Nothing like logging into Facebook and seeing a friend at the beach, in a cute swimsuit, with a perfect body, playing with her perfect kids . . . while I’m over here with baby poop somehow in my ear, eating burnt toast, and unable to remember the last time I showered.
It’s hard for me sometimes not to compare my circumstances with others and wish for what they have.
Well, recently I was reading and came across the ten commandments (those 10 rules God gave his people in the oldest part of the Bible). I usually don’t pay much attention to these old rules because they seem pretty easy to follow. I mean, I’m not murdering people, or stealing, or having affairs. But as I read through them, one stood out that I haven’t really thought about much before. It says not to covet (a greedy desire for what someone else has).
Up there in God’s original top 10 most important rules for living is not to desire what isn’t ours. I hadn’t really put much thought into this one; however, if we really don’t desire what other people have, it would radically change our lives.
Until this reminder, I hadn’t even realized how I was coveting to some degree pretty much daily: Man, I wish it were me on that vacation instead. I wish I had that body. I wish we had as much money as so-and-so. I wish my kids were good at that. I wish I had time like others to do such-and-such workout. I wish my family was more like so-and-so’s family.
But what if we didn’t desire what isn’t ours? How would it change our lives?
We’d Be Happier
Have you ever been happy with some part of your life until you saw someone else had something better? You get a new something and love it until you see Kelly got an even better one? You work your butt off to lose 10 pounds and feel awesome until you see Michelle lost 20 pounds? We also love to imagine how perfect life would be in we only had [fill-in-the-blank]. But if this were true, rich, famous, and attractive people would be much happier than they are. It doesn’t take much looking around to see how just as many people with money, fame, and beauty fight depression, anxiety, loneliness, and substance abuse. When we just enjoy the sweet parts of our lives without comparing them to others, life is much better.
We’d Have More Time and Energy
Wanting what others have is a time and energy thief. Instead of spending these resources enjoying our own life and/or improving it, you waste them wishing you had what those around you have.
We’d Be Much Better Friends to Others
Isn’t it wonderful to have friends who are genuinely happy for us in good times? Isn’t it fun to have friends you can celebrate the happy parts of your life with? It’s hard to be joyful for our friends’ good fortune when we are jealous of what they have. If we could truly be 100 percent happy for our friends when they have even better stuff, everyone will love being our friend.
We May Make Better Decisions
I can recall things I’ve bought because I wanted to in some way emulate what someone else had, even if it wasn’t really something I could afford or something I cared about that much. When we are focused on spending money on what is right for our family and not based on how others spend their money, we will most likely spend money more wisely.
I’ve challenged myself to keep an active inventory of my thoughts and to stop any thought that desires what someone else has. In place of that thought, I’m working on telling myself: I am happy for so-and-so. Our lives are not the same, and I don’t know all the details of so-and-so’s life. I am so grateful for what I have. God, please give me the things that are the best for my life.
I challenge you to join me! Let’s appreciate and enjoy our lives and be happy for the good things others have; I feel confident we will all be happier!
This is so true! Thanks for the reminder!
I mainly needed to remind myself! Thank you Kassidi!