I’m warning you: This post has nothing to do with Christmas, Thanksgiving, work, kittens, or anything funny (well, maybe some funny things). This has been something that I’ve been slowly churning over the past couple of months and have finally decided to formulate into actual words.
How many times have I been envious of someone else’s life (clothes, style, marriage, family, food, location, hobbies, job)? You are either a much better person than I am or you are straight-up lying if you have never felt this way, even if just for a brief second. There is something ugly, yet deceptively quiet at first, that likes to sit deep down in all of us that craves more. Different. Change.
This seed of discontent is so subtle, sometimes, that we don’t even realize how deeply it has permeated our thoughts until we scroll through Instagram uttering something like, “if only I had that floppy hat that everyone else has”. Do I even want the floppy hat? NO. But, thanks to a mixture of social media, the human condition and even the unintentional influence of our friends and peers… We desire the feeling of what certain things might bring. Sometimes, it boils down to the way the world will look at us based on whatever that “thing” is that sets us apart.
I’ve been catching myself recently having thoughts like, “Wow, this friend is doing awesome things in (name that country/job/role)”… or, “Man, what a stinking cute family this friend has”. Or, “I would LOVE to have a coffee bar like this one in my house!” followed up with, “I don’t even have a house,” or, “How in the world did they make a matching pallet and burlap coffee table and bench? I want that.. they’re so crafty and trendy”. These things in themselves are not bad. Nor are they wrong to aspire to (the family, not the burlap bench).
The truth is I could wish all I want for those things that scream “you won’t be happy until you have this __________”. I’d say it’s extremely possible to push, prod, and strive for those achievable desires to become a reality. I could pour so much time and effort into building up that life with the exact backdrop, wardrobe, style I want, but, to what end?
I mentioned it before, and I truly believe it: those desires in and of themselves are not wrong! But, it’s extremely easy to miss the key component, here: the LORD is the one who builds the house. Not the other way around.
I like building the house (figuratively and literally).
Am I building the life I want, and then fitting God somehow into those plans after? Or am I letting go of those dream blueprints I think are best, and letting Him fully and creatively plan beyond what I could ever ask for or imagine?
I know we are not supposed to compare our lives with someone else’s. I know that God’s plans, desires, and creative touch on each one of us is different… So, why is it still so hard to remove that need for comparison?
I don’t really have a solution because this is something, clearly (or else there would be no need to write it) that I find myself dealing with. I’m a country away, without the same styles, trends, materials, social influences, but, that drive to create a life like “everyone else” is still apparent and pervasive.
But, we can find comfort in the truth that the project is not ours entirely to build. We don’t have to be the one who orchestrates it all and stresses over all of the minute details. I don’t want a life, with all the effort and work to end up being “in vain”. It begins with the heart and in the acknowledgement of the importance of letting go and trading job titles with God.
And then doing that again and again every day after that.