Apparently my children have the hardest life of any children in the state of Florida. If my children are to be believed, everyone else has fewer chores with far more privileges. My poor children, having been denied televisions in their rooms and access to rated R movies, really have it bad. They have to deal with limited screen time and family dinner time. They have parents who insist on spending time with them everyday, whether they (the children) want us to or not. On top of it all, we make them shower AND use soap.
They have a rough life, I see it now.
To be honest, I’m not bothered when my children think the grass is greener on the other side. It seems normal, even age-appropriate to me. Sometimes it’s a teachable moment, other times I go straight to sarcasm (see preceding paragraph).
I do wish, however, this kind of thinking stopped in childhood. Have you noticed how frequently we adults compare ourselves to one another?
I have. In fact, compared to you I probably compare myself to others more than you do.
I’m beginning to see how often I ignore the beauty in my own life, focusing instead on what someone else seems to have.
It sounds crazy, but it doesn’t even matter if they really have “it.” In this case, perception is reality.
If I think you’re a more patient (and therefore better) parent than me, that’s all it takes for the seed of self-criticism to sprout. If I think you’re a better writer, speaker or teacher than me, you won’t convince me otherwise.
This is no way to #LiveLoved.
Thousands of years ago God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. No matter what you think of the Bible, it’s hard to argue with the Ten Commandments as ten keys to living a great life. One of those (or two depending on how your church traditionally numbers them) tells us not to covet what our neighbor has.
Exodus 20:17: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (NRSV)
Why? Because when we focus on what our friends have (or seem to have), we aren’t living loved. When we long for what someone else has, we sacrifice the beauty of our own lives.
As often happens with the best advice in the Bible, it gets repeated. In the New Testament, Hebrews 12:1, we’re told to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Living loved means we focus on our race, not the race marked out for someone else.
I can’t run your race, my husband’s race, or even the race set out for my children. I can run only my own race.
Trying to run someone else’s race only distracts you from the beauty of your own life.
So I’m going to stop acting like my children. I’m going to stop comparing myself to others. I’m going to focus on the race marked out for me.
I’m going to enjoy my own very green grass while you enjoy yours.
I’m going to live loved.