“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:11-13
The other day I was taking a walk with LuLu when I noticed the crepe myrtle trees in our neighbor’s yard. They were in full bloom with beautiful pink flowers filling the tree from trunk to top. They revealed God’s glory through their beauty. As I walked by, I admired the blooms and thought how nice my neighbor’s yard looked.
As I approached my house, I noticed the crepe myrtles trees in my own yard. We have twelve of these trees at the back side of our yard. They were in full bloom. They were filled from trunk to top with beautiful pink blossoms. They too declared the glory of God. As I looked at them, I realized our yard looks nice as well and contains beauty I was taking for granted.
It’s amazing how we often look to others and see what they have and wish we had it. I’ve counseled couples who wished their marriage was like another couple’s marriage. I’ve heard people say they wish they had someone else’s house, truck, boat, or other nicety. I’ve had people tell me they wish they had someone else’s job or were proficient at someone else’s hobby. I’ve had other people tell me they wish they looked like another person. I have also spent time wishing I had something or was like someone else.
This longing to compare ourselves with others can be a dangerous path. We become envious or jealous of what others have. We began to covet what belongs to them. We grow dissatisfied with our lives and blessings instead of being grateful for all that God has given to us. Instead of being content, we become dissatisfied and long for what we do not have.
God has blessed all of us with many blessings. We enjoy things that God has given to us to use and enjoy. We need to stop and consider the “trees in our own yard” and see their beauty. We have relationships for which we should be grateful. We have material possessions that are greater than most of the world enjoys. We must be thankful for them. We live in a country that has more freedoms than most of the world. We have a loving church family that supports and encourages us. We live in a beautiful part of the country where God’s beauty is proclaimed in every season. We have too much to be thankful for to spend needless time wishing we had someone else’s blessings.
Pray for contentment. Pray that God will open your eyes to see and appreciate the blessings in your own life. Pray that your gratitude will grow and pray that you will appreciate the trees in your own yard.