I sat down on my back patio with a steamy cup of coffee this morning, opened a blog, and read this:
I haven’t gotten over it….all day.
For many years, I wasted precious moments, sizing myself up against other girls, classmates, friends, co-workers, church-goers, wives, and moms. Whatever stage of life I’m in, I have looked around, and assumed everyone has it better than I do.
I’ve wanted a bigger house, better car, brand-name clothes, perfect children, less weight, more money, curlier hair…
Growing up “poor”, I had grand dreams of what being happy should look like. I would marry the most handsome man, and I would have four children. This man would be rich, and while he worked, I would ramble barefoot around our big, fancy house with our perfect babies, and bake big loaves of bread in my gourmet kitchen. That would be the life–my life!
I grew up, married the hottest guy in town (he still is), and moved into a little apartment with black Formica counter-tops, and pea-green shag carpet. I did my best to make it cozy, and looked around at what others had that I did not, and wished for more. Even when we upgraded from the little apartment to a bigger apartment (washer & dryer included), and then into our first house…I would paint & decorate, making it our home, and still long for more. Refusing to see what I actually had, and never finding joy in anything.
Comparison became my prison. Discontentment was my bitter cell-mate. Joy, was out of reach; beyond the walls.
Then one cold morning, four years ago, I opened Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and found the cure for my disease of comparison….
Thank you for a husband who honors God above all.
Thank you for these three children, who bring so much joy into this blessed life.
Thank you for this home that provides shelter, and modern conveniences- a place to build relationships.
Thank you for transportation and the ability to get where we need to go.
Thank you for employment and provision.
Thank you for laundry and dishes…as that indicates we have clothing and food.
Thank you for good friends.
Thank you for our health.
As I began to slow down, and see everyone and everything I had in my possession as gifts from God, I slowly began to change. The bars of comparison began to fall down. As I counted His gifts, I began to see my discontent for what it really was….sin.
He had given, I had taken, and refused to acknowledge the gifts. I had instead called them “Not Good Enough”.
I had sulked because I didn’t have a big house on 2.5 acres, while a family across town got kicked out of their house, after losing a job. I had pitied my circumstances, while a mother in another country looked at her hungry babies, and longed for food.
It’s an ugly, ugly truth, that even today, causes tears to fall.
I never want to fall back into the deep pit of comparison, yet more importantly, I want to be changed.
I can count the gifts (moving toward one thousand and beyond), all day long, and continue to ignore those who would trade places with me for anything. I don’t want to be that woman, and don’t want my grandchildren to know that woman.
I will live a life of gratitude. I will proclaim that all I have is more than enough, because it is from His hands. I will find joy in simplicity, living with fewer and fewer strings attached to this messy world. I will give from the abundance, with a willing heart. I will believe that who I am in Christ, is not measured in straight or curly hair, clothes, homes…things. I will fight for joy.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of Joy.”
In the Bible, Nehemiah said, “The JOY of the LORD is your strength.”
Ann Voskamp says “As long as gratitude is possible, then JOY is always possible.”
So long Comparison, you’ve been a bad friend.