“Mom, I wish we lived in that house.” Perched inside her play set lookout tower, my daughter cast wistful glances toward the neighbor’s yard a few houses north.
“Why? I thought you liked our house.”
“Well, they have a pool and a picnic table.”
Ah. I see.
“But they don’t have a sandbox. Or swings. Or all of your favorite toys inside,” I reasoned. “Just because they have a pool doesn’t mean that house is better. We belong here, in our house.”
Wise counsel, O Super Mom. Maybe you should take it yourself.
How many times have I wished for someone else’s stuff? Their granite countertops, their three-car garage, his talent, her silky hair.
You know what happens then, don’t you? Envy pollutes the senses. I start thinking my stuff isn’t good enough. As if God doesn’t know what I need. Or worse, he’s holding out on me.
Now that is just ridiculous.
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly,” (Psalm 84:11, ESV, emphasis mine).
The crazy thing is, there’s probably somebody out there who’s wishing for my stuff. Meanwhile, I’m drooling over somebody else’s stuff, which belongs to somebody who would finally be happy if only they could get their hands on somebody else’s stuff—and on and on until the world is filled with ungrateful people.
It’s madness, I tell you. Why can’t we all just be happy with our own stuff?
Consider this. Nobody has it all. She might be supermodel-gorgeous on the outside, but wrestling with heartache on the inside. His impressive job title might mean he hasn’t been home to kiss the kids goodnight in weeks. The neighbors’ new car has leather seats and OnStar, sure, but they could be sweating the payments every month. Hardly anyone broadcasts the downside of their coveted stuff. If they did, who would want it?
Truthfully, I’d rather have my own problems than somebody else’s—because at least mine are familiar. If I really knew what went on in that bigger house or that supposedly perfect family, I might be relieved it belongs to them and not me. In other words, I’d choose my own stuff.
“Do you think that house has bunk beds, Mom?” My daughter pointed her telescope toward the neighbor’s pool.
“Maybe. But do you know what I’ll bet it doesn’t have?”
“What?” Her eyes grew wide.
“A super cool mom who bakes the yummiest oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in the universe. Want to go inside and make some?”
“Yeah! Let’s go!”
If only my own envy were so easily deterred. Then again, maybe it is. When I take a moment to count my blessings, I remember I already have the best family, a house filled with love if not bunk beds, and a Heavenly Father who gives me everything I need.
And you know what? So do you.
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