We moved to our small town three years ago this past summer and one of the features we noticed right away were the pristine lawns. Our neighbors take pride in a healthy and vibrant lawn. Every once in a while, I’m tempted to let the one brown spot that sneaks up in my lawn to drive me crazy, especially if no one else’s lawn is dried up near me. It sticks out! I’ll think:
Wow, their grass sure is greener. What’s wrong with ours?
How telling is this in our own lives when we just aren’t content with our current circumstances. The grass looks greener in someone else’s yard and we deceive ourselves into thinking God is neglecting us. Why do I have to struggle financially? Why won’t my children obey? Why does my friend’s husband know her needs better than mine? Why does everyone love their job but me?
Why do I have to wait so long for God’s will? Will he ever fulfill my personal goals and dreams? How come everyone’s social media feeds are blemish-free, when my real life is full of blots?
The list goes on, doesn’t it?
A longing for something better
Someone else’s grass often looks greener when we dwell on the ache in our own soul for something different… Better… Life-giving. And somehow their life has made our shortcomings more obvious! Envy is a sickness in the soul and God knows it robs us of joy, peace, satisfaction, and more.
When my son John was seven, we were playing one day and he told me: “Mom, everything you see is a memory.”
His words were so simple yet profound. If everything in front of us is eventually a memory, that prods me to truly savor it as best I can. If I don’t embrace the life God has given me I’ll miss out on so many blessings – yes even when they feel like heavy burdens. I’ll miss out on what the Lord longs to teach me through my current struggles. I’ll waste precious time and those minutes then transform into a mere memory – never to be experienced again in the flesh but only in my mind and heart.
Psalm 90:12 encourages us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. I’ve always loved this verse especially as I think about friends and loved ones who’ve gone to be with Jesus. Numbering our days means no day ever created by God is wasted. It’s always purposeful. No day, no matter how depressing or discouraging, is worthless in God’s sight. I think of a talk I listened to recently by Ann Voskamp and she said, “God takes our hideous ashes and makes holy art.”
Look at the days God has given you
Wisdom tells you not to covet the life and days of another person, but to treasure the days God has given you. No matter what your circumstances are right now, there’s a blessing to be found somewhere even if it’s just the breath in your lungs.
The truth is at some point, all of us long for something different and better. Our hearts aren’t at home here- they were made for heaven. We all experience the ache from time to time.
The truth is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Everyone gets brown spots and has bad days.
But when we trust in Jesus to give us the contentment that he alone can give, we embrace the life right in front of us. We trust him to do something beautiful and life-giving in our circumstances. Through a process, we learn to count our days and our blessings rather than another person’s. When our eyes are open and our hearts are listening, we’ll find miracles in the mess that we didn’t notice before.
Even when we’re tempted to think God didn’t get it right with us, we remember that He’s still good regardless of our fickle feelings. Step by step, we push back the lies that God doesn’t see us or hear our cries. We choose to believe the truth – that Jesus cares, he knows, he’s working, he’s trustworthy and all our days are held in his nail-scarred hands.
Blessings to you and yours,
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.