Be Decent

Alrighty, I'm back on track with my series on personal values. If you're playing catch up, so far I've discussed honesty, kindness, sharing and giving dignity. The purpose of this series is to talk about all the things I am working towards, rather than just telling you what I'm not doing in this season of my life (going to church). Spiritual growth is not always about taking things away but about adding in things as well. While I was taught these things to take away or add in were specific behaviors, I'm learning now to focus on developing a personal set of values instead. These are the things I value (as opposed to the evangelical focus on "not sinning"), the things I strive to live into. I do not anticipate "arriving" at these as if they are static destinations but instead, these are things I hope to access when I need to have or be them. 
Today I'd like to talk about human decency. I briefly mentioned the concept of scarcity in my post about feeling frozen in this weird season of stay-at-home parenting and I think it plays into this idea of decency. As Americans (though this is definitely also a general human thing) we have some sort of deep seated fear in not having enough, not being enough, not doing enough, etc. We also have a subconscious belief that everything is in limited quantity, so you better "get yours" before someone else does. This fear is what causes us to compete with others. This fear is what keeps us working well past a normal amount of time per week and with very little time off per year (we work way more than other developed countries). This is why we are constantly buying stuff when we have garages full of stuff we're not using. This is why we like the idea of "starter homes". 
There are some very serious consequences to this kind of life. We consume because we don't know how to be content, to sit still, to accept that we are enough, have enough and will continue to be enough. This level of consumption is detrimental to the world around us. We consume WAY MORE than our share of energy and water, in such a disproportionate amount based on our population in comparison to other countries. We actively contribute to the sweat shops in China and other countries because we just cannot get enough. People die because of our fear of scarcity.  We have a ton of debt. We have high incidences of anxiety, depression, stress-related diseases. We eat more than our share and are unhealthy because of it. We add chemicals to our food so we can make more and more and more. This is making us sicker. We claim to be be the "land of the free" but I think this lifestyle of more, more, more makes us more in bondage than we're willing to admit. It's so incredibly stressful to live this way. 
I believe decency is the answer to this problem. Let's begin taking only what we actually need, leaving more for our neighbors and for the world at large. This includes eating the food we buy at the grocery store before it goes bad, wearing our clothes until they are worn or giving them to someone rather than throwing them away. Let's start buying used items, so we stop making everything new, when we have so many of them already made that are just gathering dust or filling our land fills. Let's live under budget so we can rest peacefully at night. Let's enjoy food to the fullest, but stop eating when we get full. 
We don't need to keep taking more than we need. I struggle to talk about this because it feels like I'm saying we should take less than we need and I am not at all saying that. If your family qualifies for government assistance, I think you should take it. If your job offers you a raise, enjoy the extra money. Eat good food and enjoy a glass of wine. I'm not talking about not enjoying ourselves. I'm talking about not being so damn greedy, with no regard for how our consumption affects others (don't even get me started on our how sexual addictions lead to the trafficking of kids and adults).
Take what you need. Enjoy the bounty. We are privileged and that's okay. But be decent in the process.