Article written for The Grip:
I recently read this Theodore Roosevelt quote on Pinterest, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Isn’t it though? And, keeping up with the Joneses seems so much more exasperating with the access of social networks like Twitter and Facebook. We look at their beautiful home. Her beautiful children. Their extravagant vacation. His new car. She really seems to have it all together. How do things always fall into place so perfectly for them? How did their kids get so perfect? Why can’t I be that kind of mother? Dang, their life is so much more glamorous than mine!
We look at our own lives and wish we had theirs.
I’ve done it on different levels before. I can remember reading another writer’s blog once and suddenly feeling very inadequate as a writer. She was just good. Really good. And, funny. Man, if I could come up with the funny one-liners like she does. How does she do that?
Then there is the girl who is always disciplined to eat the right foods and go to the gym. I’m not going to lie. I have coveted another girl’s disciplined habits and six pack abs before. But clearly, I love Junior Mints more than I love impressive abdominal muscles.
Don’t we often want what we don’t have? If only I had her sense of style. If only I had an eye for decorating my house like she does. If only I had a job like his. If only I had a personality like hers. If only, if only.
We can’t trade places with any of the people we envy. And, you know what? It wouldn’t fix us if we could. Then, we would simply take on a new set of problems. A new set of difficult circumstances. A new set of struggles. And, the truth is, everything isn’t always as perfect as it seems. None of us really know the struggles of another.
Comparison robs us of contentment. It robs us of joy. The solution is a better understanding of who we are in Him. It’s gaining a proper perspective of our own life. Not too long ago I had let a little resentment set in when I said, “I haven’t had a full 24 hours away from my children in nearly seven months.” I gained perspective when I did a heart check. My new perspective became, “I haven’t missed a day with my children in nearly seven months.”
Perspective changes everything. So, does giving up our right to say “it isn’t fair.” Because, we really lose the right to say, “it isn’t fair” until we have suffered on the cross as much as Christ suffered. When my good friend, Cindy Beall, was asked to respond to God not being fair once, she replied, “I’m glad He isn’t. I need His mercy.”
I may never be as creative a writer as some, but I will do my best to hear God and pen His words when I do write. I may never be able to pick out the perfect draperies like my friend. But, I can be thankful I have a friend who can help me. I may never have perfect children. But, I can thank God He sees them that way.
And, I thank God that He sees you and I that way. Perfect. Blameless. Without guilt. Because, when He looks at us, He sees us through the blood of His Son. Who paid a price that really wasn’t His to pay. Now, that wasn’t fair.
Let gratitude and perspective fill you today and every day. Let the knowledge that YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe bring you peace. Know He is always working ALL things for your good. And, rest in this truth:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11