I’m having one of those weeks…the kind that lies to me and tells me that my life is incredibly mundane, the kind that makes me feel like nothing that I do is worth anything, the kind that makes me want to stay in bed so I don’t have to face another day of screaming kids, dirty dishes and piles of laundry. I have a list of goals a mile long that some how got thrown to the side when I had my daughter and every time I try to pick it up again I am reminded of how frustratingly difficult it is to write a novel, learn piano, write a song or travel around the world when you have a two-year-old that refuses to take naps and a five-year-old shadow who really likes to talk. Then I find myself thinking, “I used to be talented. I use to do fun things. I use to have friends. I wish I had made different choices. I wish my life was different” I’m sure all who are reading this can relate in some way..Do you feel like you have given up what you always wanted to do for what you feel like is life as usual…a boring, frustrating second choice to a life that you had planned to look a lot better? Or do you just feel like things seem to be working out for every one else but you?
This is my thorn in the flesh that always seems to jab me at the most inopportune times. I’m cruising through life and actually seem to find a good solid hold on who I am and I feel thankful about what I have and excited about the future when all of a sudden I find myself pouring over a friend’s timeline on Facebook, pining for a life that looks more like theirs. Then when I don’t nip that thought in the bud, I spend the next few hours taking inventory of everything I don’t have and everything I haven’t done until I am an overwhelmed, coveting mess of frustration and dissatisfaction. So, then I have to find some way to talk myself back to a reality that involves being thankful for the host of blessings that I know are more than I deserve. Here are some notes I took to remind myself of what I need to do when I get like this…even when I am a crazy mess, I still think in steps. My rambling thoughts start to sound a little like a pep talk to myself…that is exactly what I was going for.
1. Stop the sinful thoughts. Your situation hasn’t changed just your thoughts have. You still have the same family, the same job, the same church, the same amount of money, and the same house but in two seconds of sinful thinking, you have found yourself in the depths of hating every bit of it. And in your past experiences, you know that for every minute of sinful thinking it takes at least ten minutes of truthful thinking to get back out. So, you are better off stopping the thought process before it gets out of hand or you could find yourself lost in a pile of sinful thoughts that will take days to get rid of. Refuse to think about what you don’t have and refuse to feel sorry for yourself. Read Philippians 4!!…rejoice in what God has given you, be thankful and prayerful, and only think on those things that are beneficial to your spiritual growth.
2. Pray! Start by repenting…because coveting is a sin, even if you are simply coveting an idea. So you wanted to be a singer…on the radio. You wanted to write songs, have a band and tour the country. And now that you are nearly thirty and lost yourself in the wave of getting married and having kids, the dream is pretty much lost as a reality. But the idea of it still creeps up and causes you to covet a life you probably weren’t going to have anyway. You’re not necessarily specifically jealous of Taylor Swift and you are not directly longing for a spot on American Idol, but you are yearning to possess something that you don’t have and that is the definition of covet. Fill your prayers with praise to God and thankfulness for what he has done for you. And as you’ve heard Pastor Matt say…a prayerful heart is a restful heart…you won’t have a constant need for something else if your mind is fixed on God. (Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you)
3. Count your blessings and don’t play the comparing game. We know that God only gives us what is good for us, so every time we think otherwise, we are objecting to God’s perfect will in our lives. So your life didn’t turn out how you had planned?….it is turning out just how God planned and unless you are willing to argue that you know better than God, you should find a way to be thankful for what you have (things you don’t deserve anyway) and stop wishing for more. And God has given you exactly what you need to become the person that He wants you to be…so work on being that person and stop wishing for something else. Figure out what God wants you to be with what you already have.
4. Do something for someone else. How could you possibly ever think your life is so awful There are homeless people living on the streets who don’t have a home or family to care for them. There are families struggling to keep their home and hoping that they just have enough food so their kids don’t starve. There are people, young and old, who are dying of cancer. There are people struggling with addiction…and that is just the stuff that is going on in your own backyard. There are people dying of starvation and curable diseases that don’t have the resources to make anything different. There are Christians being persecuted for their faith. Get over yourself and help someone else…join an organization, give to a good cause, or simply listen to someone who is in need. You will get a much better perspective of your own life and what you have been blessed with.