I just had a text conversation with a friend of mine from elementary school. Thanks to Facebook, we reconnected more than two years ago. The conversation was simple enough and started with a simple question:
"What are your plans this week?"
Well, my plans involve cleaning and organizing my house and getting ready to start the new year off on the right foot. If I am being honest, I have to admit that the clutter and rush and disorganization of the month of December almost pushes me over the edge. My house is in a constant state of disarray, and I don't handle it well at all. The older I get, the more I allow myself to surrender to the chaos, telling myself that what matters right now is the most amazing of holidays. Three amazed faces stare in disbelief because the big guy, Mr. Claus, once again delivered their wishes. This year, however, we also soaked in the amazing miracle of the birth of Jesus. The Son of God who was sent to save us all. I am learning to live in the moment more and crave control less and less. But, I am still a work in progress and therefore I crave order.
When I texted back that I was planning on cleaning and organizing, she reminded me that she was headed to Pigeon Forge with her family for their traditional week after Christmas escape together. Immediately, I felt a twinge of jealousy. Then, I was quickly reminded that not only do I have no reason to be jealous, it is sinful for me to feel that way. She is my friend and I love her and I am happy for her. Do I wish I was headed somewhere to meet with my parents and Daddy H's parents for a week together? Absolutely. Is that possible? No. My peace and joy in that moment came from the promise that was made that we will all be reunited in Heaven one day. And what a glorious and beautiful moment that will be, right?
So, I made a choice right then and there. I texted her back and told her how geniunely happy I was for her and I prayed for her and her family to have a safe and enjoyable trip together. I also gave thanks that the jealousy I initially felt had been removed from my heart and replaced by a peace... Rather than focus on what was behind me that I can no longer have, I must keep my eyes on the prize that is ahead of me one sweet day. I told my friend that I was grateful for my Mom and that I realized that there are so many others that would have given anything this weekend to spend time with their mom or other loved one; people who celebrated the birth of our Savior alone, hungry, cold... those that celebrated without a warm coat, food in their bellies, or a roof over their heads.
Her reply shocked me: "I'd love to be home cleaning and organizing this week instead of facing a messy house when we get back home."
WHAT? How ironic is it that we both want what the other has?
It immediately reminded of that old cliche:
"The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence"
We exchanged a few more texts and then we said goodbye for the night...
That's when I realized, even though we both want what the other has,
We both are so blessed.
And we are, aren't we?
For that, I give thanks.
Do you ever do what we did tonight and fall into the trap of comparing your "grass" with the "grass" of your neighbors/friends/co-workers/etc... I know I am guilty of it a million times over.
I find myself asking things like:
Is my house "nice enough/big enough/clean enough"?
Do my kids have the "right" clothes/shoes/toys?
Are my lessons at school "fun/interesting/creative" enough?
It's a horrible trap and it sets us up for disappointment and frustration.
I found this quote online and created this little graphic:
It's a good reminder to me that I don't need to focus on other people's grass in comparison with ours.
I need to be sure I am "fertilizing" our garden with what it needs to truly grow and prosper.
This is my prayer tonight:
Rather than worrying about the labels on my kids' clothes/toys/shoes, let me be concerned enough with their hearts that I pray with them each night.
What's in their hearts matters more than what's on their backs.
Instead of worrying if my car/house/neighborhood is as nice as someone else's, let me pray for their health and happiness.
If something happened to them, would I even care about what kind of car they had?
When I begin to feel sorry for myself and what I don't have, let me give thanks for all that You have given to me and to everyone I love.
Without You, I would be nothing.
Fill my heart with gratitude, not envy.
Jealousy does not help, it hurts.
Fill my mouth with kind and thoughtful words.
My sharp tongue has never helped anyone.
Place a burden upon my heart to always remember where I came from and where I am headed.
I cannot do this alone, but I know with You, anything is possible.