We all know people who spend their whole lives fighting, striving, climbing, and crying their way to the top–or at least, to become more like the Joneses. The “Joneses” differ in each sector in life. The neighbors who trade in their fancy SUVs every two years and seem to have an excess of everything pleasurable. The coworker who always looks completely pulled together and maintains her composure 100% of the time. The brother who makes more money, builds a larger home, has smarter kids, and always seems in the favor of the parents.
I don’t know why, but for some reason my temperament has predispositioned me to care very little about the Joneses in every single area of my life. I’m seriously eternally grateful to God for this part of my personality. I’m not immune to playing the comparison game, but I have noticed that I play it much less frequently than many of my friends and family members. Then again, I’ve also worked really hard to ensure that I keep myself from doing so.
Here are some of the ways I safe-proof myself from stalking the Joneses on Facebook:
1) As I already mentioned, I really do believe God just blessed me with the ability to find my identity in Him and not in my job, my material wealth, or even my relationships with other people. I come by this honestly to an extent, but I’ve also earned it.
2) I’ve earned this ability to define myself by what I think of me and what God thinks of me by spending considerable periods of time meditating on who God is, memorizing Scripture, reading the Bible leisurely and enjoying it, studying and picking apart verses that stand out to me, and hunting down great quotes which motivate me.
3) I’ve obtained a more realistic and eternal perspective on who I am by obtaining a more realistic and eternal perspective on who God is. If I believe I’m in control and can manage to position myself however I like on the chess board of life, I’m not really seeing things as they are. If I don’t see things as they are, then everything else is out of proportion. That coworker’s cheery smile seems constant and annoying, and I might never see the tears well up in her eyes when break room chats focus on weekend plans. My friend’s house looks bigger and better than mine, and I notice all the beautiful clothes filling up her closet rather than the dark, negative thoughts that seem to fill up her mind. Basically, if I don’t see Him for who He is, I can’t see anything else the way He wants me to.
4) I’ve managed to opt out of playing the comparison game by counting my own blessings and focusing on what I have to be grateful for. If I really focus on loving others well, and showing gratitude to God for my life by sharing His love with others in whatever ways seem to work best that day, I don’t have much time to long for the Joneses’ babies, cars, homes, jobs, or brains. I spend my time on what matters instead, and other people benefit as a result.
Today, I’m grateful for my life just the way it is.
I thought you’d appreciate this one, Henry!