Have you seen the commercial where some guy is asking children to choose which is the better of two objects or scenarios?
Truth is, we're good at making comparisons. Probably too good.
I know I find myself in this situation often. And more often than I'd like to admit, it usually encompasses a great deal of jealousy and envy. Both of which I know the Father doesn't wish for me to have.
It often goes something like this:
Look at so and so. They eat whatever they want and still have the perfect figure. Why I can't I be like that? Or her. Look! She somehow has time to go jogging every morning and gets through it like it was as easy as writing her name.
But you're not her, Phoebe.
I know, Lord. That's the problem. I wish I was.
And look at them. They have the perfect house. It looks like it's been professionally decorated, the lawn is freshly manicured, and they even just built a new deck. How long have I been wanting a deck..... or a bigger house..... or or.....
Phoebe, but you're not them.
I know. But can't I at least be somewhat like them?
Look how well behaved their kids are.
And look what she drives. I'm stuck driving a mini van and she gets a new Suburban.
Did you see her new outfit? I wish I could get new outfits all the time. And her purse. Oh, I love purses. And everything always accessorizes so perfectly.
I wish I could sing like her. Her voice is so perfect.
Look at her husband, Lord. He has a normal work schedule and is home every night.
What if I could write like her? Wouldn't that be great? Maybe then I could make more of a difference.
How does she find the time to do everything she does? I never seem to have enough of it.
Look at her clean house. I can never seem to keep caught up on everything that has to be cleaned. And laundry.... let's not go there.
She's such an excellent teacher, speaker, author.... why can't I be more like her?
Did you see the project she made off of Pinterest? She's so crafty. Why can't I be crafty and make cute things?
I can't imagine what she went through and she did it with such grace and faith. I wish I had her graciousness and faith.
She's so patient with everything and everyone. It's like it comes naturally to her.
Oh man, did you see the vacation they went on? I wish I could go on a vacation like that.
Look at that mom. She volunteers for everything at her kid's school, donates candy to all the spring fairs, brings snacks for teachers for parent teacher conferences. I'm doing good to just get them there on time and eat lunch with them every now and then.
I know, but....
Phoebe, are you listening?
Yes, Lord. I hear You. I'm not her.
Exactly. You're Phoebe. And you can't be who I've called you to be or do what I've specifically asked you to do if you're too busy trying to be someone else.
And so it is. God has called each of us for a specific purpose. I wonder how many times we miss that purpose because we're too focused on other people and trying to mold our lives to look like theirs.
There's certainly something to be said for modeling certain aspects of your life after people who are a good and Godly reflection of what Christ wants in our lives. But I think we too often twist and contort that into something far different than improving ourselves in certain areas.
And I, being a counselor, know more than most people how things appear isn't always a direct reflection of how things really are. Things can outwardly look great but inwardly be a mess. I have to constantly remind myself that all these cute pictures on Facebook are merely a snapshot in time. A 1 second glimpse into someones life. I know there have been times when I've been angry and frustrated, hurt and disappointed, and took 1 second out of my time to pose for a picture and smile. Pictures can be deceiving. Obviously, this isn't always the case. Probably not even the majority. But it is a reality - one in which I need to remind myself of often.
Likewise, I need to be more vigilant about thinking everyone else has it all together. Very few people ever have it all together, even if it appears that way. Each of us struggle with something. Maybe it's finances for some. Patience for others (or, you know, most of us). Marriage problems or discipline or faith or confidence to do what God has called us to do.
We all have our struggles.
And I think that's ok. Some of the greatest heroes of the Bible had struggles they faced and dealt with. The key here is that they dealt with them.
I think our modernized way of dealing with things is to look at others, see what they have and can do, and then attempt to become like them instead of dealing with our own shortcomings and learning to be content with what we have.
Ouch. Did that sting anyone else?
It certainly did me.
Particularly when God has called us to look like Him and not the world.
It's hard. Particularly in a society where everything is "Have it your way" "Just do it" and "Because you're worth it".
But when we're focused on Him.... oh sweet friends, that's when we begin noticing everyone around us a bit less and less.
Eyes on Him, friends. Because, I can't be who God has called me to be when I'm too busy trying to be someone else.