September 17, 2009
I Want What She Has
"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."
Chances are, if you're like me, you've struggled with comparison and envy.
My house looks great until a friend redecorates. Her clever color combination and crafty restoration abilities have created rooms that look as though they've stepped straight from a magazine. Suddenly my home feels outdated and plain.
My kids seem great until I'm around someone else's who excel in areas my kids struggle in. I see her kids quietly reading books that are well advanced for their age and loving every minute of it. I compare that to mine who would rather have their right arm cut off than to read books that are barely grade level all the while asking me when they can go do something else more exciting. Suddenly I judge myself for not making reading more of a priority when they were younger and feel like a sub-par mom.
Suddenly all that I'm blessed with pales in the face of comparison. I'm blinded from seeing what I do have in the face of what I don't have. My heart is drawn into a place of ungratefulness and assumption. As I assume everything is great for those that possess what I don't, I become less and less thankful for what's mine.
And here's the real kicker… things for the person I'm comparing myself to are almost never what they seem. If there's one thing that living 40 years has taught me, it's that everybody has not-so-great sides to their lives. Whenever I get an idyllic view of someone else's life, I will often say out loud, "I am not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad."
God has taught me a lot about how to nip a comparison in the bud so it doesn't develop into full blown envy and jealously.
The statement, "I am not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad," has been one of the greatest realizations God has given me. Every situation has both good and bad. When I want someone else's good, I must realize that I'm also asking for the bad that comes along with it. It's always a package deal. And usually if I'll just give something enough time to unfold I can often be found thanking God that I didn't get someone else's package.
One of the first times I came to understand this truth was in middle school when I met a beautiful girl at the Children's Theater in my town. We were both budding child actors cast in a Christmas play. During rehearsals I can remember seeing her long dancers legs move in ways my stubby limbs never could. Her legs were muscular and lean and graceful. Mine couldn't be described with any of those adjectives.
One day there was an unusual pain in her left leg. And then a doctor's appointment turned into a battery of tests that turned into a hospital stay that turned into a diagnosis. Cancer. A surgery to remove a tumor turned into an amputation turned into a complete life change. Her world became filled with words no child should ever have to know: chemotherapy, prosthetics, hair loss, and walking canes.
As a young girl I was stunned by the whole thing. Especially because I clearly remember night after night after watching her glide across stage, I would ask God for legs exactly like hers.
… not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad.
I don't want to paint the picture that every good thing someone else has will end with a tragedy. That's not the case. Sometimes others' good things are simply fantastic. But they are fantastic for them - not me.
…not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad.
Dear Lord, thank You for only entrusting me with what I have and who I am. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Today's devo is taken from Lysa's new book just released: Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. If you enjoyed this devo, you will want to order the book!
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst
What I must remember is to consciously make the choice to redirect my thinking when I find myself comparing and wanting.
Think of something you've wanted that someone else has. Have you been lured into thinking, "If only I had _______ like that person, my life would be great!"
Now, practice redirecting those thoughts by instead saying:
I am not equipped for their good.
I am not equipped for their bad.
I am not equipped to be them in any way.
I am, however, perfectly equipped to be me.
When I compare myself to others and start wanting what others have, it quite simply wears me out. I start feeling weary from wanting and burdened by trying to figure out how to have more, be more, and do more.
In light of all we've been talking about, isn't it interesting what Jesus instructs worn out people to do? Look at the power verse below.
Matthew 11:28-30 finds Jesus instructing us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)
© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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