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Posts Tagged ‘comparison’

The photo captured my attitude. Sitting at the kitchen table while my three-year-old brother tore cheerful, striped wrapping paper from his gift, I looked as forlorn as any jealous preschooler might–my sulky expression conveying the thoughts I knew I had no right to express.

Why should he have that toy? I want it! I knew he was the favorite.

Fast forward through the decades and you’ll catch a glimpse of my continued struggle with envy.

As a teen? I envied the pretty girls with boyfriends and happy families. In my twenties? I coveted the relationship my sisters had with the father I didn’t have the opportunity to know as a little girl. In my thirties? Jealousy surged when I thought of other young moms who stayed at home while I struggled to balance my husband’s deployment schedule with four children, three square meals and one demanding job.

While the objects of envy seem to alter across life's timeline, I'm not yet immune to the pinprick of unmet expectations.#contentment#problemwithcomparison#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

While the objects of envy seem to alter across life’s timeline, I admit I’m not yet immune to the pinprick of unmet expectations.

I expected to be a stay-at-home mom with a plate of cookies and a glass of lemonade at the ready.

I expected to raise children in a home filled with Christ, certain they would know and love Him.

I expected to love my children so well that I could guarantee “normal” only to discover that depression, anxiety, and addiction don’t play favorites.

I expected to keep a spotless home without smudges on the front windows or furniture worn thin by impromptu fort-making.

In many ways, I expected God to come through. To present my longings and desires all wrapped up with a pretty bow as if they represent His love for me.

I expected God to come through.To present my longings and desires all wrapped up with a pretty bow as if they represent His love for me.#unmetexpectations#notSantaClaus#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

One of scriptures most beloved stories is that of the prodigal son. You may recall that the wayward son had returned home after realizing his desperate need for the Father. For forgiveness. For restoration. But, instead of rejoicing in his brother’s return, the older son was overcome with envy. Unrighteous comparison. Ungodly anger. Unholy resentment.

I’ve been the ‘older brother’ and just as the father did with his offended child, God patiently reminds me. “‘Daughter, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours.” (Luke 15:31)

Let that word, everything, resonate deep in your heart. Friend, He isn’t holding back or holding out. He doesn’t match up, size up, or stack us up against another. Our incomprehensible inheritance will outlive, overwhelm and surpass every unmet desire or expectation. It will extend beyond that which we can imagine for eternity.

He isn't holding back of holding out.He doesn't match up, size up, or stack us up against another.Our inheritance will outlive, overwhelm and surpass every unmet desire or epxectation.#godsbiglove#holyinheritance#nomoreenvy Click To Tweet

What, then, does the Father’s everything include?

  • His name. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • His position. (Ephesians 2:6)
  • His spirit. (Ephesians 1:14)
  • His home. (John 14:2-4)
  •  His life. (1 John 5:11)
  • His blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)

Oh, how the beauty of everything casts its shadow across the temporary of today’s envy. May we be reminded of our heavenly inheritance when envy attempts to squelch our contentment.

I’ve created this beautiful “Resentment to Contentment” downloadable for you. Just print and display, tuck in your Bible, or share with a friend.

Resentment to Contentment Social Media GraphicResentment to Contentment Downloadable PDF

Peace and grace, Tammy

 

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I have a confession to make and a realization to share.  The confession?  It begins with the birth of ourfirst child. One glance at his precious, wrinkled, newborn face and I knew Ben was destined to attain great things.  I imagined him on stage, standing in front of thousands of people as he humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.  Or, perhaps he would demonstrate such athletic skill that one day he would boast a cherished Olympic gold medal around his neck.

Impossible?  No.  Unlikely?  Absolutely.  I had succumbed to a common belief—The Myth of the First Time Mother.  Maybe you’ve never heard of this particular myth.  Well, if you’re at all like me, you have probably been part of its storyline before.  Let me explain.

Like most stories, this one introduces a few main characters who deal with a specific conflict.  My particular version involved our little boy, my husband, and me.  Our problem?  I bought into the idea that fame, fortune, or feats would secure my baby’s position in life.  As a result, other proud play-group mommies (who also found purchase with this myth) and I compared developmental achievements as if the baby to walk, talk, or crawl first somehow ranked above the other children.  One mother might brag, “My child is in the 95th percentile for height AND weight.  He slept through the night before he was even a month old.”  And someone would respond, “Well, Jenna already started potty training.  They say it’s a sign of intelligence.”

Inevitably, these conversations caused a lot of consternation and concern.  Was I reading to my child often enough?  Shouldn’t he know his sight words before kindergarten?  If we forgot to register for pee-wee soccer had I eliminated Ben’s chance for sport stardom as a twenty-something?

Finally, around the time our third child joined the family, there was a twist in the plot.  For almost two years, Seth endured the confinement of miniature casts and discomfort of daily stretches.  Other mothers avoided making comparisons to their own babies and instead offered apologies for Seth’s condition.  But, in my eyes, neither Seth’s imperfect feet nor his clunky shoes impacted who he was.  The realization?  I love and appreciate my children even more fiercely for their imperfections than for their accomplishments, resiliency, or intelligence.

Yes, I still have dreams for my children.  On occasion, I imagine them performing at Carnegie Hall or serving as an instrumental diplomat in a far-off land.  More often, though, I remove unnecessary expectations.  It’s not what they do or how they look, but who they are that matters.  Even God gently reminds us, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Today, look for opportunities to remind your family and friends of their importance to you–

not for what they do, but for who they are.

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