What is the “Real Thing?”

When I was a kid Coca Cola had an ad campaign talking about Coke being “The Real Thing.”

coca-cola_the-real-thing-vintage-poster

Our culture is said to be focused on ourselves.  It is also focused on external material things. We all have a lot of wants.

Me? I want a high powered, tight cornering Z28 Camaro convertible and a lake front condo.

I’ve owned a lot of cars and a lot of houses in my life, and I’ve learned they don’t satisfy my wants for very long. Even though they have not satisfied me do I still want things? You bet!

I deal with my wants each day.  It is hard work.  It is easy to get caught up in a mindset of wants.

Companies sell to our wants.  Credit card companies inundate young college students with offers of credit.  They know these young people are figuring out how to be independent and they are exposed to more sales media than any other group.  We often want the latest cell phone or shoes.  Car companies have taught us for years that we can be a certain type of person if we buy a certain kind of car.  Cigarette companies used to romanticize smokers as someone who was sexy or powerful and the liqueur companies do that today.  Magazines purport a certain body shape as more appealing. Many people spend lots of money getting higher educations in hopes to get certain kinds of jobs to earn certain authority and respect.  Vacations to interesting places are important in our culture and we like to be entertained at a concert or sports event.  Even thought these things appear to be material I think they are relational.  They have to do with our status and value compared to others and we want to fit in.

We all want to fit in somewhere!  It feels good to fit in. Who wants to be on the outside all the time?  I believe we were made to be social and not isolated, but our human nature has taken and turned that natural need into a commercialized exchange that tends to leave people empty.  Or hungry for more?

When I get that thing I wanted I do enjoy it most of the time.  But then I want something new again.  I don’t often find myself satisfied.  It doesn’t end up being the “real thing” for me.

Even knowing they aren’t the real thing, I want new things anyway.  Right now I want many things at the same time.  I have short term things like what is for lunch or a special event on the weekend.  I have long term wants like a reasonable sized retirement fund and a nice place for my old age.  (The lake front condo.)  I have medium wants like that Camaro Convertible.  A trip to Alaska.  A healthy body.  The solution to a problem.  Hopes for each of my kids…

Here is what I believe to to be one key.  We must become aware of why we want what we want. That is the first step.  Awareness! What is the REAL THING?  Becoming fully aware or conscious is not done overnight and it needs continual effort.  To be aware all the time is impossible.  But I must become more aware and aware more often in order to find what the “real thing” is in my life.

When I become more aware of what I am doing I can decide who I am for myself and not for others.  I am more aware when I notice if the media, my friends, my family, popular personalities, and even my enemies are informing my wants.

I feel my best when I am most aware of myself, my failures, my truth, my talents.  I feel my best when I quit letting others make their ideas of happiness my ideas of happiness.   I feel my best when I focus on the good things that are the real thing!  For me, I do best when I remember two verses in Philippians.

Philippians 4:8-9

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Awareness starts with you and a desire to know what is real and then asking someone to help you figure it out. You can’t do it alone.  It takes someone of integrity to come along side you. If you want to become truly aware on your own or in secret then you may become more aware, but you won’t reach your full potential.  We are made for relationships and not isolation!

So what is the Real thing for you?   What will you do to find your real thing?

I’d enjoy hearing your comments!