We hear it all the time: "Comparison is the thief of joy." And yet somehow, we still find ourselves in the slimy pit of comparing our lives to those around us and even worse, those we don't even know (thanks Instagram). I've also heard it said that the main issue is that we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reels. So true, but still, I compare.
I'm laying on the floor, no makeup, wearing pajama shorts, hair unbrushed, and toddler drooling all over me, while mindlessly scrolling through the photogenic, the picture perfect, the moments worthy of sharing with the world and think: I'm not doing anything with my life. No, I didn't just think it. I said it. And my husband looked at me and said, "Your life is so meaningful. And you are doing incredible things. You are raising a little girl." And still, despite his encouragement, I had all my reasons lined up as to why he wasn't right. Pathetic, right? But so real. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Recently, I've been attempting (and often failing) to see the simple, mundane, behind-the-scenes type stuff as meaningful. They matter. I am robbing myself of the joy that every day holds because I am looking at other people's lives (well, their social media lives) and declaring that my life is dull, meaningless, and I need to do something with it. When in fact, Jon is right: I am doing something meaningful. I have a job doing what I love (writing) + I get to raise a beautiful human + be a wife to an incredible man. I realize many people wish they had the opportunity I did. Sure, I'm not 23, single, with all the time in the world to pick up new hobbies, travel the world, have people follow me around to take my photos, buy all the new clothes, and color my hair as often as I'd like. I have a lot of friends doing incredible things. I run in a circle of friends who are actors, authors, world travelers, war stoppers, Broadway performers, community builders, change makers, business builders, celebrity photographers ... should I continue? You get the drift. But God has me here for a reason. How quickly I forget that.
Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." I love The Message translation of verses 7-10 (emphasis my own): "Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."
To JOIN HIM in the work he is doing. The work he prepares for us. The work we better do! Talk about perspective. Goodness Vittoria, it's not about you anyway. But the other thing I love about verse 10 is the use of the word "workmanship". In Greek, the word used was "poiema", which means poem and I just think that is so beautiful. I love to think that God sees me as his poem. I am his workmanship. This not only tells me he cares about me, but also that I have a purpose. And my purpose (in this season at the very least) could be the unnoticed, mundane, behind-the-scenes, changing your world at home kind of work. And that is just as beautiful.
Even if I'm not living in Beirut, educating children orphaned by the refugee crisis (No kidding, I listened to a podcast today with a couple who is doing that. Another "what am I doing with my life" moment.) my work matters. I have to believe that my purpose is significant to God - all our purposes are equally significant and important - whether we have 1 million followers or 100. Whether I have a photographer following me around or a toddler drooling on my face - we just need to quit comparing and water our own grass.
Psalm 37:4 is always quoted because it's inspiring. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." But verse 3 was recently brought to my attention: "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness." Dwell in the land. The grass is greener where you water it. I want to be better at watering my own yard instead of looking at everyone else's and willing it to wither. I think God is asking me to dwell right where he has me and just keep tending to my own land, which in turn would help me delight in him so he will give me the desires of my heart. Because who knows, I may not always be the one behind-the-scenes.
So what does it look like to quit the comparison game and water our own grass? I'm not sure! I don't know that it requires the extremes of deleting all social media and hiding in a hole like I'm sure we sometimes feel like doing. (Although a little break from social media never hurt anyone.) I'm looking to find the answers too. So, if you've ever fallen into the pit of comparison, we're on this journey together! Let's be people who strive to encourage each other to be present and more thankful to God for each season, job, home, etc...that he currently has us in.