When You Wish You Had What They Have

Originally published Sunday, 13 October 2013.

As quickly as I signed into Facebook, I regretted the click of my mouse.

Front and center, in perfectly clear megapixels, was the most adorably decorated baby’s room I’d ever seen.  You know, the kind that only exists in magazines.

Instantly, my inner being was fragmented into dozens of conflicting emotions: giddiness, awe, wonder, appreciation … but clawing its way to the top of the pile was the green-eyed monster.

Yep, I admit it.

I was jealous.

I had left the garage door of my heart open and unguarded, and envy had climbed the ladder, passed the lump in my throat, and perched itself in the hayloft of my mind.

I was jealous that (at least some of) my Facebook friends could afford pristinely decorated Pottery Barn nurseries, pastel-stenciled walls and color-coordinated crib linen.  I admired the photos from a distance, with a secret longing clinging to the walls of my heart.

But it didn’t happen just that once.  In fact, it happened almost every time I returned ‘home’ from South Africa for a visit to the States.

I would walk into my friends’ homes and drool over their matching living room suites, their ornate bedroom sets and spacious kitchens.  It went beyond mere admiration.  I coveted what they had.

Then I would leave, and inevitably, reality would brush over my face and clear my mind with the breeze coming in through the open car windows.

The truth was, I didn’t really want that.  It wasn’t me.

God has given me everything I have ever needed, and so much more.

Every time, I would have to repent of my ingratitude and discontentment, and ask God realign my heart to His will.

In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t matter whether my kids’ diapers were changed on mahogany Pottery Barn changing tables, or a secondhand desk with nicks and scrapes.

The level of happiness and love in our home was not contingent upon the size of our kitchen.

The amount of warmth and hospitality within our walls didn’t depend on whether our couch matched our chairs, or whether we even had a couch at all …

On the flip side, those who do have beautiful things shouldn’t feel guilty or ‘less holy’ because of what they’ve been blessed with, but should enjoy their possessions as gifts from God, and seek to use them to His glory.

Philippians 4:19 says that our God will supply all our needs, according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

May He strengthen us to resist envy, jealousy and covetousness, and to learn the secret of being content in every situation and circumstance – even when it means no perfectly decorated baby’s room.

P.S.  If you struggle with comparing yourself to others, I highly recommend the book, Compared to Her, by Sophie DeWitt.

This is Day 11 of ‘Defining Home in 31 Days.’  Click here for a contents page of all posts in this series.