“Did you find everything you needed today?”

I am grateful for your question; however, I have lost an afternoon rummaging the endless aisles filled with stuff I don’t need and getting stressed out that I am wasting precious time I would like to spend with my family.

This happens almost every time I go to Walmart. Our Walmart is big enough to be a village. I’ve been around the world, and some ancient villages really would have fit in Walmart.

Yesterday I got misdirected a couple of times but ended up finding the party section: 5 aisles of cards, hats, dishes, decorations, and everything else you could possibly imagine.

 I was feeling pretty good about myself because I had a bunch of kids’ birthday parties coming up and I was stocking up on everything. 

I was also thinking in advance at the party aisle. A mom next to me was also stockpiling stuff for next Halloween. I suppose foresight is a matter of perspective.

Ultimately I found the candles and found myself having to sort through sparklers, superheroes, animals, and trick candles to get what I was looking for: regular, regular birthday candles.

So I always smirk when I get to the checkout and they ask, “Did you get everything you wanted today?”

Yes, I did. My heels hurt. I wasted a lot of time. I sent my husband dozens of texts explaining why the job was taking so long.

Although I may have found everything I needed at the larger store, I may have to try a smaller one, but then I run the risk of not finding what I need and having to go somewhere else to piece my shopping list together.

 So I revert back to the stores that have it all.

Apparently, this is an illusion, as you cannot have “it all” in a single store or in life itself.

I may be reassured that I won’t have to run to the store or change my menu, but I always end up losing something else that’s just as precious to me.

In seeking safety and comfort in a place that has everything, I find it very hard to find what I actually need in the end and lose peace of mind in the process.

Wow. That seems familiar. Maybe because it’s not just a Walmart story. It’s the story of my life.

I don’t think I’m the only person who sometimes feels “empty”. I look to Live for what I need. And Life has given me a lot – my family, friends, cozy home, and worthwhile job.

Then there’s life’s other things: the temptation to think I’m not a good mom unless I have a perfect house and raise my kids to heaven; the desire to buy more than I need hoping it brings greater security; the pressure to do too much.

When a child gets overstimulated or overloaded with sensory input, there is a sudden onset of crying or throwing tantrums. And nobody is surprised to see that. 

We know what’s happening. We try to help our child calm down, and we prevent overstimulation.

We don’t realize that sometimes, what we feel as emptiness can be the result of adult sensory overload. 

There are too many choices, challenges, events, activities, causes… we are left exhausted trying to handle it all and juggle it all. This is no longer just a kid problem. This is an adult problem too.

St. Augustine once said, “Our hearts are restless Lord, until they rest in you. That’s more than just a poetic statement. It’s simple truth. Our hearts are made for God. 

It’s time to stop trying to fill our emptiness with things other than God and start filling it with him. His son died for us. That’s how seriously he wants to fill our hearts.

Life isn’t supposed to give us everything. It can be hard to find what we really need if we expect too much from life and get involved in too many things.

We might be unable to get the world around us to slow down. But we can decide to let go of the many things we don’t need and prioritize the things we do need.

I prioritize God, my husband, and my kids, and then everything else. Of course, I often fail at the “everything else” category. But that’s okay. At the end of the day, I might not have it all, but I do have what really matters to me.

I hope you feel the same way.