I'm not sure where this post is heading, but I feel compelled to write about this topic. I am not a gifted writer. I only try to express what my heart feels. So, here goes....
I was on the phone the other day with one of my many sweet friends that God has blessed me with, Robin. We were talking about life, and she shared these words with me.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
I want you to take a minute to ponder those words. What do they mean to you? How do they apply to your life?
Those words have played over and over in my head for days. Do you compare yourself to others? The things they have that you don't, but wish you did? The house they live in; the car they drive; the job, money and success they've achieved; the spouse they've chosen; the clothes/shoes they wear that you can't afford; the 'extra' things they have, ie. boat, nice television, latest entertainment/game gadget, blackberry, expensive purse, etc.; their health; the number of children they have; the success of their children in academic & extracurricular activities..... This list could go on forever.
I believe that we should always strive for better in our lives. Not to just 'settle' where we are, if in fact, we want more. But, the Bible warns us of jealousy and advises us to avoid it. If you don't already know, it is one of the ten commandments. Exodus 20:17 says, "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
BUT, we're human, and we often fall short. Hard as we try, jealousy often creeps into different parts of our lives. That is why God's grace, mercy and forgiveness are such a gift and are so very important!!
One of my other best, and dearest friends, Mary Beth, moved to Florida. She had lived here in GA all of her life, just like me. I was visiting her in October of 2007. We were talking about life and how we never know where it will take us and what will be next on our journey. I was sharing with her that I just didn't think we would have anymore children (at the time we just had Jessica and Emma Grace). I was really struggling with this as I wanted another but was so fearful, as I've said before. Gib and I weren't on the same page, either. He was very content with our family just the way it was. I, however, have always wanted four children. Interesting, I really do have four - two here on earth and two in heaven (I had an early miscarriage in July, 2005). I asked her to pray with and for me that I would be content with my life, just the way it was.
I woke up the next morning and as we were having coffee, she wrote down a verse and gave it to me.
Philippians 4:11-13 says, "....I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
I have kept that verse on my refrigerator and read it often. I feel like I've come full-circle again. I am praying to be content with my situation. I love my husband and my two beautiful girls. BUT, I also love and long for my sweet baby Grady who isn't here with me. I am trying very hard not to compare myself to others, especially those who have babies. The only thing that comparing does for me is take away the joy of what I do have. This is VERY hard for me, but it is something I'm working on. It is much easier said than done. I welcome your prayers that I will get to a point where I'm not comparing myself to others. That I will get to a point where it doesn't tear my heart out when I see a newborn. It is so hard for me to see newborns because that was the only time I had my baby. That is the only memory I have of him.
The jealousy and comparison that I have in my life doesn't just pertain to newborn babies. No, no my friend. If I'm honest, there are plenty of times that I envy the hair (because I'm completely white-headed!), career/success, physical fitness, house, clothes, and financial excess of others. I bet if you're honest, you can provide a list of what your envious of, too.
So, my prayer for myself and for you, is that we will cling to that verse in Philippians and strive to be content with our life just the way it is, while working to make changes and improvements if that's what we desire. This is the life that God has chosen for us. He wants good for us. He wants us to be happy. It is the life that we are blessed with, whether we feel blessed or not. Every day is a gift. If we compare ourselves to others, it robs us of the joy that our own life can bring. When we become so focused on others, we miss what's right in front of us. This is daily work for me......