First World Problems

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This expression is Levi’s, “Oh my gosh, is that an iPhone in front of me? I want it right now. No – I need it right now. Give it to me or I’m going to have a baby-sized breakdown,” face.

He’s 1-year old.

One.

He doesn’t even know what Apple is yet, let alone the amazing technological developments that have been employed to enable what is a modern marvel of personal communication glory.

He knows his high chair, his bottle, pooping, and blankies. And apparently iPhones.

I can’t help feel a little guilty here, as he sees his Daddy and Mommy with one everyday.

(Okay, mostly his Mommy).

(Okay, okay. Sheesh. Mostly his Daddy).

And I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that the iPhone is a pretty amazing device (Levi’s 3-year old big-brother Judah can navigate an iPad better than many adults I know…a testament to iOS genius).

But as much as Levi is utterly convinced he needs to touch an iPhone, the reality is that it’s one of the last things he needs. (Heck, it’s probably the last thing I need! It’s 4:30am and I can’t sleep, so what am I doing? Thumb-typing this on my iPhone in bed).

No matter how bad our personal turmoil, no matter how badly we desire something, remember that you and I suffer from what I call “firstworlditis” – to play off the Greek suffix -itis, which means to suffer from a disease associated with, in my case, the First World. It’s a condition that affects, well, everyone I’ve met personally who lives in a First World nation.

The main symptom is an overt and seemingly nearsighted compulsion to voice disdain for what we don’t have in light of all that we already do have.

Essentially, we’re spoiled brats.

Forget that our toilet water is more drinkable that most human water supplies on the planet.

Forget that the average square footage of the First World home is palatial by comparison.

And forget that earning a mere $1,200 USD a year puts you in the top half of wage earners in the world.

Lost loved ones? My heart goes out to you. Yet welcome to the infinitesimal emotion shared by those who’ve endured genocide in Africa or Asia.

What really bends us out of shape is the hot water heater breaking, the clothing store not honoring the gift card, Starbucks messing up our drink, the fast food fries being cooked in old oil, having to pay for that unexpected vehicle repair, our spouse needing the car, a stain on our new cotton shirt, the lawn mower not starting, the kids scratching the flat screen TV, our sports team loosing by three, the store ran out of wings, and don’t I deserve to just come home for once and no one ask me any questions?

If you or I have any problems at all, I don’t doubt the very real emotions or frustrations we experience…

…just so long as we keep in mind that they are First World problems, because that’s exactly how God sees them too.

“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

Genesis 12:2

Take your momentary affliction in stride today, and deliberately, intentionally look how you can bless someone around you with what you’ve been blessed with. You’ll honor The Lord as well as your position of privilege more than you can imagine…and take a giant step away from being a spoiled brat like me.

ch:

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  • http://www.crmooney.com mooney

    I am reading this while at Starbucks waiting for a friend. Thanfully they got my salted carmel mocha correct, and even to my desired lower temperature so it doen’t burn my mouth. I’m such a sissy about ot (temperatured) food.

    This is spot on. I was just complaining last night that the heat isnt working correctly in my room and that we need to replace a toilet. Minor things in light of the plights of those less fortunate.

    It’s about keeping Godly perspective and thanking God for opportunities to reflect his character. And our reponsibility to serve those below and above our position.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      It’s about keeping Godly perspective and thanking God for opportunities to reflect his character.

      The more and more I live, the more I realize gratefulness is a true key to both success in life and happiness.

  • Kirk Gilchrist

    Great great great! I agree with every sentence!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks Kirk. Appreciate the feedback. Learned much of this from you over the years.

  • Peter Thomas Allen

    So true. Well said!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks Peter. Grateful for the encouragement.

  • Alyssa Hennessy

    Exactly what I needed to hear today, and almost everyday! I love that you could come up with the word palatial at 4:30 am.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I love that you could come up with the word palatial at 4:30 am.

      It’s one of my spiritual gifts. But I only get to use it once a year or else everyone would get tired of me overusing it.

  • reenie

    This has James written all over it :) Good word! I Agree….. “X ” gets the square lol

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Oooo – nice classic game show reference! Ten points to Reenie!

  • http://christiandfahey.wordpress.com/ Christian Fahey

    Perspective. It has a healing quality to it. Good post Christopher.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Well said. Repositioning our view requires first a repositioning of the body from which we see, best accomplished when we move to a higher plain, and subsequently begets healing by proximity to the divine.

  • Susie Cook

    Love it PH!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      PH – that’s new. ;)

  • jean viaud murat

    1 Timothy 6:6
    But godliness with contentment is great gain.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Well quoted!

  • Jason Clement

    Yeah, yeah… all well and good, but try typing this article from the comfort of your bed when YOUR IPHONE ISN’T WORKING ANYMORE!!!! *sigh* ;)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Wait, wait…you type articles from your bed? Is that the point?

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      (BAHAHAHAHA!!!)

  • AnneMarie

    It is a very long and exhausting process to teach my children the difference between the words NEED and WANT. They seem to believe they are synonymous! NOT. The problem with entitlement is that it becomes an incurable disease. It’ll kill your joy because it’s like quicksand. It sucks you down.
    This “I DESERVE it” it attitude is like a plague. “What we all deserve is death, hell and the grave”, as a friend/pastor in CA used to say.
    I like to quote the very famous Mme Blueberry
    “a thankful heart is a happy heart”

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I so agree with the CA pastor there.

      I think the reason it’s such a monster is because saying “no” to what we so adamantly believe we’re entitled to is a direct, deliberate assault on self. No wonder self hates it so vehemently!

  • Anna E

    LOVED this!!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      So glad; thanks Anna.