1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV) 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Several years ago, Valentine’s Day went down like this:
I waited and waited all day excited as a kid at Christmas for my husband to get home. It was Valentine’s Day! We always said we weren’t going to do anything or that much, but I knew he would get me something and for some reason I was really looking forward to it this year. I kept checking the clock, listening for the garage door to open. In between cooking dinner, doing laundry, and playing with my son, I would take a peek at Facebook from time to time to see all of the pretty pictures of roses, candy and declarations of love. I thought it funny that all of the girls who got the biggest bouquets were either just newly married or barely even in a relationship. What’s that all about? I wondered. Then finally, the garage went up! Yes! Now it’s my turn. Doesn’t have to be much, he knows I love chocolate, I wonder if he got me chocolate? Ooo…this is going to be good. I can’t wait, so I meet him at the truck. I never meet him at the truck. He walks him in as if it’s a normal day…empty-handed! We greet each other. Finally I can’t take it any longer. “Uhh…Honey did you forget something?” His casual response, “Oh, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to stop and get you anything.” Wha…? I turn around and march back in the house. It takes a while for my reaction to start to build. At first, there’s that numb shocked feeling, which slowly mounts to hot seething rage. You forgot?! Then there’s tears, as I’m angrily stuffing clothes in the washing machine. Then starts the in-my-head conversation, “You forgot?, What do you mean you forgot? After everything I do, going above and beyond all the time, working all day, still keeping the family fed, the home taken care of, making sure your son is cared for,….and you just forgot? So I guess I’m just not that important…there’s girls on Facebook who don’t do half the stuff I do and have three dozen roses right now! What do you mean you forgot!?” Well, I’m pretty worked up by now, so I turn around, march back upstairs and confront him in the kitchen.
And so starts my teary speech, “I work too hard for you just to forget! I deserve to be appreciated!” He looks at me, trying not to laugh, walks back outside and comes back in with a card, flowers and a box of chocolates. “Do you really think I would forget you?” You see my husband is not usually forgetful, but he is definitely a prankster.
Well by now, I’m too angry to reverse course. I mean I am still spitting like a cobra.
So I can do nothing else at this point but be very mad …and very embarrassed. I mean how embarrassing is it that I’m this old acting like a teenager and I’m so mad I can’t even switch gears? As I looked at how the evening unfolded, I had to admit to myself I got caught in the deception of looking at what everybody else got (via FaceBook) and comparing myself. As I retell the story, I don’t know if I should laugh or go hide under a rock somewhere.
But how often do we do this, compare ourselves to others lives? And now through social media, we can even do it electronically. We often think we don’t have enough, or even worse, that we aren’t enough. Someone’s life always looks better. To the mom at home, it may look like oh it would be so nice to have a career outside of the home and to be able to talk to someone who is older than four years old. To the working mom, she may constantly say oh if I only had more time with my kids! To the single mom, oh if only I had a partner to help me with all of this! And then let’s not even talk about comparing your spouse to someone else…oh if only he were as thoughtful as… oh he if would just…well look at their marriage….
Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
We can get so caught up in admiring the nice and shiny façade of someone else’s life that we don’t take enough time to stop and admire the beauty that God has placed in our own lives.
When we start out on this journey called life, we are filled with hope and expectation of a glorious future. But road bumps and curve balls happen along the way, and some things are not going turn out like you expected. As you face disappointment, it can be tempting to sit down and have a pity party with the ugly twin sisters of bitterness and jealousy. These two evil siblings are at the root of all of the comparing. Just like Paul told Timothy, be content with what you have, for with contentment is great gain. And good Lord, get off of Facebook so much!
“Lord! I adore you! Look at what you have done for me and how you have blessed me! I am speechless! You have given me much and I am so grateful for it! I will not dishonor your goodness by wasting my time comparing myself to others. Whatever comes today, I am content, I am satisfied, I am blessed.”