Is everyone’s life picture perfect (except mine)?
One look at social media would attest to that fact. Our feeds are filled with adoring spouses, doting grandparents, children who excel at impressive rates, beautifully maintained homes, dinners that rival a five-star restaurant, love stories that should be in the movies, vacations that I can only dream about… and the list goes on.
It’s easy to glance at someone else’s life and wonder… how is it that they got the life I always wanted? It’s also one of the fastest ways to become discouraged, disgruntled, and disconnected from the blessings we actually have right in front of us. We could talk about how things don’t always look as they seem, but when we take on the mindset of wanting someone else’s life, the issue isn’t really with the person we envy, it’s with us.
The Bible warns us about this kind of comparison:
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (Proverbs 14:30)
God has a plan for each and every one of us. An individual plan that’s based on our unique bents, gifts, and needs. Looking into another’s life and pining away for what they have steals the joy away from the blessings He’s chosen to give us. He doesn’t toss blessings at us randomly as if we are some person in a crowd that He’s tossing giveaways to. He chooses to bless us based on His intimate knowledge of our past, present, and future needs. We should be thankful that what He gives us is precisely what we need at the time.
Choosing to live a life of gratitude leads to a life of peace and joy. It goes beyond the surface of what some may experience because it takes the time to appreciate instead of only accumulate. Being grateful puts us in the present moment—to be fully aware of today’s gifts so that we can embrace and enjoy what is right in front of us.
The Story of One
In Luke 17, Jesus was approached by 10 lepers who begged for healing. After telling them what they needed to do to be healed, they took the blessing He gave and went on with their lives. But one leper was so thankful that he returned to Jesus, threw himself at Jesus’ feet, and praised Him. Though the other nine were also blessed, they didn’t bother to thank the One who’d given it. They simply took what He gave.
There are blessings all around us. Blessings that we may not even notice. Blessings we take for granted. Do you take the time to see them and be thankful? For the one leper that returned, Jesus told him, “Go, your faith has made you well.” While the others were blessed and all were physically healed, the one who returned to show his gratitude was made well in ways that the others were not. By seeing the blessing and being grateful for it, he experienced it differently in his life than those who simply took.
Be the one.
Called to Celebrate
As Christians, we’re not called to look at someone’s life with jealousy, covetousness, or envy. We are called to celebrate with them. Genuinely. Celebrate. To be able to look at someone else’s blessing and be in awe of what God is doing in their life builds up our faith as well. On the other hand, to look at someone’s blessing and be envious of it tears down faith—our own and possibly the one’s whose blessing we envy if we allow it to affect the relationship.
“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.” (Psalm 31:19)
You Have Enough
God doesn’t run this world based on what we think is fair or deserved. Our understanding of fairness and His are quite different because He sees the whole person, the whole life, and the whole future—all at once, and gives us what we need for the moment at hand. He doesn’t compare our needs to those around us because He has an individual relationship with us like no other.
So when we take it upon ourselves to line our lives up with others and compare them, all it does is offer the enemy a crack in which to enter. A weak spot in which he can begin to work our blessing against us in hopes that we will not stay on the path God has planned. We can’t accomplish that plan when we are stuck looking at the plan unfolding in another’s life and assume it’s better somehow—or that it’s rightfully ours.
What we covet becomes our goal in life.
Instead of setting our sights on another Christian’s life, let’s keep our jealousy in check. Covet gratitude. Strive to celebrate others’ blessings and to focus more specifically on the ones we may be taking for granted in our own lives.