Monday, May 24, 2010

I love it when people tell me they enjoy reading my blog. And so often, I am encouraged to hear that my friends think my life looks wonderful. "What a happy, lovely life you have," they tell me.

And I do. I am blessed beyond deserving. God is so good to me. I have a beautiful family, we have our health, my friends are amazing, I love our city, our church, etc. etc. Just look at my blog - it's full of my handsome husband and chubby baby, and a puppy to boot - pretty damn adorable if you ask me!

But one of the problems with blogs, Facebook, and Twitter is that we have a tendency to put our best self forward. It's natural to publish our cutest pictures, most exciting stories, and funniest anecdotes. However, it leads to a fictional reality where we see only the very best of each other. Which, therefore, tends towards unhealthy comparisons. And I'm flattering myself, but I would hate for anyone to read my blog and think that I have it all. (B/c I often read your blog and get a little jealous myself!)

I don't want to give the illusions that I have the perfect life, or that frolic around eating rainbow and painting daisies all day. My heart is sinful and selfish, and if I let myself, I too can get trapped in the world of "if only." A world where I want what you have rather than what I've been given.

Once I heard Beth Moore declare that women have a tendency towards discontentment. What we have is never enough. We want more. We want better. We want it now. She wasn't talking about challenging yourself for positive reward. Or striving to better ourselves. She was speaking about our tendency to be dissatisfied with the blessings in our life. To focus on the negative; and/or to buy into our culture's lie that we deserve (and should) have it all. The family, the career, the house, the adventure, the looks, the car, the clothes, etc.

I am 27 years old. I've been married for nearly six year. We are responsible for a child. We have a mortgage to pay each month. We live in suburbia. My daily life is fairly consistent. We vacation twice a year. Our dog needs to be walked daily. You get the picture. It's not a life of glamour. And I do have a tendency to be drawn towards the flashy...

It would be a lie to say that I don't occasionally feel tempted to indulge in a fantasy world. A world where I might not have gotten married, or had a child, or been middle-class. It goes something like this: If only I had pursued publishing right out of college. I could be living in NYC working at Random House reading novels for print. Wearing power suits, eating take-out and shopping at Saks. If only I had gone to law school like ____ had. I too would be making six figures and putting criminals behind bars. Living for the thrill of the courtroom. If only RJ wasn't such a play-it-safe financially kind of guy. We would be traveling the world - having once in a lifetime experiences - and not worrying about a retirement we might not even live to see.

How easy it is to go down a path of discontentment. It starts with one "if-only" fantasy. Then we begin to believe we deserve that "other" life. Yet we don't really want to give up what we already have. We want it all. Now we are dissatisfied; and discontentment is a sin. We're basically say: Dear God, the life You gave me isn't good enough - I want this life and that other one (that so-and-so is living) too.

All this to say we have a daily choice. Find joy in the life we have right now. Or indulge in a fantasy world and find nothing but discontentment. And, if people like my chronically ill friend Brittany can find joy in the hand life dealt them, then we all should be able.

When I choose to indulge my imagination with visions of the life I "could have had" (and I admit I sometimes do) I hurt both myself and my family. I find I am more negative towards my husband, snappish with my son, and generally bitter. Until the Lord graciously reminds me that I have MUCH more than I deserve. And, that He knows me more intimately than anyone. He knows the desires of my heart, the things that tempt me to sin, what makes me most joyful, and He chose this life for me.

And I am thankful.


Bethany said...

amen sister! we all tend to forget how much it cost God to purchase us and how undeserving we are of eveything He has blessed us with. this is a good reminder! thanks!

Jessica G. said...

Such a good blog Anna! It took me moving to another country to realize what life was realize that it isn't material possessions that matter and that comparing my life to others never works out for me. And I do truly feel blessed for the life God has given to me; a life that is mine and only mine.

Two Cent Sparrow.
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