On Contentment – Or: Comparison, The Thief Of Joy

19 Jun

20121125-012251.jpg
Ok.
It’s time.
This post has been brewing for AAAAAAAGES…
I’m not yet quite sure how it’s going to come out but I’ll give it my best shot.

So I’ve been posting some rather lovely, nice things on this blog, and on Facebook recently. (Yes I’m back on Facebook – at least for now, at least for a bit. At least until God tells me to get off again!)

I’ve been posting endless pictures of me and Mr Wibbs all loved-up…
I know: someone pass me a bucket!
*barf!!*

Pictures of my quirky, colourful “artwork”

20120619-145617.jpg
pictures of my gorgeous puppy

20120619-155623.jpg
Pictures of pretty flowers and handsome healthy children

20120619-155831.jpg

20120619-155913.jpg
…and of general domestic bliss and harmony

20120619-160655.jpg
20120619-160951.jpg

20120619-161018.jpg
All very Lovely.

More to the point I’ve been sharing and writing of my joy, testifying of some of the amazingly beautiful things God has been and is doing in my life.

And the thing is, it may well all come across as a bit sickening to some people out there. I’m a cynic, believe me, I get it.

I’ve been there. Looking-in on someone else’s seemingly ‘perfect’ little life and feeling rather envious – and actually more than a little bitter, resentful, and even angry sometimes.

So yep. I know what’s going through your mind, cos I’ve thought it too: it goes something like this: “lucky cow, wish she’d stop rubbing everyone’s face in it”, or “gosh, I wish I had her life; she’s got it all: nice house, nice hubby, happy marriage, nice kids; oh and Devon…! …such a stunning place to live…” (Something along those lines)

Yes I admit it. I may well come across as a cocky so-and-so, someone with a perfect little life. I may appear to have it all “sorted”, or sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet.

But.
*sigh*

If you don’t mind, I’d quite like to interrupt you in your thinking.
Just for a minute. Or five.

More to the point, I’d like to respectfully and politely tell you to stop it…!

(Please read on…?)

Now, if you’ve been visiting this or my previous blog for any length of time, or if you know me at all you’ll probably know for a fact that things haven’t always been this way, and that I most certainly do not have it all sorted.

However – just in case you don’t know me intimately, or if you only occasionally keep up with my updates on Facebook, or you’ve only just randomly stumbled across my blog, let me tell you now. I do not have it all sorted, nor do I pretend to.

I’m really not into pretending.

So may I kindly ask you to stop comparing yourself to me and to stop comparing your circumstances to mine.

This is why…
a) There is no good thing that doesn’t come from God. He is the author of the good stuff that is going on. And anything good that I share on here is posted with one aim only: to acknowledge that I am blessed by Him, and to celebrate His goodness, His kindness, His compassion, His patience, His mercy towards me and my family; to make much of HIM.

My desire and motivation behind those kinds of posts is that people who read on, those who have followed “the story” for some time as well as those who are just “standers-by”, can celebrate with me just quite how awesome God is. It is most certainly never to big myself up. Believe me I know better than that!

b) Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparing yourself to others in any way comes from a lack of contentment in “where you’re at”, and it breeds envy, aka jealousy.

Think about it. When you envy someone else, you want what they’ve got (health, wealth, looks, emotional stability, etc).
And if that’s the case you really don’t believe that what you’ve got (or “where you’re at”) is nearly good enough.
And if THAT’S the case, how can you ever experience happiness in life, let alone joy…??!

If you are constantly striving to be someone else, live someone else’s life, that implies you don’t think your life is that great. You must be EXHAUSTED from all the work you’re putting into trying to change things around so that they resemble something that’s closer to your ideal life, personality, etc.

Now do you see what I mean by comparison being “the thief of joy”…?? When you compare yourself to others it robs you of the ability to see the good in your own life and of enjoying what you do have.

It eats you up, slowly but surely.
And you become so taken up with trying to “keep up with the Jones’s” and measure up to other people’s personalities, jobs, partners, lives – that you have no time, no energy, no desire left to simply just rest and enjoy the one life you do have.

How do I know this is true? Because I’m no longer doing it; rather, I am well on the way to being free of it (‘it’ being this compulsive need to compare myself to others). I’ve discovered that I’m not physically capable of being or becoming someone I’m not.

News Flash: nor are you!!

The difference in my life is unbelievable. I am slowly learning, day by day, to count the good things, the blessings, one by one. I am slowly learning that having Jesus Christ dwell in my heart and being Number One in my life, is MORE THAN ENOUGH for me. I am learning that I do not want to be anyone else than who God has made me.

I am also learning to stop comparing my husband, my marriage, my kids, my home etc to others’ husbands, relationships, kids, homes – and instead I am learning to choose to be content (delighted even…!!) with the husband God gave me, the children God chose for us, the home we were called to here in Devon.

It’s a slow process believe me. But the transformation in my attitude is nothing short of miraculous. I can finally say that through my deliberate (and God-enabled) choice to “be content”, I am becoming freer and freer, and that this miracle of freedom is generating wave upon wave of real joy, constantly bubbling up inside of me.

Let me finish here.
Man this is a sermon…
*mops brow*
*looks around tentatively*
Y’all still with me…??!
Hmmmmmm.

Oh don’t you worry, I will be back with more on God-rooted contentment as time goes on, because I truly believe it’s a key to living life to the full.

But for now – if you don’t take anything else away from reading this rather clumsy and long-winded missive, PLEASE do yourself a favour and just stop comparing yourself to others around you.

Seriously, stop doing it, and start (literally) counting your blessings. Start a list if you must; if you were to write down 10 things you can be thankful for, 10 ways God has blessed you, every day for a year, how many would you come up with?! Now THERE’s a challenge…?!? Take it up and see if it doesn’t slowly and wildly transform your world view.

And as for those lovely things I’ve been posting online lately…? Well they are really just a small reflection of this fact: my whole world is changing, because I am changing. And it’s the most beautiful transformation ever. I truly mean it. From the bottom of my joy-swollen heart.

To God be ALL the glory.

Advertisements

One Response to “On Contentment – Or: Comparison, The Thief Of Joy”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. ‘Thankful’ is the Last Thing I Feel Like. | heavenly elevenses - August 25, 2013

    […] at me; and then he whispered kindly, “remember that thing we’ve talked about before, about thankfulness? why don’t you try saying thank you for that child instead? Just a suggestion. But you and I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: