Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.
Gratitude Day 779
It is soooo easy. We look at someone and think, “Wow! They really have it together! They are AMAZING!!”
Then our minds goes to, “Must be nice. Why can’t I be like that?”
Why can’t I have their body? Drive a version of someone else’s car? Have the freedom to do XYZ? Acquire the resources to do this exciting thing that someone else got to experience?
For some strange reason, our little brains like to trick us into thinking that these things of the world are so much more important than the core values that we try to stake our lives on. Rather than appreciating the person who is so generous and kind, we focus on the one who seems to have always his or her life put together. Instead of applauding the person who is humble in spirit, we listen to the people who have the loudest voices and therefore, claim the most attention. We say a moral compass is important, but then we overlook something because it just feels like it is someone else’s job.
Comparison. At times, I can step aside from it. Other times?
Not so much.
Why do our brains even go there?
Because brains are finicky. They love comparison. This little 8 pound muscle thinks this line of thinking will motivate us. But more often, we end up feel like a sad, sad, sad, version of ourselves.
When we really are not. We just let our thought processes get out of whack.
Friend – may I say that today, YOU are enough. More material things will not make your life better; at least in the long term. All that stuff or accomplishments that someone else has obtained? It does not devalue YOU and what YOU are great at. It’s just their stuff, which is never more important than what makes YOU special, unique and wonderful.
It is so easy to want that one thing we think will make us happier. Allow us to feel fulfilled. Make our life better. But after we get that “one” thing, often there is another “thing” that now becomes what we think will take care of everything. This goes on over and over and over again.
Many years ago, our washing machine was not working. Hubby Rick tore it apart and discovered that a $70 part and his time would fix it. He could tell that I was a bit disappointed. I wanted a new washing machine. This one was old.
Interestingly, just a couple weeks earlier, I had shared in a message during worship how often we think something will make us happy only to discover that it really doesn’t for the long haul. While we are convinced that a new (fill in the blank) will make everything right, the aurora wears off and we are seeking for that next best thing.
Imagine me and Hubby Rick standing in front of the washing machine that just needs a new part and someone to install it. Hubby Rick turning to me and saying, “How long would a new washing machine really make you happy?”
Oh, it’s not fun when a sermon is preached back to YOU.
Did I need a new washing machine? No. I needed to be gracious and happy that I had a washing machine. I could take the saved money and bless someone else with it. I could pay my good fortune forward and be kind. Maybe, I could even eat some humble pie and realize that yes, even I, struggle with seeking the wrong things of this world.
Just in case you are feeling like there is something missing in your life, especially a material possession or a job title or a recognition that you feel you deserve, please stop. Stop comparing yourself to what those around you have. Celebrate the old washing machine because it is better than the rest of the world who doesn’t have a washing machine. Let go of the dream to acquire something that will be cool for a hot minute and then replaced by the desire for something else.
Instead, may we be impresses with the things of the heart. The things in your heart that make it swell and want to burst rather than the external things which never quite feel enough.
The Apostle Paul was quite clear. Those intangibles that have no outside measure? They are what count.
Kindness. Patience. Gentleness. Self-control. Joy. Peace. LOVE.
Much more valuable than any home, car, degree or title. Those things are not bad. It’s when we place value on them more than a heart turned in the right direction that we get into trouble. When we play the comparison game, where there will always be someone who has something “better.”
It’s just best to stay away from it.
We can spend a lot of life chasing the wrong things. Put a lot of energy into the things of the world. Yes, there can be great reward in these things. But let’s not fail to see that they are only of this world. The attributes that Jesus taught us? Well, they are far more reaching and obtainable. These are the things that Jesus and Paul reminded us of. The things of the heart that aren’t as glamorous but certainly more desirable.
Allow yourself to celebrate those wonderful gifts of the heart that you embrace in your life. Name them. Thank God for them. But be humble about them.
And kick comparison to the curb. Find something else to yearn for your time. Give those things of your heart space and room to grow. Be content with where you are and with what you have. Be amazed how life feels when you are able to do so. Be impressed with these things.
For the opportunity to grow and focus on things of the heart, I am very grateful.
Lord God – Please help me remove the desires that too often come from comparison. Instead, allow me to grow and appreciate all the gifts of the heart that are already present. May I be impressed with these things over and over. Amen.
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