Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Delayed Gratification

Learning to delay gratification is an important part of becoming a fully functional human being.  As Judith Wright points out, learning to delay gratification leaves us the space we need to discover our true selves and the truths of the universe.

As we get past our superficial material wants and instant gratification we connect to a deeper part of ourselves, as well as to others, and the universe.

We are aware that products can’t fill our hearts and yet to fight against our culture we must be very mindful of this truth and live intentional lives.  It is so easy to slip into the ideology that if we just have “enough” of the things of life our hearts will be full.  It isn’t true; of course, it is one of the great lies.  Therefore, another important aspect of delayed gratification is the need to slow the tide of rampant consumerism.

By continually pushing the message that we have the right to gratification now, consumerism at its most expansive encouraged a demand for fulfillment that could not so easily be contained by products.

At the same time, I want to sound a warning bell for those of us who have taken this notion of delayed gratification to heights beyond anything that is healthy.  “Delayed” means that gratification will eventually come.  Some of us take the idea of delayed and turn it into “never” or “seldom.” 

Part of embracing the whole heart is learning to experience the joys of life.  We aren't called to buy into rampant consumerism or focus on superficial things that will never bring our hearts joy.  However we do need to break down the walls that keep us from experiencing the joys of life. 

In what ways do you delay or refuse to experience gratification in your life?  When you hear a compliment, do you allow it to seep into your heart or do you brush it away like a fly that buzzes by your face annoyingly?  What joy does your heart need to experience today?  Why delay?