By Lia Huynh
I’ve been trying to keep to my exercise routine and while I’m on the treadmill, I’ve been watching a lot of reality shows lately like “‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.” Time flies when you’re with the Kardashian sisters. However, as useful as those shows are for keeping my attention to keep my physical health in shape, I have to admit that it hasn’t been good for my spiritual health. It’s all so alluring — money, fame, wearing a size 0 thanks to lipo, spending your day modeling, playing with your cute daughters, then handing them off to your assistant who takes them to the beach for the day.
Now I don’t want to put all the blame on TV. Although inside I know that true joy comes from being in relationship with Him, with others, and by doing His work and thriving in who He created us to be, I still struggle to be content. I purposely decided to work part-time because I wanted to be home with my daughter more. I purposely married a pastor because I loved the idea of sharing my passion for ministry — I couldn’t imagine any other kind of partnership (and still can’t). And yet both those two things combined — my part-time work and my husband’s pastor’s salary, as you can guess, add up to a less-than-“fabulous” lifestyle. If you look at our house, our cars, it can look pretty plain next to Kim Kardashian‘s jetsetting life. I often wondered if I should join these people and start working harder and making more money.
After all, that’s what everyone is doing. Not only celebrities, but people in the church, too. “God wants us to make lots of money so we can be generous!” This is definitely true. God bless godly people who are rich! I’ve seen so many wealthy people do awesome things for the Lord, some of which I personally have benefited from. However, for me personally, I knew it was an issue that needed to be examined more closely.
I remember in the 6th grade seriously pondering the meaning of life, and I actually went around asking my classmates. I remember they said stuff like, “get rich” or “have sex” (typical middle school guy!) or “become a movie star.” I remember that in my mind, the meaning of life was to find love. Maybe I was just boy crazy, which I think I was. But I think I was definitely on to something.
After I accepted Christ in the 11th grade, I learned that true love came from a man who loved us enough to die on the cross for our sins. I learned through a Bible study in college that the more you have, the more you want, but that nothing will ever satisfy us except Him. I learned in my 20’s that I wanted to be loved unconditionally for who I am, not be famous for what I do. I learned in my 30’s that changing poopy diapers and watching Elyse go up and down the slide for the 50th time and wiping her boogers is not glamorous, but at the end of the day, while anyone can replace me in my job, no one can truly replace me as a mother. I learned that I may have a husband who is not the most intelligent or rich, but he listens when I talk about my day, lets me eat his last bite of guacamole, and still opens the car door for me.
I came to see that the reason why I’m always wanting more is not even because I crave nice things. For me, I just wanted to keep up with everyone else — especially apparently, the Kardashians, but honestly — my friends, my family, and even other pastors’ families. I came to see what a trap this is, no matter who you are, or how rich or famous you are. I repented before the Lord, and realized that the true task is not having what you want, but wanting what you have. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” has been the verse of my heart lately, as I know that the Lord has provided me a “fabulous” life already. Eat your heart out, Kim K!
Lia Huynh is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice and Founder of Milpitas Christian Therapy, located in the San Jose, CA area. Lia has a BA in Psychology and a minor in Asian American Studies from UCLA and a Masters degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and School Guidance Counseling. She is also a former youth minister, current pastor’s wife and mommy to daughter, Elyse.