Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First World Problems

Right now, we live in a town and are still connected to the rest of the world through the internet. It is sort of strange in a way to learn of all the news and events going on in my home country and culture, but have to process them here in this new and very different culture. It gives me a weird perspective.

So my facebook wall this week is blown up by Chick-fil-a. Which I immediately resent because I would really love to eat some Chick-fil-a and I have to watch everyone else doing it. But I decided to read all about what the big deal is, and I get it. Chick-fil-a is attacked because the founder happens to be a Christian and happens to see marriage from a Biblical worldview. Chick-fil-a never mistreated a gay person or even got involved politically or financially in the gay marriage debate. Basically they were attacked for no reason. That is pretty crappy.

Then you have Christians saying that all this support of Chick-fil-a isn't really doing anything. It isn't helping any causes or bringing the Gospel to anyone. It is just perpetuating more division. I get that too. These same people are astonished at how many people are rallying behind Chick-fil-a when you can't get this many people to rally for bigger issues or real problems. To that I say, "Really? It surprises you that a lot of people will "stand up" for what they believe in when all they have to do is sacrifice an hour in their air conditioned cars in the drive through. Or stand in line at a fast food restaurant that serves delicious food with excellent service?"

It is easy to take action when that action causes very little sacrifice and in the end benefits you as well.

I am not judging or condemning. I am just processing. I would totally support Chick-fil-a. When I lived in America I patroned their establishment quite frequently because of their great food and excellent service. I was a mom by myself while my husband was working, carrying an infant in a car seat, holding the hand of my two year old, and constantly calling for my 4 year old to stay right beside me. And a nice employee of Chick-fil-a would always carry my food to my table, help me get my kids in their seats and then bring them balloons! And when I offered tips, they always said, "No, it was my pleasure."

Um, are you kidding me? It was your pleasure? It was not even my pleasure and they are my kids! That is customer service and that is one of the many reasons why everyone should go to Chick-fil-a. Even if you are a gay couple with adopted kids. Seriously, go to Chick-fil-a! They will carry your food to your table for you and give your kids balloons!

That is the American filter processing this event. The new filter I have- the one that sees people dig through my garbage and watches as kids die of curable diseases processes it a little differently. It makes me realize how unfair the world is. That some people are mad because of what some guy thinks, so they are going to stop spending their money to eat his chicken nuggets and go to the restaurant right next door to buy someone else's chicken nuggets.  And here a chicken nugget is what you get when a guy kills one chicken to feed an entire village. For a special occasion. You can't just eat valuable chickens for no reason.

It just opens my eyes to First World Problems.  These are "problems" to us wealthy westerners, but seem ridiculous to the outside world. I recently read another blog about first world problems and the writers had people write in their very own problems to contribute. My favorite was, "The Starbucks drive thru is too small for my Yukon XL to fit through so I have to walk into the store." Funny. 

The weird thing is that I STILL have first world problems while living in a third world country. It is just way more in my face and convicting, but as much as I have changed my lifestyle to become a missionary to some of the most remote people in the world, I still live a cushy nerf life compared to my neighbors. You can take the girl out of the developed world, but you cannot take the developed world out of the girl.

Anyway, I thought I would share some of my personal first world problems here juxtaposed to my neighbors problems, just so you would know for sure that I am not judging or preaching on this post...again, just processing.

My First World Problems:

I have to wash way too many dishes, and do not have a dishwasher. My neighbors only have one pot, one spoon, and possibly one plate. 

I have to cook everything from scratch. For me that means starting with opening a bag of flour. My neighbors have to plant, grow, harvest and then cook everything from scratch.

Food here is really expensive, so I cannot afford *some* luxuries. Food here is expensive, so my neighbors cannot afford any of it. At all. 

The rats ate holes in my packages sent from America. Now, I don't get to eat that tasty chocolate that my best friend sent me. Rats ate chunks out of my neighbors feet last night when they were sleeping. Their feet are so calloused from not having shoes that they didn't even wake up. 

When I move into the tribe, if my kid gets really sick, I have to pay $5,000 to fly her out to a doctor. If my neighbor's kid gets sick, she dies.

Like I said, I have no idea what to do with all this most of the time. I have no idea why America is so rich and most of the rest of the world so poor. I have no idea why even though I live a meager minimalist lifestyle compared to most of my American friends, I still look like Donald Trump to my Papua New Guinea friends.

I know my wealth gets in the way of my ministry sometimes, but everyone tells me its ok, and that we are sacrificing enough. That we need a certain standard of living to make it out here. To be effective in ministry. To keep us from "burning out" so we don't go home. But is it true? Or is it just an excuse?

I have no idea. And I probably never will.

But at least we are recognizing the ridiculousness of some of our "problems" so I guess that is a step in the right direction.

So, what are your First World Problems?


  1. My parents live with us and we don't have enough space in our driveway to park all 5 cars for 4 adults. We don't have enough space in our inside refrigerator to hold all of the food, so I have to walk back and forth between the house and the detached garage (where the other fridge is) while cooking diner. Also, (and you'll love this one) they were out of Reece's peanut butter at Kroger, so I have nothing to dip my Dove dark chocolate in.
    Yes, we are a whining, selfish bunch, for sure. Clearly, I will not be complaining about the above mentioned irritants anymore. (Our certainly, not as often our with must passion!)As usual, your blog is a ministry and a blessing in itself! Keep them coming!

  2. My family and I are in Thailand and our problem is the price of imported toys for our kids. Legos are 3 times the amount they are in the States! Sheesh!

    Great article and awesome perspective by the way.

    1. Jared, awesome! Our toys here are all weird and cheap (meaning they fall apart) but are still expensive. We have to order toys from the US! Ha!

  3. Oh, I just love your thinking. I don't know if I am just an oddball, but I feel like such a killjoy sometimes when watching the superbowl or macy's parade or olympic opener and think about the money dumped into it and who could be helped. Sometimes I think people get tired of hearing me on facebook encouraging them to step out of their comfort. Thank you for this!

  4. My first world problems. I don't want to jinx myself, but I don't have any. Well, I did miss the UPS man delivering my most recent Mary Kay inventory order because I had Mary Kay appointments where I sold products. It's all good but now I have to wait in my air conditioning until it comes tomorrow. Which BTW I have 5 facials left today and one for tomorrow. Facials generally mean sales. Thanks for praying for my MK business! God is busy keeping me busy. I love your blog. You are a gifted writer. The mom in me wants to fly to PNG and serve God by making your life happier. Instead I have to settle for praying for y'all. Which I do on a regular basis. The end.

  5. My first world problem......I need to be in PNG. I am a disabled widow on a fixed income and in the first world I don't show up. No one knows that I have few pots and few plates of that I eat only one meal a day. (crackers and cream,Bread and Butter.
    Not only can I not keep up with the Jones's I have no chance of even meeting them.
    If I could only be in a place like PNG I would be percieved to be somewhat wealty but the twist would be that what little I have could be shared. Someone there might be interested and blessed by it. After all....I really only need one pot and one plate.

    1. Anonymous,
      In this country, no one should be going hungry. You have access to a computer. Type this in your search line:
      free food [your city] help
      See what comes up. You should find plenty of access to food pantries, shelters, and services.
      God bless you, I pray that your situation improves and that you get the help that you need.

  6. I just read this blog from a friend's FB post, and it struck a chord with me. Just tonight at dinner my husband and I were talking about first world problems. It came up as he was getting frustrated with his cell phone as he was trying to text someone. Since one of my friends brought this phrase to my attention this summer, I have realized how many of our problems are first world. It is a very fresh perspective, and challenges me almost daily now. I have been dealing with a health issue this year, and even that has convicted me, for in a first world situation, I probably would have died from infection a long time ago. God bless you in your life and family as you follow the Great Commission in PNG!