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I'll Have What She's Having

Café Menu for Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Today’s Special is: When Comparisons Move In and Steal Your Joy
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Michelle Axton Kelly
Main Ingredient:

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Luke 12:15 ESV

Entrée:

There was a time when I stopped entertaining or even having friends over for a good cup of Irish tea. It seemed all my girlfriends were living in new, huge and fantastically decorated houses. Over time, the house I once loved became a disappointment until all I could see was chipping paint, carpet that was beyond help, and a kitchen floor perpetually covered in baby food.

It took selling and moving miles away for me to realize how much I loved our home. And knowing my girlfriends, I imagine my crazy carpets never bothered them half as much as they embarrassed me. What moments of joy I let slip away, all because I compared our “haves” with someone else’s.

God’s Word says we shouldn’t focus on the abundance of possessions, but what we do with them. Now when my heart starts wandering toward the latest thing that sparkles, I think about these simple truths:

When I compare my house to others, I miss out on the warmth of my own home and the precious memories our family is creating within these walls.When I compare my children to others, I overlook treasures, moments in time that include tiny sisters jumping on our king-sized bed with abandon and in a fit of giggles as I try to add clean sheets.When I compare my husband with others, I assume all husbands let their tired wives sleep in on Saturdays. Or make them laugh with their funny Irish accents. I miss the impactful daddy moments he is so wonderful at initiating. And I lose out on a love story that continues to evolve as part of God’s plan.When I compare our finances I don’t take into account the financial strain that might come with bigger houses or new cars. I trade in the security of not having debt, of the financial goals we have as a family, and the gift of giving in Christ’s name to our girls Pascaline and Elibie in Africa through Compassion International.

If you are like me, it is too easy to fall into the comparison trap. Only don’t. Don’t let it rob your joy. Your life. What if, instead of seeking what we don’t have, we praise God for all that He has placed on our doorstep?

Take Out:

When your heart challenges you to compare your life and circumstances against others, meet it with a list of the blessings God has given. If it helps, designate a bowl or journal as you capture all you are thankful for on paper. You could even help family members become more thankful by sharing lists with each other at dinnertime once a week.

Dessert:

Dear God, You are a Mighty and Gracious Father. Thank You for carving out the life You have given us with an abundance of blessings. Whatever our circumstances, we ask that You touch our hearts with an attitude of gratefulness. We pray that everything we have and do would be used as a means to glorify You.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. Ann encourages participants to take on the life-changing discipline of journaling God’s gifts—to really look at life and find the good in it. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, that we discover the life we’ve always wanted … a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others.

For more encouragement, visit Michelle at Confessions From the Back Pew, where God uses the best and worst parts of her to encourage others to develop a truly personal, rewarding relationship with Him.

© 2014 by Michelle Axton Kelly. All rights reserved.

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