The other day, we were driving home and I was sitting in the back seat as usual, distracting Elliot and pulling her hands away from scratching, just praying we could make it home before an inevitable meltdown. And we passed a crew of moms with jogging strollers. They looked like Barbie moms – walking their sweet babes around with flawless hair in coordinated workout attire enjoying the sunshine. And I couldn’t help but compare my life with a glimpse of theirs.
I had no idea the deep struggle I had with the sin of jealousy until this last year. Maybe it’s because before, I struggled instead with incredible pride. Comparing myself to others is not new, but before I was too prideful to be jealous! It’s hard to be jealous of other girls when you’re convinced you’re so much better… So there’s even more ugly sin in my heart than I first realized. But these days, I’m overcome with the jealousy monster.
Why is my life like this, God? I’m sleep deprived, broke, lonely, far from relatives, overwhelmed with caring for my little eczema baby, starved for time with my husband, and depressed about my health and restricted diet. I keep thinking of a photo I saw the other day of my friend on vacation – also a new mom. She looked great. Hair fixed. Fashionable outfit. Adorable baby. Fun marriage. And then there’s me (of course it makes sense to compare my life with someone else’s photo). I really don’t remember the last time I washed my hair if I’m honest…and well rested was a couple of years ago for me. Uh oh…There it is – I’m overwhelmed with jealousy.
But then I remembered – no comparing.
I know all the right things – I’m just in a season. I can’t judge a book by it’s cover. The grass is always greener… There are plenty of cliches that should stop my coveting heart in it’s tracks. But I still struggle with jealousy.
However I’m surprised at a new realization. I’m realizing the saddest part of my circumstances is not the difficulty of my situation. The true sad part is that I’m letting this jealousy of comparison rob me of a full life and contentment. Contentment is possible in any circumstance! I can choose to no longer be captive to jealousy. I’m not defending that stronghold for Satan anymore.
I found some great advice from a man who used to have a great job, social standing, freedom to pursue his dreams, but then he ended up in prison. His life seemed pretty miserable. Somehow in his messy situation, he found true contentment. His name – the apostle Paul.
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
The secret of being content isn’t where I want to find it. It’s not in being well rested, having perfect health, a photogenic family, a care free life. Those things are elusive sources of joy. No… the secret of being content is only found in one place. Christ.
I can be content and free from comparison. Truth be told, I have a great husband, daughter, relatives, church family, house, friends, and my health is better than most. But even without those blessings, I have the gospel – which is reason enough to be content. No longer will I continue to fight the battle of comparison when great joy in Christ is within my reach!
Are you with me?
- No more comparing.
- No more sulking.
- No more coveting.