This post originally appeared on The COURAGEOUS & KIND Project blog.
As I was scrolling through social media a couple months ago, I came upon a super cute announcement of good news from a distant friend. I thought to myself— She is so lucky! I would love to be in her shoes —as I was doing a mindless mental assessment of everything going on in my life.
I “liked” her post and a quick comparison of our lives flew across my radar as I was onto the next one. I even said a quick silent prayer of gratitude thanking God for everyone and everything in my life.
And, that’s how the sneakiness of comparison, discontentment, and dissatisfaction can be. It begins slithering into our hearts and lives without even realizing it! We scroll, we look, we want, we assess, and without really knowing it, we’re chipping away at our own hearts.
By all standards (my own and the world’s!) I have an incredibly blessed and abundantly overflowing life. I’ll be the first to tell you that anytime of the day.
The problems begin to arise when I’m scrolling. Swipe by swipe, like by like, that narrative can begin to change fairly fast. All of a sudden, my cute new shoes aren’t as cute without the new purse to go with it. My amazing vacation to the mountains wasn’t quite enough after seeing the white sandy beaches. My volunteer position isn’t quite as great as her executive spot. My recently remodeled house now needs new subway tile, my thighs need to be slimmer, and my hair blonder. It’s maddening! And, we’re willingly doing it to ourselves!
What I’ve learned most from social media is that we can’t take everything for face value on Facebook, Instagram, or even Pinterest. (Remind me to tell you about the time I learned that Martha Stewart had a whole team to help her bake that beautifully perfect bake and make those incredibly designed party decorations!) There’s so much more to the story.
God has uniquely written each of our individual stories. He’s handcrafted us to be each our own and display His glory like no one else can. Simply put, no one can live your life story, but you! When we try to live someone else’s narrative, we’re only committing treason against ourselves. We will fall short with disappointment every time because we weren’t made for her story.
The gifts, time, treasures, resources, and talents that she may have also come with great responsibility. Responsibility that we’re not always equipped to have. When we want someone else’s good, we also have to take the bad too.
That distant friend had later posted about something tragic and unexpected destroying her once good news. Did I still want what she had? No! Of course not. She was enduring an uncontrollable and unexplained loss.
The conviction of the Holy Spirit got my attention real fast.
That still small voice inside my heart prompted me to pause and ask the Lord to forgive me for wanting what she had. The discontentment of half-truths and the envy of better blessings had stolen a piece of my heart in the sneakiest of ways. Had I not seen her updated post, I would have marched on with life and gave a piece of my heart away without hesitation.
Why was it that I only wanted her good? Why did the bad never cross my mind?
Call it optimism or confident thinking, but at the heart of it, it was envy.
Envy created discontentment and dissatisfaction. Discontentment stole a piece of my heart. Dissatisfaction took my gift of full gratefulness. Two things we can’t stand to keep around if we’re committed to living out God’s best for our lives.
If you are the friend enduring the hurt, God has written your story too. Whether the bad was caused by you or caused to you, our heavenly Father still has a great narrative for your life (Romans 8:28). He created you to share His love and bring Him glory. He is a God who heals, helps, restores, revives, forgives, and loves deeply. Ask Him to reveal His heart and help for you in this season through the truths of scripture. The Bible has lots to say on healing, hurt, and restoration; as it does on envy, greed, and discontentment.
Next time that friends gets a blessing, let her keep it. Praise God for it! Praise God for her and the story He’s written for you both. The Lord has something unique in store for all of us. He’s an abundant God who can’t ever run out of the good gifts of love, joy, peace, healing, hope and forgiveness. Let’s commit to “liking” the great narrative that God has written for us.
We’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have boundaries to help prevent discontentment or dissatisfaction creep into your heart? How do you count your blessings? How can you be a friend to the one hurting?
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15 (NIV)
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NIV)