Often times we look at other people and it appears their lives are perfect. They may appear to have a perfect house, adorable family, loving spouse, lots of success and money. We can look at those people that appear to have what we think we want and think wow, if only my life were like that. I say "what we think we want", because we honestly have no idea what may really be going on in that person's life. If you really knew the "messiness" of their lives behind the veil of what they allow others to see, you may not want their life.
Rita Davenport, author & speaker, says that if you think your problems are bad, you should throw them into a bowl with everyone else's problems and then draw out a new problem. And if you saw what some of the other people's problems were, you might wish to have your own problems back! Interesting way to look at it.
So, why do we spend our energy comparing ourselves and our lives to others? Why can't we just be grateful and content with what we have?
I was at a leadership conference this weekend, and listened to several amazing, successful women share their stories. They are at the top of the ladder in their industry and business. They are women that others aspire to be like and possess a level of success everyone in the industry covets. As these women unveiled their stories and shared their journeys, it was clear that their lives have not been perfect. Their journeys have been "messy". They have experienced doubt, failure, imbalance, financial struggles, relationship challenges, guilt, and fear. Yet they persevered. They found the path that God was leading them "individually" and stopped trying to be who they were not. They stopped comparing themselves to everyone else and stepped into the greatness that God intended for them.
So why do we do it? Why do we spend our energy wishing for the life that belongs to someone else? Why can't we just be content with what we have. The truth is that I think it starts when we are children. Someone else is prettier or more athletic. That kid already has a cell phone. And this kid's parents just bought him a car. The comparison game starts and we begin to develop a feeling that we aren't as worthy as others.
Perhaps it's a lack of gratitude. Or is it about forgiveness? In my morning devotional reading I've been reading a lot about "forgiveness". I think sometimes the person we need to forgive the most is "ourselves". We sometimes create our own feelings of unworthiness because of the grudges we hold against ourselves for the mistakes we've made. Or we find a way to place the blame on somebody else.
"When we hold on to unforgiveness and live with grudges in our hearts, all we're doing is building walls of separation. We think we're protecting ourselves, but we're not. We are simply shutting other people out of our lives. We become isolated, alone, warped, and imprisoned by our own bitterness." ~Joel Osteen, from the book Your Best Life Begins Each Morning
I've concluded that the best we can do is to just embrace our own "mess". Accept that it is our mess and be grateful we don't have someone else's mess. Life is meant to be "messy". It's how we learn. It's how we grow. And it sure feels good when you can get through your mess and look back and feel blessed that you persevered and didn't give up.
Love and Prayers,