permit to re-build my house!!!!!!!"} all of a sudden we are shattered and shaken and first world problems look like Disneyland.  We love our family and people we haven't talked to in months, quickly look less monstrous.  Our homes seem larger and wallets seem robust.
But the dust settles and we get sucked back up by the first world problem machine.

I'm sick of first world problems and I'm sick of measuring my value, happiness and success against a first world measuring stick.

Think of those around the world that truly suffer, on a daily basis.
Lives full of loss, starvation, anger, anguish, addiction, pain, loneliness, rejection, abuse, deception, bondage and....
lack of salvation.

They're here too.  Amongst us. Standing in the same lines you are and making the same commute on the freeway.
Dealing with real problems, while we stress over what school to put our kids in or complain that all we do on Saturday is spend our time at the soccer field.
I don't see our problems as problems.  They are frustrations.

Some woman is reliving the pain of being sexually mutilated while I stress about someone being pissed about a blog post I wrote.
Some mother is losing her child, to hunger, while you are exsasperated because you ran out of time and have to roll through McDonald's, living with the concept  that your children are going to injest high fructose corn syrup.
Those sides of the spectrum may seem extreme but in the light of the urgency around us, can we really afford to think of it differently?

I don't think so and I'll tell you what's changing my thinking {for the better} today and hopefully going forward....

If it's a first world problem, pray about it, deal with it, move on and complain no more.

Dwelling on our first world problems will not only set a horrible example to our children about what really matters in our world but will also cement us in a immovable place of non-growth.

We need to get out of ourselves and do for others.
Whatever that looks like for you, in your life.....we need to stop complaining and dwelling on our broken ovens. We need to start thinking about the mission field we have each been given and get out and do something.

Stop with our first world whining and start focusing on what matters.

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