Comparison really is the thief of joy.
It’s funny that often when I’ve been thinking about a particular area of spiritual development, it gets put to the test. On the weekend we were thinking about contentment and gratitude. I also started listening to Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts again.
I was just doing some writing last night about the things in my life I was grateful for. This morning, scanning Facebook, that source of all discontentment, I saw a post from a childhood friend. I guess I’d have to call her an acquaintance these days, even though we were very close back at school, because I know very little about her life now.
I went and had a look at her profile. The more I scrolled through her page I put a version of a life together that may or may not be reality – she looks lovely and happy, she has a gorgeous husband and beautiful baby, they seem to be living a creative, inner city existence that is, well, exactly what I pictured my life being when I was younger. I missed her. But as I closed the browser, I wondered at the slightly melancholy note that had crept into my thoughts.
Then I remembered the things that I wrote down last night that I am grateful for. My friends. My home. My family. My little cabin! My creativity. My desire and capacity to learn. So many other things, chief of which is my salvation in Christ.
What I really know is that I am blessed with the life I’ve been given, rough bits and smooth. I don’t need to compare my life to anyone else’s or wish it was different or regret anything. It’s amazing! I have been given so much!
I don’t know what my friend’s life is really like, I only know what she’s chosen to show to the world. I don’t know whether she worries about money, or feels unfulfilled, or tears her hair out when she’s up in the middle of the night with the baby, or…but I’m glad she has the wonderful things she has and I know that there’s more depth to a life than a few photos online.
I think that’s why I like to blog and choose to perhaps overshare sometimes. I want to be real online and off. I want to share the happy snaps of me mucking around with excellent friends, but I also want to share something of my struggles and the reality of my life. Because that’s how I bear witness to the goodness of God, isn’t it? Showing how he is faithful through my failures and stumbles. Showing how I can cling to him through the mess. Showing how he keeps lifting me up, time and again, and setting my feet on a rock when I insist on slipping off into the mire. And showing how generous he is, and how the only response to that is to say thank you!