It didn’t matter what the temperature was outside, that summer I put in the miles. Running until my side ached, I pushed myself to become a part of our high school’s cross country team. Barely able to make it around the track in the beginning, training in the heat when out of shape was beyond hard. The payoff had come though; for the first time in my life I was in shape and it felt great! Until…
Until I started running with the team. That’s when I discovered I was slow! I couldn’t believe that after working that hard, I was that slow. I had no idea, not until I started comparing myself to others. Now I was unhappy; I wanted to run faster. I wanted to be like those girls.
Nothing pulls joy down like comparison. I want her grades, her skin, her hair, her voice, her body, her stats, her car, her wardrobe, her style, her boyfriend, her crowd; it goes on ad infinitum.
In Ecclesiastes 4:4, Solomon tells us “…all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Striving, the struggle inside of us driving us beyond reason comes from envy; wanting to be like her. We’re content with what we have until we see the “haves” of another then discontentment attacks. Before we know it, we are unhappy with this and frustrated with that.
Philippians 4:11 tells how to be free: “Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.” (Msg)
Madi, age 15, just got back from a missions trip to skid row in Los Angeles. “You know, even saying something like, “Let’s go to the mall sounds so dumb. So pointless after where I have been.” Getting outside of her own world and into the life of another who is struggling, not to get another pair of have-to-have shoes, but literally struggling to find a place to sleep has ruined Madi. She looks around her and finds contentment.
We can either choose to want more and more, never having enough or we can choose to bask in the wonder of how good Jesus is, experiencing joyful contentment.
Fight the wants today. Repeat this phrase over and over: Jesus, thank you for your goodness! You are so good to me!