Impressive. This word comes to mind when I think of my neighbors’ yard across the street. John and Karen have the most beautiful lawn on the block. Everywhere I look, evidence of John’s green thumb shines.
I’m drawn to the vegetable and herb garden in the backyard. But just as you appreciate its beauty, the plantings around the base of their trees catch your eye (pictured here). The vivid colors and carefully carved edging of their landscape convinces me; John knows what he’s doing.
On the other hand, my family and I consider lawn maintenance a must-do much more than a want-to-do. On occasion we add seasonal decor to greet our guests. But if someone determined the greenest side of the street, John and Karen’s yard would win hands down.
But life is not a competition; it’s a journey. While the art of comparison can lead to admiration and even inspiration; an attitude of envy leads to something far less admirable.
Thankfully, I don’t have yard envy. Yard work is not my thing. However, I have to guard my heart over the things I do want that are not yet mine. Otherwise, a coveted area of success or a desired material blessing can create the meanest shade of green in my unguarded heart.
Someone else’s success should be a source of joy. It is a reason to celebrate God’s goodness and love. But envy makes us miserable when someone else is blessed and minimizes our view of God’s grace.
What do you feel when someone else seems more successful, less burdened, more attractive or less deserving than you do? Here are three helpful tips to keep the meanest shade off of our hearts:
Be honest with God about what you really want. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23 NLT) When we pray about our desires it expresses our faith in God. He already knows what we want; but He wants us to want Him the most. As I release my deepest desires to the Lord, I invite Him to quiet any restlessness within my soul.
Be humble before God about what He wants to give. “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” (Psalm 84:11 NLT) Nothing compares to God’s grace and glory, but other “good things” can try to grab our attention. God is love but He is also All Wise. If He chooses to withhold something from us, we can trust it is best for us.
Be happy about the blessing God gives to someone else. “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15 NLT). When someone else is happy we shouldn’t weep. When someone else weeps we shouldn’t be happy. Some of life’s sweetest moments occur when we celebrate God’s goodness towards someone else.
When our eyes are on the Lord and not on what we lack, we grow in His grace and our relationships grow too.
Regardless of life’s unpredictability or what might seem unfair, the grace of God in Christ meets us where we are. It is a different kind of shade — the kind that covers us in our deficiencies and our disasters. The more I consider what He has in mind, the less I desire anything other than the pace, places and people He has in mind for me. Far more than my neighbor John, God knows what He’s doing — with lawns and with our lives.
If we desire to have a great lifescape, here’s some good news: There is no greener place to grow than in the grace of God. It’s the richest soil for any flawed person to flourish, where we can encourage one another with hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.” – 2 Peter 1:2 NLT
Congratulations Isabelle! She is the winner of last week's giveaway, the insulated "Trust in The Lord" tote!