“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” ~Proverbs 4:23
The snare of compare. I think it’s easy to say that at some point in our life we all have been guilty of comparing ourselves with others especially when life is not going our way. I know for me as I’ve been home and bed bound, I have to guard what goes into my mind even more so. For example, I limit my time on Facebook and Instagram. By nature I am a social person and enjoy visiting friends and traveling, and I would love to be able to go on vacation this summer because I have not been on one in years. However, due to my finances and sickness, it probably won’t happen for a while. In my weaker moments when I see pictures of people vacationing with wonderful scenery and good food, I have to check my heart because my flesh is envious. Sometimes I think, “God, why can’t I do something fun and relaxing like that. ” For you, you may be trying to conceive but God has still not allowed you to be pregnant, and if you see one more pregnancy announcement on Facebook you might explode. Or for you single ladies (me included), you’ve waited and prayed for a Godly spouse and are in your 30s with no prospects, but you witness wedding after wedding and attend engagement parties while feeling a bit sad or jealous on the inside. Also, after working hard in your job, the desired promotion was given to someone else, and your house does not meet the expectations of Joanna Gaines. Every time you see Fixer Upper you become discontent with the house God has provided because it is not big or fancy enough.
As you are reading this, I’m sure you could add many more examples to the list but these are the ones I first thought of. I have had many talks with my girlfriends about this very topic so I know these are real struggles for folks. Having these desires and goals are not bad. In fact, God delights in each of these desires, and we should rejoice with our loved ones and friends when God blesses them in these areas. However, the problem comes in when you allow your situation or trial to consume and overwhelm you. In turn this allows discontentment, jealousy, worry, and anger to take root and what flows out of your heart from them is not pleasing to the Lord. The sinful actions that come from these emotions are not from God.
Over the years I have learned that what you think is the perfect life is not. Social media makes it super easy to paint a picture of the ideal life. Design apps make it easy for our pictures to look perfect. All we need to do is choose the right filter, but in reality everyone has struggles. We may see the pictures on a Facebook or Instagram, but we don’t see the life that happened before and after the picture was taken. I can assure you that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Because I’ve been physically sick for so long, and limited in my location — in order to keep contentment and peace of mind and heart, I am very selective in what I read, watch, or listen to. If anything I do reminds me what my life is lacking and stirs up discontent then I don’t need to do it. Right now life is hard enough without adding discontentment and bitterness in the mix. My days can be long and limited but constantly dwelling on things I want but do not have, and living in the land of what-ifs is not helpful or glorifying to God. When I start feeling this way I read the Word and pray which helps my perspective and allows joy to flow out of the heart. Just like the verse mentioned above from Proverbs 4:23 states, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
So compare no more and live in peace with the life and gifts God has blessed you with. Share those gifts with others and see how the Lord is glorified when the focus is off of self! I’m cheering you on. Have a great week!