Fighting the Wants

The last few weekends I’ve traveled with my husband, and if you’re like me, when you travel, you pick up and read lots of magazines.

I do love to read magazines to get ideas, be inspired, dream … see what’s “new.”

As long as I don’t get caught up in the “wants.”

We walk into Pier 1 or Home Goods or TJ Maxx … it’s fun to browse, but do the “wants” come over you?

They do me.

Just one more set of dishes, cloth napkins, new picture on the wall, outdoor furniture, new pillows … another white bowl … beautiful table cloths … runners …

The list goes on and on for me.

“You are in the prison cell of “wants” if you feel better when you have more and worse when you have less,” says Max Lucado (inspirational writer).

“If your happiness comes from something you deposit, drive, drink or digest, then face it–you are in prison, the prison of want.”

Many times I’ve filled my basket, only to remove most of what I’ve added because I ask myself, “Do I really need this?”

Learning to be content. I wrote about it, here.

Discontentment is really an ugly way to live.

I wish learning to be content was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it seems to be a lesson that we learn over and over again.

What will I have from being content and not always “wanting more?”A deeper marriage, more time with the family, valuing “who’s coming for dinner” over “how it all looks when they come for dinner,” joy and peace. And self-respect when I learn to say no.

It just feels good to have some sort of self-discipline.



Do you have a hard time saying no to your wants, or how do you keep them under control?

24 comments on “Fighting the Wants”

  1. I often times put things back after carrying them around the store. Right now its bigger items on my list, We”ve lived in this house 17 years now, and the appliances are going bad, we need a new bed, new carpet, the list goes on, New sliding door because its rotting. So its bigger ticket items. This summer the door is a must. I am trying to stay away from cluttery things because my house is so overcrowded right now .
    Thought provoking post, makes us think! Thank you!

  2. your comment is almost the same of my story. Just my flight was $800 because I got to make a stop in Colombia, so I had the chance to explore two incredibly beautiful and different countries.

  3. I did give in to my wants for well over a year during which time a lot of major life happenings occured. Buying what I wanted made me feel good for a while but not long and I finally realized that those things I want, that I feel I need, really were not the keep to happiness and now work hard to NOT give in to the wants. I sometimes do fill my cart during some online shopping and then either empty the whole thing or just close down the shopping site. As you said, it is not a once in a lifetime change, it is gradual and something to work on when the ‘wants’ rears their ugly head.

  4. I do that so often with the shopping basket. I fill it up, it feels good for a sec, then I look down and ask Do I REAAALLLLY want or need this? I almost always put it back.

    I really try to keep the wants in check. Great post Sandy

  5. Even with thrift store items that are cheaper, I just get tired of having stuff.

  6. I find it so much easier when I don’t expose myself to the “new things” at the mall. Thanks that you’ve shared.

  7. Wow! I do struggle with this. Actually it’s more of a tug-of-war between want and not wanting to spend uselessly. And if I’m completely honest, I have an addiction to magazines. It’s only $4 and I buy it. I don’t need it and it feeds my wants. Such a great post and honest.

  8. I have a hard time saying “no” to food wants…for sure. Non-food things are easier for me to decline…but “food” that is a want and not a need…that’s another story :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :) :)

  9. I agree that contentment can be a constant battle for me, too. I find it so much easier when I don’t expose myself to the “new things” at the mall. I just stay home! Even with thrift store items that are cheaper, I just get tired of having stuff. All the stuff means more to take care of and I want to have experience and memories and not so much stuff. Thanks for making me think about this more today.

  10. I’vebeen thinking about this a lot lately. A friend whose husband recently died told about their wedding, with just the pastor and one other couple. We paid for our 2 daughters’ weddings (in 2 months!) 5 years ago for $5000, which apparently was really cheap! I hear about $25,000 weddings, and parents taking out loans. and there are so many other things that we allow society and our culture to tell us is “normal” , like salon nails, dyed hair, iPhones for ur kids, multiple cars and TVs, etc…. A generation ago these were not the norm, and I don’t know that we are better off now with all our stuff.

  11. You’re story reminded me of my trip to Chile a few years ago. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit my brother who was studying abroad. The airfare was $1,000 alone!

    There I was immersed in another culture, eating wonderfully whole foods, seeing gorgeous scenery and listening to people speaking the beautiful Spanish langage, totally immersed in the beauty of a foreign land and its people. An opportunity few get to have.

    And all I could do was wish my living room looked as awesome as his host mom’s. Isn’t that sad? I’m in the midst of an amazing opportunity – and I still wanted more!! So sad!!!

  12. You are so right. It’s a struggle. Maybe not everyday. I feel like I’m soooooooo much more contented than I can ever remember. But, sometimes, out of the blue that great big ugly monster called ‘want’ rears his ugly head and I need to wrestle him into submission. Right now sugar is my ugly monster…..and we are having quite a wrestling match. And I’m learning a lot about myself. Food used to be an area of easy discipline for me. Not so much now. Seems we’re always in the class of character development.

  13. Hi Sandy,

    What a wonderful post!

    So many of us struggle with the wants. It seems like it’s human nature. Maybe we are made this way. Problem is, so many times we “want” the wrong things. It is a daily struggle but I love how you emphasized that bringing ourselves back to focusing on wanting stronger marriages, more time with family, etc. is the best way to direct our “wants”.

    The other day, I was in a neighboring town where a store called Home Goods had just opened. I have never been in one but I can only imagine what they sell (more stuff for the home!) I was horrified to see that there was a line around the block to get in!!! Do we all really need more stuff? Most of us live very comfortably and have what we need. Do we really need – as you so eloquently pointed out – another white bowl? LOL!!! For heavens sake…probably not!

    I have my weaknesses…more cookbooks and food. But I am working hard at addressing both. After reading this, I am putting a self-imposed moratorium on myself to not bring anymore cookbooks into my home!!! I am out of control and need and intervention. LOL!!! And on a more serious note…the food…(as you quoted…”If your happiness comes from something you deposit, drive, drink or digest, then face it-you are in prison, the prison of want.”) that quote really hit home with me … I am working very hard on that. I started a weigh loss group at my church about 3 weeks ago. It’s a challenge but I am determined. I’ll keep you posted. :-)

    As always, thanks so much for all the wonderful info you share!


  14. So well said. It’s a daily thing we’re up against with all the wants, but life is so much better when we’re grateful and content with all that we really do have.

  15. Ugh! Your timing couldn’t have been better! With a toddler in the house and a baby on the way we’re feeling the squeeze and wanting more space and struggling to decide if we NEED to really move up into something bigger or if it’s simply a WANT—–and of course the day to day wants, wanting to switch out decor in a room, wanting a little getaway, wanting a cute top even though I have a million that I don’t wear. Ugh.

    When I can get rational I know I focus on wants too much, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the things I want and not realize how trivial they usually are.

  16. My MIL has a saying of what difference will this make in 100 years and I often think about that. I struggle with the balance of pushing myself and being content with where I am. Great post Sandy!

  17. The first thing I saw was the picture of the striped chair and thought, “I want to go there!” Yikes.

    I struggle with the wants a lot. I read lots of home improvement blogs and if I’m not careful I can let my discontentment take over pretty easily. I can usually pacify myself with the knowledge that when we have a little more disposable income, thanks to pinterest and all the pins that I have pinned, I will be ready!

    One thing I think that I am doing right though, is that I am teaching my kids the difference between wants and needs. My two year old even knows when he says, “I need that!” The next thing I am going to ask him is, “Is that a want or a need?” He is very good a deciphering all ready.

  18. I find myself going there sometimes—the want store =)
    I started a little something many years ago when I had small children that helped me with this.
    “If something comes in something goes out.” I try to keep that rule. I try to have a plan as to avoid debt and living within my means….also always pay with cash…it hurts more that way. =)
    Great post.

  19. My biggest struggle with the “wants” is food. If I “want” something – chocolate, sweets, breads, I have a hard time resisting. Other than that, I stay away from the stores when I’m feeling I’m in need of some retail therapy. Of course, yesterday I spent the day thrifting and found all sorts of things I wanted.

  20. My best defense for the Wants is to stay out of the stores. I don’t visit many online places to buy either so that helps. I need to shuffle stuff out instead of bringing more in.


  21. Bingo! This post could have been written by me! I find that I say the same thing “I love this, but do I NEED this. Most often the answer is no, I don’t, but I have to admit, my weakness is shopping for the outdoors and garden. I find it really hard to say No, but I do!

  22. I think I struggle with “the wants” more than anything. Our budget is small enough that most of my wants must be curbed, but that desire is still there. It’s definitely an ongoing process.

  23. Wait. I simply wait before buying most things because I hate wasting money, building up clutter, and having to move it every few years. We also have a budget which helps me not to have impulse buys. If I find I’m getting to “want-y,” I sometimes have to stop putting those things before my eyes until I can get the right perspective again.

  24. oooh this is hard one for sure! particularly when I’m trying to balance furnishing a home for the first time :) i’ve learned to take a few weeks after i’ve ‘wanted’ something to see if I still want it and if we really need it. a new ottoman for the living room? our current situation is working just fine :) some backyard furniture so we can entertain and a grill for outdoor cooking which we will enjoy and use all the time, particularly with company? – that’s probably going to happen soon.

    great reminder :)

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