|Beach Week 4th Year
Confession: since the day I was born, two-and-a-half weeks late and beyond tardy for the party, I have compared myself to all the other girls around me. Maybe it’s just me, but man, it’s so easy to always measure ourselves against what everyone else is doing, how they look, and what they have. I have an unhealthy condition where it is so easy for me to be consumed by comparisons.
As a little girl, I envied the teeny, tiny ballerinas who whirled and twirled with such grace, while I trudged along, trying to keep up.
I always assumed that jealousy is something you grow out of as you get older. Little did I know that as I inched along into my twenties, things would get even worse.
After tracking at similar paces through high school and college, the minute you hit college graduation, all bets are off. All of a sudden, there is a wide gauntlet of opportunities and life changes that take place that at your first reunion, you quickly discover an incredibly wide array of life experiences that could have been yours—you have some friends that head straight to grad school, others take a few months and “find themselves”, others trade in their Nike running shorts and t-shirts for black pumps and blazers and begin charging up the corporate ladder, and then there those who graduate finding themselves lucky in love and quickly take the plunge into marriage.
When I was single, I was jealous of my married friends–a lifetime companion and a fully stocked kitchen that was gifted to you, what could be better?!
Soon after I was married, I was jealous of my friends who had babies–a sweet little darling to love and need only you (I blocked the labor, sleepless nights, and diaper duty from my mind).
Then, a few months later, I was jealous of my single friends–getting to live with other girls, going to happy hours every night, solely controlling their schedule and finances, jetting off to the islands with friends just because they could–in my mind, they were living the dream.
In case you’re wondering, I’m fully aware how ridiculous this cycle of discontentment appears. I mean, who bounces around from longing to be married, longing for a baby, and then quickly turning around and envying her single friends?
No matter what phase of life I was in, it seemed I always wanted something else. And speaking of wanting something else, when it came to stuff, my discontent heart seemed to never be satisfied.
As a renter living in a teeny apartment in DC, I would walk into my friends’ homes and instantly envy something inside—their window treatments, their upholstered chairs, their dining room furniture, even pantries with enough space to store as many cans of chicken broth as you could ever imagine… I mean, what could be better than endless amounts of chicken broth?
It seemed that no matter who you were and what season you were in, I wanted to be right there with you and my heart refused to be satisfied.
Through the discontent and comparisons, God worked heavily on my heart to help me see and understand the importance of truly dwelling in Him. Rather than envying what everyone else had, or longing for the next phase of life, I learned a lot about dwelling and embracing my current set of circumstances to the best of my ability.
It’s easy to become trapped in a cycle where we put off living in the present and try to wait until we have everything lined up to feel settled, happy, or complete. Telling ourselves things like, “once I graduate college”…”after my career is established”…”as soon as I meet Mr. Right”…”once we start having kids”…”the minute the children start in school”…”after the kids are in college”…and somehow we’re back at college?
The danger comes when we’re so focused on living from one stage to the next, or so consumed by what we don’t have, that we forget to embrace the season of life we’ve been given until we pause long enough to look up and realize it has quickly passed us by.
In the Bible, Jesus talks about coming to earth so that we could have and experience abundant full life—not once we purchase a house and fill it with beautiful furniture, not as soon as we have our husband and 2.5 kids nailed down, and not even when our career seems to be going in the right direction, but NOW.
As I wrestled through this (and continue to do so) I realized that what I really needed to do was settle into God and dwell with Him NOW.
Wherever life takes me, I can rest confidently in the promise that God is coming too.
When my heart longs to feel settled, rather than moan or complain, I can pray and thank God that He, and He alone, is the one who can settle my anxious heart and reveal to me the bigger picture.
We don’t have to wait for that abundance, we can chose to start living in it today.
Rather than long for a new season, we can embrace the one we’re in.
Instead of watching life pass us by, losing control because we’re not perfectly on track with our peers, or sulking around because we’re unhappy in our living situation, we can take Psalm 37:3 to heart:
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; DWELL in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.”
Each day, we can chose to “dwell in the land.” Wherever that land may be, we can dwell in the place we’ve been planted; trust in God, the one who led us there; and feed continually on the abundant faithfulness of our God.